Brittany/Breton is one of the 27 regions of France. It occupies a large peninsula in the northwest of the country, lying between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its capital is Rennes. Brittany has been somewhat culturally and geographically distinct from the rest of the country. The name Brittany is derived from settlers from Great Britain, who fled that island in the wake of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England, between the 5th and 7th centuries. Unlike the rest of France and Brittany, Lower Brittany has maintained a distinctly Celtic language, Breton, which is related to Cornish and Welsh.
Gâteau Breton, made with just a few ingredients (originally made with buckwheat), has a wonderfully dense, yet soft texture. It has Oomph! It is a very delicious and decadent cake. Did I say, ‘very’?
Brittany is also know for its Kouign-Aman (a round crusty cake, made with bread dough, containing layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry albeit with fewer layers.) and Far Breton (its base is similar in composition to a clafoutis batter: a flan-style eggs-and-milk custard with flour added. Prunes or raisins are common additions).
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 320 g/ 2½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
• 1½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 4 egg yolks, soft at room temperature
• 200 g/ 1 cup granulated sugar
• 226 g/ 8 oz/ 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces – if salted butter is used, skip the salt
• I have baked this cake a few times and added varieties of essences/spices (i.e. pure vanilla extract, cardamom, citrus zests), but I have come to the conclusion that this cake is best as is, to appreciate its butter flavor/ fragrance.
For egg wash / glaze (remove chalazae & vitelline membrane from the egg yolk)
• 1 egg yolk beaten well with • ¼ tsp yogurt • ½ tsp water, strained through fine sieve
◊ In a large bowl or a plate, whisk and sift flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
◊ Butter or non-stick-spray a 25 cm/ 10″ spring form, tart pan (removable bottom tart pan) if it is not a non-stick kind.
◊ Start beating the egg yolks on medium speed for a few seconds. Add sugar, a little at a time until thick and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed (4 minutes).
◊ Add the soft butter, small pieces at a time, beating until fine cream (3 minutes).
◊ On low speed, add flour mixture little at a time, beating until combined. Dough will get thicker and thicker, and if the beater is not able to handle, turn off and finish the work by using silicone spatula. Elbow grease needed.
◊ Transfer batter to to prepared pan. With the back of a spoon, spread batter evenly. Using your hand, pat the dough down as flat/evenly/smoothly as possible. Refrigerate for 30 ~ 60 minutes.
◊ When ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 175°C / 350°F.
◊ Remove pan from refrigerator. First brush top with egg-wash. Mark a crosshatch pattern, lattice design or design of choice on top with the tines of a fork or a thick back of a knife. Thick and somewhat deep lines turn out better. See samples → here (some cakes have fillings!). I used the back of a knife and it does not show well in the photos.
Bake for 25 ~ 30 minutes, until deep golden brown. (Start checking at 25 minute point to make sure the top doesn’t get too dark.)
◊ Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool down in the pan. Remove cake from pan while still somewhat warm. To have clean cuts/slices, cut the cake into 12 or 16 wedges while warm.
~ Bon Appétit! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?