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Coco&Me » What I sell

November 12th, 2007

Gâteau Basque with crème patissière

Coco&Me - Gâteau Basque(Picture taken at the stall table. – The patterned background?? I recently started to use woven wooden placemats bought from Ikea & baking paper on top to display my cakes, instead of cake cooling racks!)

Coco&Me - Gâteau Basque

(Gâteau Basque is a shallow cake with yummy custard cream centre (or sometimes cherry jam filling)! I put dried prunes in there too.)

Coco&Me - Gâteau Basque

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Here’s another cake recipe from my stall table. It’s called Gâteau Basque, & yup, as you’ve guessed, its origins are from Basque Country, a cultural region in the western Pyrenees mountains that spans the border between France & Spain. .
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Gâteau Basque dates from the 17th century, & its precise origins are found in the small spa town of Cambo-les-Bains, where they hold annual Gâteau Basque festival in September. Upon researching on this, I came across the existence of the Gâteau Basque Museum in the town of Sare (that is officially recognised as ‘most beautiful villages of France’) where I very much want to go to one day! (hint hint, D?)
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There’s two ways of filling the middle layer:
One is to use the renowned black cherry jam (confiture de cerise noire), from the nearby town of Itxassou (where the cherry festival takes place in June). Or another, which is to thickly slab Crème patissière/ pastry cream (Click here to read my recipe!).
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I fill mine with Crème patissière, & neatly lay dried prunes. Mainly because I love Crème patissière over jam, & I think the intensely condensed flavour of the dried prunes act as a welcome accent when munched with Crème patissière & the buttery biscuit-y cake.
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Like I say, I make this for the market, & the reception I get is always very good. Most of the time, people don’t know of the cake, but on mention of custard cream middle, the British public (who grew up on custard at school & at homes) identify with the flavour involved, & make a nano-second decision to give it a try.

– There’s these two ladies who buy a slice of Gâteau Basque from me almost every week. If I didn’t have it at the table, because I was feeling slack (!) or wanting to concentrate the time on another product instead, they have been disappointed in the past. I often picture them in my mind when I’m rolling out the dough, wondering whether they be there that week.
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Tips on making this cake:
It’s not a quick cake to make. The actual dough is a doddle, since it all happens in one mixing bowl, & there’s no sense of urgency as it’s not like there’s meringues deflating away because you’re working slow.

But it does need to rest for 2 hours minimum. (I make mine Thursday night, & roll it out on Friday.) You’d then need to make the crème pat, assemble, & finally into the oven for a whole hour! Not to forget the time it takes to cool the cake down before demolding it out of the tin!
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Gâteau Basque recipe:
(to make a 10 inch cake. You’d be able to get 8 – 10 substantial slices out of it)
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Ingredients for the dough:
200g butter
200g sugar
65g whole eggs
30g egg yolks
20ml rum
1g baking powder
335g plain flour (sifted)
approximately 100g of dried prunes
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Ingredients for the Crème patissière (to make 325g):
250ml fresh milk (full fat)
vanilla pod
3 egg yolks (free-range or organic)
75g sugar (castor or granulated)
25g plain flour (sifted)
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Ingredients for the Coffee Dorure (egg wash):
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
half teaspoon of coffee granule
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The method:

  • 1. Place the room temperature butter in a deep mixing bowl (so that it doesn’t spit everywhere when you’re whisking).
  • 2. Cream the butter using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat it till it is ‘creamy’ soft, smooth & light from incorporating the air.
  • 3. Mix in the sugar. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved in the mixture.
  • 4. Add the eggs & egg yolks in stages (so that the mixture doesn’t ‘seperate’).
  • 5. Pour the rum in & mix it all up.
  • 6. Sift in the baking powder & the plain flour.
  • 7. Use your spatula & mix it all in.
  • 8. When mixed, make one big ball of it & cling-film it air-tight.
  • 9. Refrigerate the dough for at-least two hours minimum, so that the dough has it’s ‘rest’ to let the gluten relax, it would become easier to roll it out later.

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  • 11. Assembly time!! Get the dough out of the fridge, take roughly 2/3 of it & roll it in to a rough circular shape. You’re going to line the bottom & the sides with it. So make sure your circle is bigger than the tin base, plus not forgetting to include the width for the sides all around too.
  • 12. Butter & flour the mold.
  • 13. Lift the sheet of dough from step (11) using your rolling pin, & lower it in to the mold. Make sure you thumb it in to the corners.
  • 14. Neatly spatula in the Crème patissière layer inside. (Some pastry chefs would use piping bags for this procedure to be super neat!) Make sure the top is level.
  • 15. Flatten the prunes using the side of your knife & cut them in half.
  • 16. Neatly space them out on top of the Crème.
  • 17. Take the rest of the dough you have left over. You are now going to make the ‘lid’. Roll a circular disc that is just bigger than your mold. Using the rolling pin, lift the circular sheet of dough, & carefully lay it on top of the Crème.
  • 18. Using your thumb, push the edges of the ‘lid’ all around to seal it to the sides.
  • 19. Use knife & cut away the ‘overhang’, so that the top surface is flat.

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  • 20. Make the coffee dorure (egg wash). Put all coffee dorure ingredients in a small bowl & mix until the coffee granules have melted, & has given lovely dark colour to the liquid.

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  • 21. PRE-HEAT THE OVEN TO 180 DEGREES.

