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Basque Cake Recipe - Pastel Vasco


Basque Cake - Pastel Vasco

Basque Cake - Pastel Vasco

Lisa Sierra (c) 2012 Licensed to About.com Inc.
The Basque Cake, pastel vasco in Spanish or gâteau basque in French is a traditional cake or pie, with a rich cookie-like crust and a creamy pastry cream filling. Often the filling is flavored with rum-soaked berries or raisins. Although originally the filling was figs or cherries, that changed to pastry cream sometime in the 19th century. Our version of this recipe is filled with pastry cream and raisins, and is lightly flavored with rum. It goes well with hot coffee for a merienda (Spanish afternoon snack) or a lovely finish to a Spanish dinner.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Refrigerate Crust: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes


  • Crust:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 7 oz (200 gr) granulated sugar
  • 7 oz (200 gr) butter, softened
  • grated peel of one lemon
  • 1/2 oz (15 ml) rum or pacharan (optional)
  • 10 oz (300 gr) white flour
  • Pastry Cream Filling:
  • 16 oz (1/2 liter) milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4.5 oz (120 gr) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white flour
  • 1 oz (30 ml) rum or pacharan (optional)
  • 2 oz (75 gr) raisins


To prepare the crust, in a medium mixing bowl, mix the butter, sugar, lemon peel, 1 egg and 2 egg yolks until well-blended. Pour in the rum (optional). Add the flour a bit at a time, mixing until it forms a homogenous dough. Form the dough into an oblong shape and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the cream filling. Pour the milk into a sauce pan and heat on medium. Place egg yolks, sugar, flour and rum or pacharan into a mixing bowl and mix well. Stir hot milk into the bowl a little at a time. Stir in the raisins. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring. Stir while mixture boils and thickens, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon into a clean bowl and allow to cool on counter for a few minutes. Chill in the refrigerator.

Heat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.

Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and divide it into two equal parts. Flour the board and the rolling pin. Dough will be very soft and will easily tear. Roll out dough into two large circles. One should be a bit larger than the other. If dough sticks to the board, use a spatula to carefully lift dough off. Using a metal 9-inch pie pan or a glass pie pan, lay the larger of the two circles of dough into the pan and press into the sides, allowing it to extend over the edges.

Spread the cream filling out evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place the other dough circle over the top and seal the edges by pinching them together.

Beat the remaining egg. Brush the beaten egg over the top crust. To make a traditional decoration on top, drag the tines of a fork across the top crust. Bake in oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until crust is golden.

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