Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boston Cream Pie

Blurry and messy...but oh so tasty!

My dad has always loved pastry desserts such as éclairs, cannolis, and Boston cream pie and I have always felt slightly bad about not enjoying them nearly as much. I like the chocolate part, but I could do without the pastry cream and the bland tasting cakey stuff. Cannolis are pretty good if they are filled with chocolate instead of that questionable ricotta center, but as I have been told, then that's not a real cannoli. Oh well. Despite this, I got into my head that I should make a Boston cream pie for my dad and brother-in-law's birthday celebration this year. After spending a good deal of time searching for what looked like an A+ recipe, I worked from Brown Eyed Baker's. I don't think I need to tell you that mine did not turn out quite as well. At least it didn't look nearly as nice. I made all three parts (cake, pastry cream, and chocolate glaze) at my apt the day before and then transported them (separately) to my parents' house where the assembly took place. Sadly, the car ride was a bit too much for my pastry cream and it was no longer firm enough to stay in the middle of the cake, instead dripping down the side in globs, much to my horror. I am happy to report that although it looked less than impressive it was still very good - even I liked it!

Things to note: Boston cream pie uses up a lot of eggs and has a lot of steps, but it comes together pretty easily. Just make sure the pastry cream is heavy and thick before using.

Boston Cream Pie

How I did it:

Pastry Cream

5 eggs
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1 pint container of half-and-half
Dash of sea salt
4 tablespoons/half a stick cold unsalted butter (right from the fridge, roughly chopped)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Separate the eggs over a storage container, letting the egg whites fall into the container and dumping just the yolks into a mixing bowl . Refrigerate the eggs whites for later use (egg white and veggie scramble, maybe?) and whisk the yolks. As soon as the yolks are blended together, whisk in 2 tablespoons of sugar and then whisk in the cornstarch until the egg mixture is thick and creamy. Set aside.

2. Heat half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and salt in a pot until sugar and salt are fully dissolved and the half-and-half begins to simmer. Watch closely or it can get too hot and expand out of the pot (read: the dairy boils over and creates a horrible mess).

3. Pour heated dairy mixture into the egg mixture and gently stir. Pour the whole bowl back into the pot on the stove to simmer, whisking until mixture has thicken.

4. Immediately pour mixture into a bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator to set. It looked ready after a couple hours, but you can safely leave it there for up to a couple days. Make sure not to let it warm up before using!

Sponge Cake

(I saw recipes that used regular yellow cake, but I do not recommend that as the pastry cream is very heavy - you want a lighter, more airy cake)

1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whole milk (I used leftover heavy cream from the glaze and water instead)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, roughly chopped up
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs
3/4 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread cooking oil over two 9 inch cake pans and cut out two circles of parchment paper to place in the bottom. If you normally grease and flour cake pans, I still suggest using the parchment paper as you will need to get the cakes out of the pans as soon as the get out of the oven.

2. Whisk flours, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

3. Heat milk and butter on the stove and stir until butter is fully melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cover and set aside.

4. Separate 3 eggs over a mixing bowl, letting the whites fall into the bowl and placing the yolks into another bowl along with 2 additional full eggs. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Continue to beat egg whites as you add 6 tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Beat just until the whites form start to peak and then set aside.

5. Beat whole eggs and yolks and add 6 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until very thick - watch the clock - it will take nearly 5 minutes, but it will be worth it.

6. Combine egg mixtures and gently fold in the flour mixture until just barely incorporated and then fold in milk. As soon as everything is evenly mixed stop folding - you do not want to over-mix this.

7. Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans and bake for about 15-20 minutes. They will be light brown and the center will spring back upon touch (like a soft sponge). As soon as you take them out of the oven run a butter knife around the edge and using and oven mitt, flip the cakes out of the pans and onto cooling racks. They should come out very easily!

Chocolate Glaze

1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream is fine)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Don't worry - this is the easiest part! Combine the heavy cream and corn syrup and simmer on the stove until well combined. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and then cover and let sit. After about 10 minutes mix in vanilla and stir well. The mixture should be smooth. Wait until cooled to use. I put it in the fridge overnight and then zapped it in the microwave for about 20 seconds and gave it a thorough mixing and that seemed to work well for the consistency.

Time to put it all together

I waited until the next day, but you can just wait until everything cooled down/set (make sure to keep the pastry cream in the fridge though). The glaze should be thick, but not so thick you can't mix it.

1. Lay one of the cakes in the middle of your cake plate and slowly pour the cold pastry cream on top, starting in the middle and brushing outwards. Make sure your pastry cream is thick in constancy before you do this. You should have more of it in the middle than on the edges.

2. Place second cake on top of the pastry cream. After making sure the chocolate glaze is the right consency, pour in the center of the top cake and work to the edges and down the sides. There should be more on the top than on the sides. If you want you can just let a small amount drip down the sides, but I wanted the sides completely covered (the more chocolate the better, right?).

3. Put the whole cake in the fridge for at least an hour to set. Do not leave it in there too long (more than a few hours) or the cake will start to get soggy.

4. Serve and let me know how it turned out!

1 comment:

The Mom said...

This came to our house! It was a big hit! No one minded that the cream and chocolate were in places they weren't supposed to be!