FEBRUARY 21, 2011


I love baking with Patricia.  Virtual baking.  I would prefer to share a kitchen with her twice a month, but I won’t complain. Our email conversations are rich, deep, funny, and poetic.  We are confiding in each other and sharing similar stories.  In the past 6 weeks I have learned so much about Patricia, and I am certain that if we lived in the same city, we would be “BFF’s”.


Patricia suggested this weeks sweet de jour.  I was over the moon that she wanted to make this recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. I have eaten at Lucques a few times and each time I have enjoyed my meal.  I love this book and I don’t cook from it nearly enough. Come to think of it, I don’t cook from many of my books enough.  I have over a 100 cookbooks and I love my collection.  A girlfriend of mine stopped me the other day and asked my why I haven’t done a post on my favorite cookbooks.  Thanks, Breena for inspiring me; I am in the process of writing it and I am cooking from each and everyone of them.  I am having a ball!

In the meantime, I am enjoying this cake, and the blackberry compote which is finger lickin’ good!  This is a Basque dessert, a simple pound cake layered with booze and fruit.  Pound cake + booze + cake, nothing to complain about here!

Pastel Vasco with Blackberry Compote
recipe from Sunday Supper at Lucques
yield: 1 pound cake + extra berry compote


for the cake
2 1/4 cups + 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 extra large organic eggs
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. dark rum
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
for the blackberry compote
1/2 cup vanilla sugar*
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds scraped from the pod)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 pints blackberries
2 Tbsp. brandy

for the cake
• sift flour and baking powder together. add the salt
• whisk 3 of the eggs in a large bowl. whisk in the sugar, melted butter, rum, extracts, and orange juice.  fold in the dry ingredients.
• let the batter rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
• butter a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. set aside
• preheat oven to 400*.
for the compote
• put the sugar into a medium pot.
• cut the vanilla bean in half, split the half and scrape out the seeds.  mix them into the sugar.
• add 1/3 cup of water and bring to a boil without stirring. swirl pan unitl the mixture turns an amber color.
• when the sugar is an amber color, mix in half the blackberries and the brandy to the pot (be careful cuz the alcohol may flame when it hits the pan).  cook for 3-5 minutes, until the berries release their juices.
• strain the berries over a bowl. put the liquid back into the pan. bring to a boil.
• mix the cooked berries with the fresh berries and let steep.
• mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly.  once the caramel is boiling add the cornstarch mixture, whisking slowly.  cook until thickened. pour the juice over the berries and set aside.

• pour 3/4 of the batter into the pan and then spoon 3/4 cup  of the compote over it. top with the remaining batter.
• whisk the last and final egg and brush it over the top of the cake.  sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar.
• bake for about an hour (an hour was too long for me. I should have baked for about 45 minutes, mine got a little over done).
• this cake is good as is or fried in a pan with a little bit of butter.  top with remaining compote. or do it Eli’s way and add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

* note – I make my own vanilla sugar.  I fill up a jar with sugar and each time I scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean, rather than throwing out the pod, I toss it in the jar of sugar.  when you take the lid off the jar of sugar, the aroma from the vanilla pods are intoxicating.  I use vanilla sugar when ever a recipe calls for sprinkled sugar on top.