Is there anything more fun than ladies who brunch together? I spent the last week with my dear family in California celebrating my sweet great aunt Libby's life and although it was an emotional time it was such a sweet time. Family is so important. We stopped in walnut groves in Northern California for wine tastings and traveled alongside the icy clear blue waters in Tahoe. We traveled through the sheep fields and rye grass farms in central Oregon. The Mountains with Old growth forest taller than I had ever seen in my life that gave way to perfectly blue rivers and creeks. One thing I took away from the time I spent traveling is that there is so much life to live, together. The time I got to spend with my grandmother, mother, sister & niece along with all of our other family was precious. Road tripping through 4 state lines, waking up early for swims and having coffee & terrible continental breakfasts. Laughing until we couldn't catch our breath in the casino in Nevada and grabbing a little gelato before bed. We work hard in life to enjoy it. Slow days, taking the scenic route sometimes completely by accident. My Aunt was a painter and her services were filled with her paintings. She also loved to cook for people. Everyone that stood up to talk about her, talked about what she fed them. She was my kind of lady! I have a feeling she would have loved this brunch very much. Now go gather a few girls you just adore and make them something tasty to eat.
Gateau Basque (puff pastry and egg custard)
1, 9 inch cake pan
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets)
3 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. AP flour
Slice down through the center of the vanilla bean, taking care to not slice through it completely. Using the dull back end of your knife gently apply pressure and scrape the tiny seeds out of the vanilla bean. Put the bean and seeds into the milk. Heat milk, vanilla bean and zest over medium heat just before it simmers, do not boil. As the milk heats, separate 5 of the 8 eggs, add 5 yolks and 3 whole eggs to your mixing bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Once the milk is hot, remove it from the heat. Temper your egg mixture by ladling 1 cup of hot milk into the egg mixture and whisking continuously. Remove the whole vanilla bean. Repeat this process 3 times before adding the tempered eggs to the milk. Place custard over medium heat whisk constantly so the eggs don’t scramble until it thickens. About 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Pre heat your oven to 400. Roll your puff pastry out to fit in your Parchment lined cake pan. I always use enough parchment to create an overhang to lift the pasty our once it’s finished. Pour custard into the cake pan and pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes. Add the second layer of puff pastry to the top, crimp where possible. Brush top with some of the remaining egg whites and sprinkle with raw sugar, tent edges with foil if needed and bake for 30 minutes at 400 then another 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove pastry once the egg custard is set and serve at room temperature or cold with rhubarb jam and whipped cream.
4 cups (about 3 large stalks) diced rhubarb
1 ½ cups Sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Simmer together for about 20 minutes, the Rhubarb should have given up its shape. When it begins to thicken and look like jam you are done! Serve over ice cream or alongside any sweet cake!