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  • 22. Apply a thin layer of coffee dorure to the gâteau surface. Use a brush or your hand.
  • 23. Using the other end of the spoon (or any other instrument of your choice), draw any pattern you like.My tip here is to keep the design fairly simple. I like my pattern to be symmetrical, so that each slice you cut look pretty much the same.
  • 24. Poke a small hole in the middle as a air vent, to avoid the Gâteau Basque from forming cracks on the surface.
  • 25. Pop it in the oven for 1 hour. Do check how it is browning on top now & again. If you think it is browning too much, make a loose lid with aluminium foil to deflect direct heat to the top surface.
  • 26. When time is up, take off the foil if you were using one, & leave it aside in the mold until cool.
  • 27. De-mold by carefully inverting.
  • 28. Eat within the next 2 days. Bon Appétit!

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(ps: I plan to photograph each step & put it up on this blog in the near future… promise!!!)

November 19th, 2006

The chocolates & cakes on my stall list

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First, about how last Saturday went:

Broadway Market can develop strong blustering gusts like in a wind tunnel. Pleasant in Summer but in Winter it can be bitingly cold.

The market wind is truly nasty. It would blow my stash of empty cake boxes away & would scatter my stall neighbour Kim’s handmade cards & plant holders everywhere every 30 minutes. When the wind is so strong, the stall table would shake magnitude seven, & I hold down on it like I’ve encountered a storm on a sailing journey. Which may sound like an exaggeration, but I remember my Danish stall neighbour’s rack flying off her table & smashing her beautiful plates… But last Saturday, the gust of wind blew the plastic sheet off the roof of my stall…! Thank goodness it wasn’t raining – otherwise it could have ruined all my chocolates & cakes… Sales-wise, it went well, but except for my truffles – I had atleast twenty left. Truly disheartening when this happens, but not so bad an outcome for D & my friends in my neighbourhood…

For this week’s entry, I’ll list the chocolates & cakes I currently sell at the market.

  • Flourless Moist Chocolate Cake: Sold as slices & as whole cake. The ingredients are just butter, sugar, eggs, organic chocolate & a tablespoon of Triple sec (orange liqueur). It’s my ‘best seller’ & it’s the one with many repeat customers.
  • Gateaux Basque: Sold as slices & as whole cake. A very rustic looking French cake with a layer of custard cream & dried prunes baked in to it (in the picture above). The surface has a hand-drawn pattern – done by rubbing egg wash (coloured brown with coffee granules) first & then drawing the pattern with the end of a spoon (hence scoring the coloured egg wash away).
  • Tarte Tatin: Sold as slices & as whole cake. See my earlier entry to read more about it.
  • Poppy seed & Summer Fruit Sponge Cake: Sold as slices & as whole cake. I love the slightly nutty aroma & taste of poppy seeds. The tangy taste of the berries go really well with the sweet sponge. The colour of deep-reds & blues from the berries look great against black-specked sponge.
  • Caramelized Banana Loaf: Sold as slices & as whole. The banana has been cramelized first before being incorporated in tho the cake batter. There are broken up walnuts in it too, it is a really good combo with banana.
  • Luxury Brownies: Chunky squares full of pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, & pecans. Pure luxury. There is a big ‘brownie-battle’ at the market with so many stalls selling it, but I can truly say it is the most chocolatey & most & dense of ’em all!
  • Fresh Berry Tart: Small, medium & large sizes, also in individual heart shapes (pictured above). It has baked almond cream sponge (or frangipane) under the packed layer of fresh fruit like raspberries, blueberries & strawberries. It makes the stall look colourful & it often catches the eyes of the passers-by & hopefully stop them on their track!
  • Pear & Almond Tart: Small, medium & large sizes. Frangipane with sliced pears & almond slices.
  • Lemon Cream Tart: Small, medium & large sizes. Frangipane with lemon cream & white chocolate lettering.
  • Chocolate Tart: Small, medium & large sizes, also in individual heart shapes. Filled with dark ganache infused with cinnamon & raspberry puree layer underneath. Decorative cocoa powder stencil work on top.

And then there is the chocolate truffles & molded bonbons, sold in bags or in a box selection):

    • Caramel Truffle: tempered dark chocolate coating. Caramel liquid & chocolate is mixed to make the ganache.
    • Earl Grey Truffle: tempered milk chocolate coating.
    • Raspberry Truffle: tempered white chocolate coating.
    • Classic Vanilla Pod Truffle: first coated with tempered dark chocolate & then dipped in cocoa.
    • Hazelnut Crunch Truffle: Gianduja (chocolate containing about 50% hazelnut & almond paste) ganache mixture, coated in tempered dark chocolate & then covered in caramelized hazelnut nibs.
    • Mendiants: White, milk & dark. Molded chocolate discs with nuts & dried fruit, or with candied orange discs.
    • Molded chocolate shapes: White, milk & dark or a marble effect. Rabbits, cats & heart shapes.


    As you can tell, I make quite a fair bit. I get asked numerous times about how long it takes to make them, & the answer is…

    = I spend at least twenty hours during the week (on Thursday evenings & about fifteen hours on Fridays) & then about seven hours on Saturday to sell it.

    At the end of Saturday, it feels like I put my body & soul in to it. But without question, it is never a chore. I enjoy it (except for the washing up part!) & my effort is rewarded. I love being ‘my own boss’ & make what ever I want to make. I love selling directly to the consumer & enjoy chatting to them (except for when some bloke really haggle at the end of the day, to the point of disrespect – ‘cos it’s what you do at a market innit?‘).

    So anyway, hop down to the market & sample some of the items! Come on, I know you have a sweet tooth in you!!

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