A classic French cake, Pastis (pah-stee) is delicious served plain or with butter and jam.
½ oz. fresh yeast
6 oz. plus
½ teaspoon castor sugar
2 tablespoons lukewarm milk
1 lb. flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 oz. plus
1 teaspoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons brandy egg yolk, well beaten with
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoons soft brown sugar
Crumble the yeast into a small mixing bowl and mash in -y teaspoon of the sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the lukewarm milk and cream the milk and yeast together to form a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized, warmed mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining sugar and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs, 1 ounce of the melted butter and the brandy together with a kitchen fork until they are well blended.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture and the egg and brandy mixture.
Using a spatula or your fingers, mix the liquids together, gradually drawing in the flour mixture. When all the flour mixture has been incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured working surface. Knead it vigorously for 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball.
Rinse, dry and lightly grease the mixing bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and sprinkle over a little flour. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and set it aside in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours, or until the dough has risen slightly.
Using the remaining teaspoon of melted butter, grease a 2-pound loaf tin and set it aside.
Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a lightly floured working surface and knead it for 5 minutes.
Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in the prepared tin. Cover the tin with a clean, damp cloth and set it aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220 3C).
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the dough with the egg yolk and milk mixture. Sprinkle over the sugar.
Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake the cake for
10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to fairly hot
375°F (Gas MARK 5,
190°C) and bake for a further
55 minutes to
1 hour or until the cake is golden on top.
To test if the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and turn it out of the tin. If the cake sounds hollow when you rap the underside with your knuckles, it is cooked. If the cake is not cooked, return it to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Cool the cake completely on a wire rack before serving.