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Eclecticisms: Boston Cream Pie... NOT a fail!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Boston Cream Pie... NOT a fail!

Although this cake turned out really well, I can't lie and say I loved it. It reminded me of something you'd get in a bakery, but I prefer that home-baked taste and consistency. That being said, it was a hit with everyone who tried it and baking it was definitely a learning experience. I don't say that just because of the milk/gross pudding/soup incident (see Baking Fail blog), but because I've never made anything like this before.
It was also a bit of a challenge to do something this involved with two people, but I think we pulled it off quite well.

Makes one 9-inch cake.

Unsalted butter, for cake pan
1 cup sifted cake flour, (not self-rising), plus more for pan
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
6 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Link to the original recipe.

Cake Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper. I used my springform pan again, because the parchment paper kept it leak-proof. Somehow, I missed that part the first three times I read the recipe. Luckily, I caught it when it counted.

When I read this recipe, I wondered if I could substitute All-Purpose flour for the cake flour. I did a bit of reasearch and saw a few suggestions that supposedly make that an option, such as adding corn starch to the flour. I decided to play it safe and stick to the recipe. I did, however, find some interesting facts about the differences between flours.

Cake flour has less gluten and protein than all-purpose or bread flour (which has the highest gluten content). The more gluten in the flour, the chewier your dough/batter will be. If you are making an item that you want to be light and fluffy or delicate, a lesser-gluten flour is your best bet.

The more I read, the more I realized that I could study flour for a year and still not call myself an expert. Still, this is a starting point that I'm glad to have found.

Sift together cake flour and salt three times, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix eggs and sugar until well combined. Place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water; whisk until mixture is warm, about 110 degrees, and sugar is dissolved, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat; place bowl on mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat egg mixture on high until thickened and pale, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine milk and split vanilla bean. Place over medium heat until hot, but don't let it come to a boil. Remove and discard vanilla bean. (I rinsed mine well and put in in with my sugar. not only are they so expensive, they'll give the sugar a nice hint of vanilla.) Using the beater attachment, pour hot milk into egg mixture in a slow, steady stream. Transfer to a medium bowl; fold in flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.

Holy cow, it looks like a cake this time!

Filling Directions

Prepare an ice-water bath in a bowl large enough to fit the bowl you are about to beat your egg whites in. In another large bowl, whisk egg yolks and set aside.

 In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. (It is essential that mixture come to a boil.) Remove from heat.

<--- Action shot!

Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. (It is essential that mixture bubble again.) Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract.

Transfer filling to a medium bowl. Place the bowl in the ice bath. Stir from time to time until mixture cools; it thickens as it cools. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap against the filling to prevent a skin from forming. The filling may be refrigerated overnight at this stage, or it is ready to use.

Glaze and Assembly Directions

Split cake into two layers; spread bottom half with chilled filling. To split the cake evenly, there are a few tricks. I looked up techniques on teh internet before blindly going at it with a blade (NOT my specialty). Here's a video that shows the method we used. It worked great, and the cake cut evenly.

Look how well my cake cut!

Place in refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes. Wrap remaining half of cake with plastic wrap; set aside.

In a medium-size heat-proof bowl, or the top of a double boiler, set over a pot of gently simmering water, combine chocolate and heavy cream. Stir occasionally until chocolate melts, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside to cool for 10 minutes. (Taste it, of course!)

Remove cake from refrigerator; top with reserved layer.

Transfer cake to large serving plate (the chocolate will be messy and you'll want extra room for it to spread!). Pour chocolate glaze over top.

Allow to set 20 minutes before serving.


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At September 9, 2010 at 5:56 AM , Blogger Leslie said...

I knew you would make a delicious Boston Bream Pie. I wish I could have been there to try it!!! Miss you!


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