Free-form Blackberry Gâteau Basque

Blackberry Gateau Basque

I’ve made this a few times over the years, and like that it’s sort of half cookie half pie, yet called a gâteau. I made it when I have a glut of homemade jam in the house, or all-fruit mincemeat in December. This year I seem to have a surplus of blackberry jam in my freezer, so pulled some out to use in this big sweet sandwich, with jam spread between pieces of buttery cookie-pastry and baked as one giant cookie-pie, and served in thin wedges. You can nibble these out of hand, like a cookie, or serve them on a plate topped with a scoop of ice cream, like a far fancier dessert. The fact that it’s called a gâteau Basque rather than a big cookie-jam sandwich just makes you feel so much more sophisticated as a cook.

Blackberry Gateau Basque

Most gâteau Basque, named for the region in France, is tucked into a shallow tart pan, but I figured a) less than 50% of the population owns a fancy fluted tart pan, and b) it’s not necessary for this gâteau to taste delicious.

See? It doesn’t even have to be perfectly round. Just round-ish.

Gateau Basque 9

Gateau Basque 10

This particular formula comes by way of Dorie Greenspan, who makes hers deeper, in a round cake pan, which makes it thicker, with higher sides and more jam in the middle. I want to try it this way with mincemeat in the middle, like a sort of giant mincemeat cookie tart. My favourite part is brushing all over the surface with beaten egg, and dragging the tines of a fork across the top to make a sort of almost plaid look. The egg makes it glossy, and the lines where the fork has dragged through are a bit paler. I keep thinking I want to apply this treatment to other baked things, but so far have not yet managed to.

Gateau Basque 5Gateau Basque 6

Think of the things you could put between the layers! Lemon curd. Sautéed apples and pears. All kinds of jams, especially when you make a big batch and have surplus that won’t fit in your jars. Cranberry-mandarin Christmas preserves spiked with cinnamon.

Gateau Basque 4

And look – I love that it’s sort of semi-decorated, but there’s no need to pull out your icing bags and tiny silver dragées. Thanks to the great Dorie for the inspiration, and the cookie-pastry formula.

Blackberry Gateau Basque
Blackberry Gateau Basque

Free-form Blackberry Gâteau Basque


December 10, 2017


2/3 cup butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2-3/4 cup thick cherry (or blackberry) jam

1 egg, lightly beaten


1In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer), beat the butter and sugars for a few minutes, until pale and light. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute or two, scraping down the bowl as needed. (The mixture may look curdled - that’s OK.)

2In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add it to the butter mixture in three additions, mixing just until blended after each.

3Divide the dough in half. Place a piece of parchment on your countertop, put one piece of the dough on it and cover with another piece of parchment. Roll until it’s about 10 inches in diameter. Turn the disc as you roll, and turn it over occasionally to ensure you aren’t rolling creases into the dough. Repeat with the other half and refrigerate the discs for a couple hours or up to a few days.

4When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Place one layer, still on its parchment, onto a baking sheet. Spread with jam, leaving about half an inch around the edge. Brush with a little egg wash and top with the second piece of dough, pressing lightly around the edges to seal.

5Brush the top completely with the egg wash and run the tines of a fork across it in a crisscross pattern. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden, then cool on the pan on a wire rack. Cut into wedges to serve. Serves 12-16.


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4 comments on “Free-form Blackberry Gâteau Basque

  1. Sue
    December 10, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    It’s gorgeous! And yes…lemon curd. I think it would remind me of the little lemon curd tartlettes that my grandma used to make at Christmas. Since I never feel like fiddling with mini-tart shells, this is the answer!

  2. Laurie
    December 12, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Could you make this with freezer peach jam? I have an over abundance of it!!

    • Julie
      December 12, 2017 at 10:26 pm


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