Basque Custard Torte

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 1h

Serves 8

This simple custard-filled cake is native to the Basque region in southwest France. It is often filled with a creamy vanilla custard lightly spiked with the sweet anise flavor of Ricard liqueur, although some areas of the region prefer a filling of black cherries in syrup or cherry jam. To ease unmolding, make sure that the pastry cream is well sealed between the two layers of dough.


  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds or 1/3 cup purchased ground almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon light or dark rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ricard liqueur
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup pastry cream, cooled

Companion recipe: Pastry Cream


If using whole almonds, place the nuts in a nut grinder or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Grind or process until the nuts are a fine powder. (Do not overprocess.) Set aside.

Using a whisk or an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl until blended. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the rum, almond extract, liqueur and salt. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean directly into the bowl. Mix well.

Add the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Using a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of the electric mixer set on low speed. Mix well until the ingredients come together to form a firm dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a cake pan 9 inches in diameter.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half of the dough into a round 11 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Drape the round over the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared pan. Unwrap the round and press it gently into the pan. Using the rolling pin, roll over the top of the pan to trim away any uneven dough edges. Spread the pastry cream evenly over the bottom of the pastry-lined pan.

Roll out the remaining dough portion into a round about 9 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Place the pan over the dough and, using the pan edge as a guide, cut out a round the size of the pan. Drape the round over the rolling pin and carefully transfer it to the pan, placing it atop the pastry cream, to form the top layer of the cake.

Bake until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto the rack, turn right- side up and let cool completely. Transfer to a serving plate and serve at room temperature.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 740

nutrition information per serving

427 calories; 23g total fat; 101mg cholesterol; 57mg sodium; 48g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 6g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

Sign Up for Newsletters Here

Delicious recipes, easy meal ideas and holiday inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.