Pineapple Coconut Gateau Basque

Are you familiar with gateau basque? The technical explanation of a gateau basque is that it’s a dessert from the Northern Basque region of France, made up of a short pastry crust and filled with pastry cream and/or cherry jam. The more accurate/fun explanation of a gateau basque is that it’s the love child of a cookie, a tart, and a cake. This pineapple coconut gateau basque is what would happen if that love child was conceived on a Caribbean cruise. (Are you sick of this tired metaphor yet? I guess I’m about to find out who reads the headnotes!)

To make a gateau basque, you press a buttery dough into the base of a tart pan. Next, you add filling on top. To finish things off, you lay more of the same dough on top and bake the whole thing. After baking, the exterior of the crust gets tender and flaky, like a wonderful shortbread cookie. The interior layers of the crust gets soft, tender, and cakey. The filling hangs out in the middle being all custardy and wonderful. The end result is one that’s soft enough to melt in your mouth but robust enough to cut into slices and serve.

A Tropical Basque

Gateau basque is traditionally filled with cherry jam or pastry cream but I wanted to put a tropical spin on things. There are no flavors more stereotypically tropical than coconut and pineapple, so this pineapple coconut gateau basque was born! The gateau basque has two layers of filling: one of coconut pastry cream, and one of brown sugar caramelized pineapple. The result is an absolute dream of contrasting textures and flavors.

pineapple coconut gateau basque, pre bake

Coconut Pastry Cream

Even if you never get around to making this pineapple coconut gateau basque, I am begging you to make this coconut pastry cream. Begging!! The pastry cream is made with full fat coconut milk so it’s thick and luscious with a mild coconut flavor. You can amp the flavor up with a few drops of coconut extract if you really want a coconut punch. It’s thick enough to serve as a cake filling or a classic tart filling, and the flavor is mellow enough to pair beautifully with chocolate or fruit.

Caramelized Pineapple

The first time I made this recipe, I used fresh pineapple, which was delicious. The second time I made this tropical gateau basque, I used canned pineapple chunks to see if there was a noticeable difference. The verdict? No difference! While you could absolutely make this pineapple coconut gateau basque with fresh pineapple, canned pineapple makes the process much simpler.

To caramelize pineapple, chunks of fruit are mixed with brown sugar and cooked over high heat. The sugar makes a syrup with the pineapple juices, and the heat cooks that syrup down into a thick, caramelized sauce. The caramelization process gives the sauce some slight bitter notes which help temper the sweetness of pineapple.

Planning the Pineapple Coconut Gateau Basque

This pineapple coconut gateau basque has a few steps that you can stage over a few days. While you can get it all done in a single day, the various cooling stages make it easiest over 2 days. To space things out, make both the coconut pastry cream and caramelized pineapple a few days ahead of time – just refrigerate them until you’re ready to assemble the gateau basque. You can also prep and refrigerate the gateau basque dough in advance.

While this pineapple coconut gateau basque tastes best and has the best textures when it’s fresh, it will continue to be incredibly delicious for a few days after it’s baked. Store it in the refrigerator since the pastry cream is dairy-based!

The inspiration

  • The appealing fluted edge of gateau basques Internet-wide
  • Warmer weather that makes me ready for pool season!
  • Cans of coconut milk, which I always tend to hoard in anticipation of fun recipes

The Quick Look

Component Source/Adapted From
1Coconut Pastry CreamLanibakes
2Brown Sugar Caramelized PineappleLanibakes
3Gateau Basque DoughNew York Times Cooking
pineapple coconut gateau basque
pineapple coconut gateau basque, pre bake

Pineapple Coconut Gateau Basque

A gorgeously-tropical combination of coconut pastry cream, caramelized pineapple, and flaky-tender pastry dough
Course Dessert
Keyword coconut, filling, gateau basque, pastry cream, pineapple, tart
Servings 1 9″ tart


  • heavy-bottomed pan or skillet
  • heavy-bottomed pot
  • Immersion blender or whisk
  • 9" round tart pan, ideally with a removeable bottom
  • Rolling Pin (you can use a wine bottle in a pinch)


Caramelized Pineapple

  • 1 20oz can of pineapple chunk in juice, drained or 350 grams fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes
  • 50 grams brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)

Coconut Pastry Cream

  • 400 grams full fat coconut milk (1 can)
  • 80 grams egg yolk (from 4 eggs)
  • 1 egg
  • 75 grams sugar
  • 23 grams cornstarch
  • pinch fine salt
  • 168 grams unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)

Gateau Basque Dough

  • 256 grams all purpose flour
  • 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder (or 3/4 tsp at sea level)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 142 grams butter (room temperature)
  • 55 grams brown sugar
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 1 egg


  • Chilled coconut pastry cream
  • Cooled caramelized pineapple
  • 2 Rounds of chilled gateau basque dough
  • 1 egg


