Cream-Filled Basque Cookies

Heilala Vanilla‘s premium vanilla beans bring warmth and complexity to these indulgent cream-filled Basque cookies inspired by the flavors of the gâteau Basque. A timeless cake from the Basque region in southwestern France, the gâteau Basque features a pâte brisée crust filled with pastry cream. We added crème fraîche to this sugar cookie base for a tanginess that complements the cookie’s sweetness perfectly. If you can’t find crème fraîche in your local grocery stores, check out our guide to make your own!

Cream-Filled Basque Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean*, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 2½ cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons (110 grams) crème fraîche
  • Vanilla Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add reserved vanilla seeds.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with crème fraîche, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
  3. Divide dough in half. Roll each half between 2 sheets of parchment paper to ⅛-inch thickness. Transfer dough between parchment to refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut half of dough. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut remaining dough. With floured hands, place a 3-inch round in your palm. Place 1 tablespoon chilled Vanilla Pastry Cream in center. Top with a 2-inch round, and pinch edges of circles together to seal. If dough is too soft to handle, place in freezer, 10 to 15 minutes, until set up. (Using your finger, brush edges with water if there is too much flour.) Place cookies, seam side down, on prepared pans, at least 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough, rerolling scraps as necessary.
  6. Bake until bottom edges are golden and tops of cookies look dry, about 10 minutes. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
*We used Heilala Vanilla Beans.

Vanilla Pastry Cream
Makes about 1¾ cups
  • 1½ cups (360 grams) whole milk
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean*, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 4 large egg yolks (74 grams)
  • 3½ tablespoons (28 grams) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together milk, ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar, and vanilla bean and reserved seeds. Heat over medium heat until steaming. Discard vanilla bean.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, and remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar. Gradually add warm milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and boiling, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in butter in two additions. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours or overnight.
*We used Heilala Vanilla Beans.



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    • Hi Jess!

      These cream-filled cookies are best stored in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before enjoying. Happy baking!

  1. I’m gonna attempt to make these again but the first try the dough was very soft and did not roll out enough to get cut into the 3/2inch circles. It’s more of a regular cookie dough that has to be formed into a ball… not sure but will try again. The custard is amazing.


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