Gateau a La Crème

This recipe takes time but is not difficult. The enriched dough is started the day before, rested and firmed up overnight in the fridge and then rolled out the next day. This classic French tart is absolutely gorgeous and I urge you to try it.


This dough is best made by machine fitted with a dough hook. Place the yeast, milk and sugar together in the base of the bowl and mix together with a fork or small whisk.  Add then the flour, eggs and salt and mix on a low speed until the dough is well combined. With the motor running on its lowest setting add in then the soft room temperature butter – little by little until well incorporated. Leave the machine running for around five minutes or so or until the dough becomes smooth and stretchy. This is a very wet dough.

Grease a mixing bowl and transfer the dough, cover with a shower cap and leave in a warm place to rise. The oven with only the light on is just the right heat for proving.  Leave the dough for one and a half to two hours or until doubled in size.

Lightly flour the work surface and transfer the risen dough. This mix is very soft and difficult to handle so I just use a bench scraper to help knock it back and form into a ball.  Pop it back into the bowl, cover again with the shower cap then pop into the fridge and leave overnight to rest and firm up.

The next day – take the dough from the fridge, turn out of the bowl onto a floured surface and divide into two. The dough is now firm and easy to handle. Roll out each half of the dough on a lightly floured surface in a circle large enough to fill and overlap the pastry ring.  Once the dough is fitted into the ring use the rolling pin as an aid to roll over the tin and trim the edges away.

Prick the bottom of the dough then pop into the oven with just the light on and allow to prove for one hour.

(If you decide to freeze one of your dough cases then pop it into the freezer before this second prove. When ready to use, take from the freezer and thaw then allow to prove for one hour.  If you do not have a second tin – freeze the dough in a ball then when ready to use, thaw in the fridge and roll out.)

15 minutes before the end of the proving time, remove your proving tart and preheat the oven to 200degrees c (fan).  Place a baking sheet into the oven to preheat.

Mix the filling by beating the three eggs in a bowl or jug and use a pastry brush to carefully apply an egg wash to the rim of the risen dough before adding the rest of the filling ingredients to the eggs.

Add the sugar, lemon zest and creme fraiche to the bowl whisk well to combine then pour into the risen dough case then carefully slide onto a preheated baking sheet and transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is risen, is a dark golden brown and the custard filling is set.

Best served at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar.

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