Caramelized Pineapple

  • Combine 1 drained can of pineapple chunks with 50 grams of brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet
  • Cook over high heat until the pineapple releases juices and the sugar dissolves
  • Keep cooking until some of the liquid evaporates and turns into a syrup, stirring occasionally. The pineapple will start to brown
  • Add 1 tablespoon of rum, if using
  • Remove the caramelized pineapple from the heat and cool fully
  • Once room, roughly chop the caramelized pineapple until each chunk is about 1/4 the original size
  • If you're making the caramelized pineapple ahead of time, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week

Coconut Pastry Cream

  • Warm 1 can of coconut milk a heavy bottomed pot until it is steaming
  • While the milk warms, combine 75 grams sugar, 23 grams cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine
  • Add the egg and 1 egg yolk at a time, whisking well between additions. Repeat until 1 egg and 4 egg yolks have been added and the mixture is smooth and light yellow
  • Slowly stream the warm milk into the egg mixture, whisking well as you pour in milk. This is called tempering! You're doing great.
  • Keep adding the warm milk until it has all been added and the mixture is thin and very pale yellow
  • Return the egg/milk mixture to the heavy-bottomed hot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously
  • Heat the mixture until it has come to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and ensuring that you scrape the sides and bottom of the pot, until the mixture has boiled for a full one minute.
  • Don't boil longer than 1 minute – it will make your pastry cream thinner, not thicker! (Message me if you're curious about why)
  • Remove from heat and whisk in 168 grams of cold cubed butter and 1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste. For the smoothest results, use an immersion blender to work the butter into the pastry cream. If you don't have an immersion blender, whisk hard for at least 30 seconds!
  • Cover the pastry cream with a layer of plastic wrap, pressing the wrap to the custard's surface
  • Refrigerate the pastry cream for at least 4 hours or up to 5 days

Gateau Basque Dough

  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine 256 grams of all purpose flour, 1/2 + 1/8 tsp baking power, and 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • In another bowl, combine 142 grams room temperature butter, 55 grams brown sugar, and 50 grams sugar. Stir until smooth and creamy
  • Add 1 egg to the butter mixture and stir until well-combined
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until the flour disappears into the dough
  • Split the dough into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. If you'd like to be exact, you'll want one dough piece weighing 308 grams and another dough piece weighing 250 grams
  • Shape each piece into a disc
  • Place the smaller piece of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and press down lightly
  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough piece out into a 9" circle inside the parchment sheets
  • Repeat with the larger dough piece, rolling this one out into an 11" circle
  • Lay both dough pieces flat in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours. If you need to refrigerate longer than 8 hours, wrap the dough sheets in plastic/foil/a large ziploc to keep the edges from drying out.


  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • Remove the larger dough circle from your refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 8-10 minutes so that it warms up a little
  • Press the dough sheet into a 9" fluted tart pan. Make sure to tuck the dough into all the edges of the pan and up the sides. If the dough cracks, just use another small piece to patch it up!
  • Use a small, sharp knife to trim the edges of the tart dough
  • Remove the coconut pastry cream from the refrigerator
  • Spread 450 grams of pastry cream into the base of the tart shell. It should come a little more than halfway up the top of the tart pan. You'll have a little pastry cream left over – eat it with a spoon, sandwich it between cake layers, or dollop it on top of some fruit!
  • Top the pastry cream with all of the caramelized pineapple. Gently press the pineapple down into the pastry cream
  • Remove the smaller dough pieces from the refrigerator. Remove the parchment paper and, working quickly (the dough will get soft as it warms!) place the dough piece over the top of the tart. Press down gently to seal the dough on top of the pan. This pressing action will also trim the tart dough at the edges of the pan!
  • Crack 1 egg into a small bowl and add a splash of water. Whisk with a fork to combine
  • Brush the top of the gateau basque with egg wash
  • Cut a small hole in the center of the gateau basque's top crust layer to vent steam
  • Bake the gateau basque for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown
  • Let the gateau basque chill completely in the pan
  • Store the gateau basque in the refrigerator before and after serving. It will keep, well wrapped, for up to 5 days in the refrigerator
stacked slices of pineapple coconut gateau basque

6 thoughts on “Pineapple Coconut Gateau Basque”

  • This looks incredible! But really I just wanted to let you know that I read the headnotes.
    Adam (Uncle)

  • 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! I made it for a family brunch and it was a hit. I used a 1.5-inch deep 9-inch fluted pan and the amount of pastry cream was perfect. Thank you for this recipe, I can’t wait to make it again!

  • Hi there! So excited to make this. If I wanted to use fresh pineapple instead, do you happen to know how much I should use? Thank you very much! 🙂

    • Hi! Your fresh equivalent should be about 350 grams of pineapple, cut into small cubes. That’ll be less than 1 pineapple so you’ll have snacks left over. I just updated the recipe to reflect that conversion as well. Happy baking!

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