Lemony love – Gâteau à la crème


Eggs and lemon is what I associate with this wonderful cake/sweet bread/brioche that lovely Lien has chosen for us Bread Baking Babes to bake this month. And a good choice it is, that cream taste like lemon curd and lemon curd is something I really like, when I make it I have to restrain myself not to spoon it up in record time, it is one of those things that I find completely irresistible. Other things I can’t resist are most dishes with potatoes if the potatoes are good ones, not the pale yellow with blackened edges (you know where you have peeled) that we got in school, watery yet always falling apart. I so wonder what they did with them. Then we have watermelon, farinata, fried eggs with tomatoes and rösti, spaghetti al pomodoro and I could go on for a good while here but just because I like my readers so much and don’t want to bore them stiff, I will stop here.

It is not only a delicious treat but also an easy cake to make too, but then I tend to think the simpler the better, at least when it comes to flavours and ingredients; you really need to be a magician to create truly great complex flavours or you have to lean on a culinary tradition where time has ‘promoted’ the successful ones. In my opinion. But it is, like most thing, just another point of view.  Isn’t that making the world difficult at times, all these different points of views messing it all up when all you really want is that there is only one? Yours. So much simpler that way but probably really boring now when I think of it, no interesting input that sparks your brain into a new direction of thoughts and think of the horror if that one single point of view is the wrong one!


I made this Gateau last weekend because I have been away for the whole week on the job I talked about but unfortunately I didn’t write down any observations on how to do it and what I did differently and now I don’t remember. It is like I have been away for ages because I have been so totally concentrated on what I was doing that I detached myself from this reality, my home and family. And now I am here for the weekend and then back on Monday again, a week of food shooting and a second location shoot, this time on a beach in Liguria. Our first one, in the garden/park of a fantastic house in Brianza close to Milan, was very cold and very windy. I feel I need to stress the very again, in one of the shoots the stuff just fell over or flew away and the textiles flapped in the Siberian wind. Anyway, to get back to Lien’s Gateau and where I think I differed from the recipe: I know I had to add more flour but I can’t remember how much although I doubt I even measured it, I just added until the dough felt the way I liked. I also reduced the lemon in the cream a bit, mainly because I had a big lemon. And I forgot to get nibbed sugar to decorate the cake with and also forgot to glaze it egg. I think that it is all. Make this cake, it is easy and it is good. Click over to Lien to get the link to a video with Raymond Blanc, what a charming man, making the cake and all the details about how to be a Bread Baking Buddy. And once you have done that, go and see what the other Babes filled their cakes with, I did the traditional filling but I know that some of them have been very creative!

Bake My Day – Karen
Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie
blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle
girlichef – Heather
Life’s A Feast – Jamie
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
Paulchens Foodblog – Astrid
Provecho Peru – Gretchen

Gâteau à la crème


Serves 4-6
By Raymond Blanc “From Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets”.

For the brioche dough (enough dough for 4 small, 3 larger gateau or use the left over dough to make a loaf or brioche rolls)
500 g. (1lb 1½oz) untreated strong plain flour, preferably organic
7 g sea salt
4 TBsp caster sugar
2 TBsp fresh yeast or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
7 free-range eggs, preferable organic
300 g (10½oz) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

For the crème filling (makes 1/2 liter; enough for 2 small gateaux / double the recipe if you want to use all the dough for gateaux)
6 free-range egg yolks, preferably organic
60 g (2 1/4oz) caster sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
250 ml (8¾fl oz) crème fraîche

For the glaze
2 free-range egg yolks, preferably organic (1 eggyolk or 1/2 whisked egg is more than plenty)
1 TBsp caster sugar (optional)
20 g (¾ oz) butter, cut into cubes (optional)
1 TBsp nibbed sugar, to decorate

Preparation method
1. For the brioche dough, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (keeping the yeast away from the salt as it will attack it and damage its ability to ferment), in an electric mixer bowl. Add the eggs and mix with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes on low power until the eggs are completely incorporated (alternatively, place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together for 5 minutes).

2. Increase the speed of the machine or your stirring and mix for another 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the edge of the bowl. Then add the cubes of butter and continue to mix for 2-3 minutes until completely incorporated.

3. Remove the bowl from the machine, if using, then cover with clingfilm and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to prove, then chill the dough for a further hour (it will be easier to work with).

4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. (make that 180ºC or the rim gets too dark)

5. Lightly flour a work surface and your hands. Take 300 g of the brioche dough and bring it together with the palms of your hands to form a ball, then place it on a baking tray and flatten it slightly. Starting from the middle of the dough, gently press the dough flat and spread it out to form a circle to approx 20 cm (8 in) in diameter, but leave a 2 cm (1 in) gap from the edge as this will create the rim of the tart. Be careful not to stretch the dough and try to keep the base even in thickness.

6. Cover with a clean tea towel and place the dough in the warm area for 25 minutes or until puffed up.

7. For the crème filling, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice together in a large mixing bowl and gradually mix in the crème fraîche. Set aside.

8. For the glaze, brush the rim of the gateau with the egg yolk and prick the base of the dough evenly with a fork to help the even cooking and rising of the dough,sprinkle with the nibbed sugar . Pour part of the crème mixture in the middle of the dough, sprinkle with the caster sugar and dot with the butter, the rest of the filling should be poured in when the baking sheet is already in the oven, so it won’t spill and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the brioche has risen and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, then serve.

NB: For this recipe you will need a food processor with a dough hook attachment.