Gateau Basque

Gateau Basque Serves 8

For Pastry Cream:
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups milk or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Dough:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon rum
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon pastis, such as Ricard or Pernod, or an anise-flavored liqueur
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup ground almond powder (see recipe)
1 teaspoon baking powder

Butter for buttering the pan
Flour for dusting the pan
1 egg, beaten lightly with a fork, for egg glaze

For Pastry Cream:
Combine the milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and ½ cup of sugar in a large saucepan. Heat to simmer.
Sift together the remaining sugar and cornstarch.
Put the 4 egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until light and ribbony. Stir in the sugar and cornstarch.
Add the hot milk to the egg mixture in a thin stream, a little at a time. Adding it too quickly will curdle the eggs.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil slowly, stirring constantly to prevent curdling or sticking.
When the mixture is thick, pour into a flat container and chill, covered with plastic wrap.
For Dough:
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until well blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the rum, almond and vanilla extract, pastis, and salt. Add the flour, almond powder, and baking powder. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until they come together to form a firm dough. Form the dough into 2 even balls, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out one of the balls of dough into an 11-inch circle, approximately 1/3 inch thick. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared cake pan; gently press the dough down into the sides of the pan. Spread the pastry cream in an even layer on top of the pastry dough.
Roll out the remaining ball of dough into a 9-inch circle, 1/3 inch thick. Carefully drape it over the cake pan, on top of the pastry cream, to form the top layer of the cake. Pinch the edges of the dough together to firmly seal in the filling. Trim off any uneven edges. Brush the top of the cake with beaten egg.
Bake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool completely. Transfer to a serving plate, and serve at room temperature.

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