Just like here in California, cuisine gets, if not claimed as an inherent part of the gastroculture locally, then is certainly adopted and adapted to the local tastes. So as I find myself leafing through one of Dorie Greenspan’s books on French cuisine, its not overly surprising to see the French embrace as their own dishes from Morocco, Italy, and elsewhere as ‘French’, even though the dishes association is simply that the French like these dishes as well.

Pizza in New York, Mexican cuisine in California, and the mosh goes on.

Between France and Spain there is the Basque Country, taking up much of the high Pyrenees that separate those two nations, yet the folks who live there may consider themselves French…or Spanish…or both or none. Consequently, I don’t have any oar to pull either way for this Basque treat, known in France as gateau basque.

Traditionally the filling for the cake is some sort of jam (typically cherry) though its not unheard of to have a simple vanilla cream pastry filling in its place, or in this case, chocolate pastry cream. I think that this particular cake will go over well, not simply because of the chocolate, but the amount of sugar included in this recipe is not overpowering.

The dough for the cake is thick and rollable, and after its rolled out between sheets of plastic wrap and chilled for a few hours, the two separate pieces will be sandwiched around the chocolate pastry cream and the top decoratively scored by the tines of a fork. This dish, despite the lesser amount of sugar, is still going to be heavy and would call for a light touch of creme fraiche or whipped cream to balance this out, but as my wife would end up farting the bed sheets out like a balloon if she had any amount of whipped cream, I think I will refrain from offering such a garnish ( besides, whipped cream is on The List of generally recognized foods for me to not bother with as far as my wife’s preferences.

Notes: this dough is really much more like a cookie dough, if you can fathom it. After a few hours in the fridge to chill, each layer separated by plastic wrap, separating the two sheets of dough was a bit of a trick and patching of cracks was necessary.