Gateaux Basque


I have been obsessed with Gateaux Basque since the first moment I came across this lovely pastry. It was on my honeymoon in San Sebastian (in the Basque part of Spain) where it was offered as a turn down every night. It was love at first bite! Or maybe it was that I was in love… Well, the marriage didn’t last but the love for gateaux Basque has not faded.

It looks simple but its flavor is complex and it is a bit tricky to make. The dough has to have the right temperature (cool) or it will fall apart and the filling is a lovely custard. The dough and custard will meld together during baking and the result is simply divine. For a composed dessert I serve this with equally addictive Armagnac prunes and a dollop of whipped cream. You can definitely make this cake a day in advance.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ almond flour
  • large pinch Maldon salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 8 oz unsalted butter, softened, plus more to butter the pan
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 extra large egg yolks
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • 2 tbs pernod
  • 1 large egg yolk for eggwash

How to

Combine all dry ingredients (except Maldon salt)in the bowl of a kitchen aid with a paddle attachment. With the mixer running low, add the butter. When the butter has been incorporated add the egg, 2 EGG YOLKS, lemon zest, Maldon salt and pernod. Mix at low speed until it comes together. Wrap 1/3 in plastic and 2/3 in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 3 extra large egg yolks
  • 4 tbs granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • ¾ tbs salt
  • 2 tbs Armagnac
  • 1/3 cup almond flour 

How to

In a medium pot bring milk to boil and turn off the heat. 

Whisk together egg yolks, corn starch, sugar, salt  until pale yellow. Slowly add hot milk to temper the egg mixture and once all mixed return the mixture to the stove and cook over medium heat, whisking, until thickened. Strain into a shallow pan, place  plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. 

Once cool add almond flour and Armagnac.



Lightly butter a 9” ring mold 1” high. Roll out the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface. Don’t worry if it breaks, you can patch it up and mistakes will disappear when it bakes. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and then unroll over the ring and gently tuck the dough into the corners, let extra dough fall over the edges. Fill the shell with the custard. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a circle slightly larger than the pan. Place the dough over the pastry cream. Roll the pin over the top of the ring to seal the bottom and top layers together. Chill for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Whisk the remaining egg yolk with a little water and brush the gateaux with this egg wash. Score the top of the cake with a paring knife in a crisscross pattern.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden and the center is set.

Let cool completely. 

Ash Chicken


At Brenton Catering we love to serve Ash Chicken. Without fail we will always be asked how do we make it? Well it’s a little bit of a secret (a special brine), but I will share the process of making the ash with you.

First you need to get your hands on some organic hay (pet stores sell this as feed)

Next you need outdoor space to avoid setting off smoke alarms and a large stainless steal container you don’t mind torching. Place the vessel on safe surface for instance  a grill(I use a hotel pan) fill it with hay and light it. Move the hay around with long tongs and try to stay clear of the way the wind is blowing the smoke or you will have black specs all over yourself! 

Once all the hay has turned to ash and is cool, sift it and you now have precious ash.

We mix it with dill oil and marinate our chicken breast in it over night. Season and sear the breast carefully and finish cooking in the oven. Serve up with seasonal veggies, dill oil, cream of cauliflower or parsnips is nice too.

Tomatoes, more tomatoes!


Few things make me as excited as the tomato season. In New York city we are lucky to have a whopping 66 farmer’s markets throughout the 5 boroughs and in late summer and early fall they are filled with tomatoes! A sea of colors and a spectrum of flavors ranging from mild to acidic, sweet to tangy-tart. The sun golds are my favorite snack, a treat really, almost like candy.

With perfect gems like these, cooking seems sacrilegious. I like to showcase tomatoes in a Caprese salad with handmade burrata cheese (mozzarella with a creamy center), torn basil leaves from my garden, drizzle with a good fruity olive oil and sprinkling of Maldon salt.

PAN CON TOMATO   If you happen to have some bruised tomatoes that are about to turn bad, don’t despair - try this Spanish classic.


If you happen to have some bruised tomatoes that are about to turn bad, don’t despair - try this Spanish classic.


Pan Con Tomate

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 over ripe tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • good extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt



Preheat grill or griddle.

Split a baguette or similar bread lengthwise and cut into 3 - 4” pieces on the bias.

Grill bread until toasted and slightly charred to your liking.

Split garlic cloves and rub the grilled bread with the cut side gently.

Cut the tomatoes horizontally and rub bread generously. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with maldon salt. Serve immediately with a side of sliced jamon serrano and lemon wedges if you like.

You will not be disappointed