I was surfing around on the web yesterday morning when I came upon a site — a blog — where I found a recipe for a French cake I'd never heard of before. It's called a toutché (I've also found it spelled toutche without an accent, or even touché without the second T) and it's a specialty of the area called La Franche-Comté in eastern France.
A toutché cake, from the Franche-Comté region of France
I have no idea where the name comes from or what its derivation might be. Since we were having friends over last night for a light dinner, an apéritif dînatoire, and I had the whole day ahead of me, I decided to make a toutché that we could serve as dessert. The blog where I first found the recipe, Tout le Monde à Table, describes it like this:
[Cést] un délicieux gâteau avec une pâte levée briochée et un goumeau à base de crème et d'oeufs qui répond au nom patois de « toutché ». On l'appelle aussi gâteau de fête ou encore gâteau de ménage. Il peut être en version sucrée comme en version salée. — It's a delicious cake made with a leavened brioche-type pastry and a custard filling made with cream, eggs, and sugar, and it is called a toutché in the local dialect. It's also called a party cake or a home-style cake. It can be made either sweet or savory.
Here's the recipe, which I've translated and adapted. By the way, our friends from California really liked it and both asked for a second helping.
This kind of cake isn't very sweet by American standards, but the brioche-type pastry is very tender and tasty. My toutché dough didn't have a high enough lip around the edges so the filling spread over the whole top and some ended up inside the cake after it cooked. No matter — it was still very good, and looked nice.– The Pastry –2 eggs1 cup milk, lukewarm2 tsp. salt4 Tbsp. melted butter, lukewarm4 Tbsp. sugar4 cups flour1 packet of baker's yeast
– The Cream Filling –2 eggs (or 2 egg yolks, if you prefer)1 cup of heavy cream3 Tbsp. sugar
To make the pastry, put all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer in the order listed. Mix the dough for five minutes and then let it rise in a covered bowl for about 2 hours. (You can also make the dough in a bread machine.)
When the dough is ready, spread it out to fill a non-stick cake or pie pan that's been dusted with flour.
Make the cream filling by mixing the eggs (or yolks) into the cream. Stir in the sugar. (Some recipes call for a little vanilla or other flavoring to be added to the filling.)
Using a fork, make a half-inch raised border around the edges of the dough in the baking pan so that the cream filling won't run off. Pour the filling onto the dough.
Cook the cake in an oven pre-heated to 180ºC / 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes. The top should brown lightly. Sprinkle on some sugar while the cake is still hot from the oven. Serve at room temperature.
Next time I'm planning to make a savory toutché, putting no sugar but a little salt in the cream filling, along with some cooked lardons (chunks of smoked bacon or ham).