A gateau Breton is a specialty of Brittany; this nontraditional version adds a cooked-apple filling between 2 layers of dough with a cakelike texture.
You'll need a 10-inch round cake pan, 2 inches deep, and two 10-inch or larger cardboard disks or tart bottoms.
Keep the Breton loosely covered with plastic wrap at room temperature if you are serving it the day it is baked. Wrap well and freeze for longer storage. Defrost and bring to room temperature before serving.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
Yield: Makes one 10-inch pie, about 12 servings
- For the filling
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cut in half and cored; cut each half into 6 wedges
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- For the dough
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the cake pan
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks, plus an egg wash of 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt
- 2 3/4 cups flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
For the filling: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan that has a tight-fitting cover, such as an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. Add the apples and sprinkle them with the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, checking them and stirring occasionally, until they are swimming in liquid. Uncover and cook for about 10 minutes, so the liquid evaporates; stir occasionally to keep the apples from sticking or scorching. (Most of the apples will disintegrate while the filling is cooking, making it like a chunky applesauce.) Remove from the heat and let cool while you make the dough.
For the dough: Set an oven rack on the lowest level of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Use a little butter to grease a 10-inch round cake pan. Cut a round of parchment or wax paper to fit in the bottom, then butter the paper. Have ready two 10-inch cardboard rounds or tart bottoms.
Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer. Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is very light and aerated. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to incorporate the flour.
Place half of the dough in the bottom of the prepared pan. Use your fingertips to press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Spread the cooled filling over the dough.
Flour the remaining dough lightly on both sides and press it into a 10-inch disk (use a cardboard or tart pan bottom as a guide). Run a long-bladed knife or spatula under the dough to keep it from sticking. Invert the dough onto a separate floured cardboard and slide it onto the filling.
Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash. Use the tines of a fork to trace a lattice pattern on the top. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the dough is nicely colored and baked through. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert, unmold and turn right side up again (it's good to use one of the cardboard disks or tart bottom for this). Let cool completely.
To serve, slide the Breton pie onto a platter and cut it into wedges at the table.
Adapted from "The Modern Baker," by Nick Malgieri (DK Publishing, 2008).
Tested by Hal Mehlman.
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