How to make it

  • Dough:
  • Place 2 cups of all-purpose flour in a medium bowl and fashion a well in the bottom. Drop in the egg yolks, egg, salt, grated peel, and rum, if desired. Stir ingredients to mix while slowly pulling in flour from sides of the bowl. Cut softened butter into 1-inch chunks and drop into bowl. Work butter into the flour, first with scraper or wooden spoon and then with hands. Add liberal sprinkles of flour, if necessary, to make a firm dough. (Size of eggs will influence amount of moisture in mix.) Do not work or knead dough more than necessary to make a smooth ball.
  • Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put aside to rest for 1 hour at room temperature (70-75 degrees). However, if the dough is soft, place in the refrigerator.
  • Filling: Spoon flour into a saucepan and slowly add 1/2 cup milk to make thin paste with no lumps. Stir in balance of milk, egg yolks, sugar, salt, vanilla, and if desired, rum. Place over low heat until pasty cream thickens to hold shape. Stir constantly so mixture does not burn or scorch. Set aside.
  • Cherries:
  • While cherry preserves can be used from the jar, I prefer to heat them in a small saucepan and strain them through a sieve to separate fruit and syrup. Some products are too juicy and would dilute the filling if used as is.
  • Preheat oven to 380 degrees.
  • Divide dough into 2 pieces-one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger piece between sheets of wax paper, loosening both sheets occasionally while rolling, to allow dough to spread. When rolled, dough should be slightly less than 1/4-inch thick and 1-inch larger in diameter than pie tin. Peel off top paper. Use lower sheet to help pick up dough and invert over pan. Carefully pell off paper and with fingers carefully pat dough into place over bottom and up sides. Trim dough along outside edge of rim.
  • Spoon pastry cream into the shell. A deep pan will take more filling than a shallow one. Fill 3/4 full. Spread the cherries over the surface and sprinkle amply with cherry syrup.
  • Roll remaining pieces of dough between pieces of wax paper as before. Roll a thin circle 1/2-inch greater in diameter than top of pie pan. As with bottom piece, invert over pan. Trim. Crimp or pinch edges of top and bottom pieces together.
  • With a razor, cut a series of artistic whirls to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg glaze.
  • Place on the low shelf of a 380 degree oven. It will be done when crust is a golden brown, approximately 40 minutes.
  • Remove gateau from oven with care. It will not become firm until it has cooled. Slice in narrow wedges to serve.

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