This is a French classic and is rich and delicious. Traditionally the filling is prunes but I have decided to fill mine with an apricots which work very well.
Start by making the filling. Place the ingredients apart from the almond extract into a small saucepan and heat until the apricot jam dissolves and the mixture simmers. After about 4 minutes the alcohol will have evaporated so remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly then blitz the whole lot together to a paste, stir through the almond extract and then leave to cool completely.
To make the gateau – In a large roomy mixing bowl and using a hand held electric whisk cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Incorporate the egg yolks one at a time, whisking well between each addition then finally fold in the sifted plain flour.
The mixture is very thick and quite difficult to mix but once all is combined transfer the whole lot into a piping bag.
Pipe half of the mixture (about 400g) onto the base of the tin then smooth out using the back of a spoon or an angled palette knife. Pipe then a narrow half inch border around the perimeter of the tin. Pop the tin into the freezer for ten minutes to firm up.
Take from the freezer and add the filling spreading it to the edges of the border.
Freeze again for a further 10 minutes then use the other half of the mix to pipe over and cover the jam.
Smooth over very carefully and as flat as you can then freeze again for 10 minutes.
Take from the freezer then apply the egg wash and use a fork or metal skewer to score over a pattern.
Bake at 170°C fan (190°C non-fan, Gas Mark 5, 375°F) for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden and shiny. I wrap a foil collar around the tin to prevent the outside becoming too brown.
Leave to cool in the tin. This cake is utterly delicious and will keep in a tin for at least a week.
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