Prune Basque Cake

A recipe originating in the Basque region of Spain, this dessert is part cake, part tart, and part pie. It takes the best of all 3 and makes one delicious pastry. In this recipe California Prunes are stewed with brandy and layered between rich vanilla pastry cream and a light buttery crust.


Recipe by Michelle Rabin @michellerabin

Servings: 8 - 10 People
Prep Time:
Cook Time:


For the Pastry  

  • 1 3/4 (425 mL) cup All-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 (125 mL) cup Almond flour 
  • 1 teaspoon (15 mL) Baking powder 
  • 10 tablespoons (150 mL) Butter, softened  
  • 2/3  (158 mL) Granulated sugar  
  • 1 Large egg 
  • 1 Yolk (for egg wash) 
  • 2 teaspoon (30 mL) Almond extract  
  • 1 teaspoon (15 mL) Vanilla  

For the Pastry Cream 

  • 5 Large egg yolks 
  • 2 cups (500 mL) 2% Milk 
  • 1/2 (125 mL) cup Sugar  
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) Corn starch 
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla or 1 vanilla bean, scrapes  
  • 6 tablepoons (75 mL) Cold butter, cubed into 1-inch pieces

For the Prunes  

  • 1 cup (250 mL) California Prunes  
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Water 
  • 3 tablespoons 45 mL) Brandy  


To make the Pastry 

  1. Combine flour, almond flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down the sides and add in the egg. Continue to beat. 
  4. Gently stir in the dry ingredients and then form into a dough ball.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Form into discs and then wrap tightly with plastic. Refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes, or up to 2 days. 

To make the Pastry Cream  

  1. Prepare a bowl with a sieve over it.  
  2. Place milk and vanilla in a saucepan and simmer over low. 
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer (or hand mixer) beat the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks 
  4. Temper the egg mixture by pouring about 1/4 cup of the milk into the egg mixture while whisking, repeat.  
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pot of milk and whisk. Continue to whisk until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mixture should be thick like custard 
  6. Transfer the mixture into the sieve. Once strained, add butter cube by cube until fully incorporated. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the pastry cream the refrigerate until cool (about 2 hours). 

Make the Prune Filling and Assemble  

  1. In a small pot combine prunes, water and brandy. Heat over medium low until prunes become very tender. 
  2. Mash the mixture with a fork until it forms into a paste then refrigerate until cool, about 30 min. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF  
  4. Meanwhile, roll out the dough first disc of dough on floured surface into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Use flour as needed to avoid sticking. Transfer the dough to 9-inch tart pan. Press into the bottom and along the sides to form an even layer. If the dough tears, just press the pieces together (this dough is forgiving in this way) 
  5. Gently spread the prune paste in an even layer over the pastry.  
  6. Layer the pastry cream over the prunes in an even layer  
  7. Roll the remaining disc of dough into a circle 10-inches in diameter. Cover the tart with the dough pressing along the sides to seal the tart. 
  8. Using the tines of a fork, gently make a criss cross pattern on the surface dough. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of water then brush over dough. 
  9. Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let cool before enjoying for minimum 1 hour

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