This is my mother’s recipe. Fiercely and proudly Afrikaans, her food was always heavily influenced by the French and we were nurtured on her own exquisite fusion of French and Cape cooking. She paid little attention to cholesterol or calories when we were younger and allowed only her passion to guide her. As my father’s health faded over the years, her cooking style changed too and it is only now that I realize that the passion was reserved only for him. The day he died, she never cooked again. In her honour then, I share this with you.
It is dead easy and I have made dozens of my own versions, but this is the basic one and the most delicious.
475 g flour
475 g sugar
500 g salted butter
8 extra large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cognac (she used brandy or rum, but I prefer cognac)
2 tablespoons milk
Make a hollow in the sieved flour and add the sugar and the softened butter, mixing it well with your fingertips. Stir in 7 egg yolks, add the cognac until a smooth dough is formed. It is perfectly acceptable to use a food processor instead.
Grease a springform cake pan with butter, dust with flour and press the dough evenly into the pan. Mix the remaining egg yolk with the milk and coat the surface of the dough with it, scoring a grid pattern with a fork.
Bake on a 200 C pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
Please keep an eye on the oven the first time.
Serve with a chilled bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée because I feel that only Krug could possibly be good enough for this gâteau. Since this is not the most expensive bottle in the Krug stable it will not break the bank.
After making a complete idiot of myself recently, I embarked upon a voyage of self education recently. To this end I attended a Champagne tasting only to learn that I had a lot to learn. Apparently loving wine and knowing what you like, is not good enough. I will share this voyage with you when occasion calls for it, but I have so much to learn that the occasion will be rare. Krug has to be the non plus ultra of champagne and requires no learning, the taste provides an instant education. It is only always the best. The Grande Cuvée is made from Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Fermented in small oak barrels at first, it is later transferred to stainless-steel tanks which ensure optimum freshness. Krug has belonged to Moët en Chandon since 2004 and has benefited hugely from the financial injection. Henri Krug religiously ensures that all bottles are aged for six years before release.
I tasted citrus, followed by butter and hazelnuts – a perfect partner for the rich buttery cake with the spicy fruit of the Chardonnay certainly matching the depth of this great gateau!