Gourmet RecipesGateau à La Crème

Gateau à La Crème is a rich and immensely satisfying French dessert.

“This is a rich and immensely satisfying dessert that is well worth the effort; this time, the proof is in the proving! Just inhale those warmly provocative vapours of the sweet/sour rising dough, the light yeast fermenting; it lingers temptingly, just as when you pass a fine bakery in the early hours.”


Difficulty rating: Easy

Serves (Yield): 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 22 minutes

Special equipment: 1 x 8in by 1⁄2in flan ring



For the dough

  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 30ml milk, warm
  • 3 pinches sea salt
  • 250g white flour
  • 3 eggs, free-range/organic, medium
  • 175g butter, unsalted
  • 2 tbsp sugar

For the crème filling

  • 4 egg yolks, organic/ free range, medium (+ 1 egg yolk, reserved for egg washing)
  • 3 tbsp sugar, caster
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 130ml crème fraiche
  • 2 tsp sugar, caster (sprinkling on top)
  • 10g diced butter for the topping (optional)



For the first proving

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk.
  3. In an electric mixer bowl, place the flour, salt, sugar, eggs, yeast and milk mixture. Mix for 5 minutes on low power.
  4. Then beat in the soft butter.
  5. Turn the mixer up to medium power and continue to beat the mixture for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer the dough into a large bowl and cling film.
  7. Allow to prove in a warm area for 2 hours. The temperature needs to be about 30°C (*1), so the airing cupboard is ideal.
  8. Then knock back the dough to remove most of the air and chill in the fridge till firm.

Rolling the dough and the second proving

  1. Lightly flour the work surface and your hands.
  2. Bring the dough together with the palms of your hands to form a ball, flatten slightly and with a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle.
  3. Fold the dough over the rolling pin and gently drape the dough over a (21cm x 21⁄2cm) baking tin or flan ring.
  4. With one hand, lift the dough and with the other hand gently tuck the dough into the bottom edge of the tart mould so that it fits tightly.
  5. Be careful not to stretch the dough.
  6. Cut off any excess dough by rolling the pin over the edge of the tart.
  7. ​Place the dough in the warm area for a further 25 minutes.

For the crème topping

  1. In a large mixing bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest together and gradually mix in the crème fraiche and reserve.

Egg-washing the rim, and cooking

  1. Brush the rim of the gateau with the egg yolk and dock the base of the dough evenly with the end of a fork to help the even cooking and rising of the dough.
  2. Pour the crème mixture over the dough and sprinkle with 10g of sugar and dot with the butter. Place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.


Chef’s notes (*)

1* A slightly higher or lower temperature is fine as long as you adjust the proving time accordingly.



Some fruit placed in the cream before baking would be delicious: fresh figs cut in half, caramelised apple, pear or banana, some cherries macerated in kirsch and a little sugar would all work well as suggestions.