I'm a keen follower of Stephen Harris's column in the Saturday Telegraph, not least because his award-winning restaurant is only a few miles away from where I live. He has a lovely no-nonsense approach to food, but it is clear he absolutely loves what he does.
Breton Cake is a very butter-rich cake, and Stephen has chosen to offset the richness with a sharp gooseberry purée as well as some luxurious cream on the top. I experimented with it for this year's Stour Festival, as you can't have too much cream at Stour! It went down well, as it only has a small amount of obvious cream, and is more cakey than most of the offerings on the table. I'm sure that it would be absolutely delicious with apples instead of gooseberries. This picture doesn't show it to advantage - the cream has the look of desperate urgency about it which is quite true! It also shows that my oven runs hot and the cake was a little bit browner than I'd like.
|Breton Cake with Gooseberries and Elderflowers|
Breton Cake with Gooseberries and Elderflowers
7oz190g butter at room temperature
3oz/75g egg yolks (from approx. 4 large eggs)
6oz/160g caster sugar
9oz/250g plain flour
8g/1 tsp baking powder
4 large fresh eggs
Pinch of salt
Gooseberry Purée Filling:
14oz/400g gooseberries, topped and tailed
3.5oz/80g caster sugar
1 pint/500ml double cream
2oz/50g icing sugar
Elderflowers to decorate (I forgot!)
Take an 8”/ 22cm tart ring (or a sandwich tin without the base). Line a baking ray with parchment and put the ring on top. Cream the butter by beating it until it is pale. In a Kenwood/Kitchen Aid mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy, and then add the butter and mix everything together. Then slowly (!) add the dry ingredients until you have a sticky dough. Tip the dough into the tart tin and press it down with your fingers. Wet a round-blade knife and smooth the surface. Put the tray and ring into the fridge for an hour or two to rest.
Now heat oven to 180 deg C. Bake the tart for approx. 30 minutes until it is golden brown (check after 20), then leave to cool.
Cook the gooseberries with the sugar and water until mushy. Leave to cool. Whip the cream with the sugar until it is thick enough to pipe.
To decorate, spread the puree over the cake, then pipe the cream in a single spiral (I wish!), starting at the centre. Top with elderflowers and dust with icing sugar.