Friday, 8 May 2009

Boston Cream Pie

Once upon a time, my husband had his birthday. Well actually, it was January this year but seems like ages has passed after a multitude of things happened since then. As in any birthday, a cake is in order for the family celebration which is really a fabulous chance (excuse?) for me to try different cake recipes.

Thumbing through my new (relatively) The New Best Recipe cookbook, we've decided on a Boston Cream Pie. Now why this is called a 'pie' is beyond me because it is one great cake - layers of sponge cakes with custard sandwiched in between then drizzled with chocolate. Just thinking of it make me drool!

The making of the cake itself is a bit of a trek (so to speak) but is definitely worth it. And that's why I love the cookbook where I adapted it from because the instructions are so precise and meticulous it was easy to follow. The authors, Cook's Illustrated, must have written this for OC cooks like me. It is packed full of tips for beginner and experienced kitchen adventurers. I keep on saying I will blog about it but still haven't found the time. :(

Anyways, here is the recipe I used for this delicious cake from Boston (it's true!). Apologies for the pictures of the actual cake. The angles of my shots make it look like a top hat. ;)

glazing the cake

Boston Cream Pie

1 recipe of Pastry Cream (recipe below) - chilled
1 recipe of Foolproof Sponge Cake (recipe below) - cooled

1/4 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup
1 cup double cream (heavy cream)
250 g  dark chocolate
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Prepare pastry cream first, then the sponge cake, and then do the glaze last.
  2. Put golden syrup and double cream in a saucepan and bring to a full simmer over medium heat.
  3. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Cover and let stand for about 8 minutes.
  4. If the chocolate has not completely melted put back on cooker and heat gently while stirring constantly until all the chocolate is melted.
  5. Add vanilla and stir gently until smooth.
  6. Cool until tepid or when a spoonful drizzled back into the pan mounds slightly.
  7. You can also put it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process but you have to stir it every few minutes to ensure even cooling. Once you get the consistency you want take it out of the fridge.

Boston Cream Pie

*To Assemble:
  1. While the glaze is cooling, put one cake layer on a cardboard round (optional) then set on a wire rack over a plate or greaseproof paper. Cut excess cake from top if it is not level.
  2. Spoon the pastry cream carefully on top and spread evenly up to the edges.
  3. Place the second layer on top making sure that they line up properly.
  4. Pour the glaze on the middle of the top layer and let it flow down the sides. Use a metal spatula to completely coat the cake.
  5. Let the cake sit for about 1 hour to make the glaze fully set. Serve the same day.

Boston Cream Pie slice

Pastry Cream

1 cup single cream (light cream)
1 cup whole milk
100 g  [1/2 cup] granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
60 g  [1/4 cup] cold unsalted butter - cut into cubes
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Heat the milk, cream, 3/4 of the sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  2. While the cream mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve (about 15 seconds).
  3. Whisk in the cornflour until well combined and the mixture is thick (about 30 seconds).
  4. When the cream mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk this into the bowl of the yolk mixture.
  5. Return all of this to the saucepan and over medium heat make it simmer again while whisking constantly until thick and glossy and until a few bubbles broke to the surface (about 30 minutes).
  6. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.
  7. (Optional) Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
  8. Put a piece of cling film or slightly wet greaseproof paper directly on the surface to prevent a skin forming.
  9. Cool or refrigerate until completely set. This will take at least 3 hours.

Preparing cake batter

Foolproof Sponge Cake

1/2 cup sponge flour (cake flour)
1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs - room temperature
  1. Grease two 8 or 9-inch layer pans and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Separate the 3 eggs and put the egg whites in a mixing bowl. Combine the 3 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs in another mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly; set aside.
  4. Heat the milk and butter over low heat in a small saucepan until all the butter melts. Remove from heat then add the vanilla extract. Cover and keep warm.
  5. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at low speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium and gradually add 6 Tbsp of the sugar. Keep beating until the it has soft, glossy, and billowy peaks (do not overbeat).
  6. Now beat the egg yolk mixture with the remaining 6 Tbsp of sugar gradually added. Beat at medium speed until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow colour (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the beaten eggs to the egg whites.
  8. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the beaten egg mixture. Fold very gently 12 times with a large rubber spatula.
  9. Make some space on one side of the batter and pour the milk-butter mixture into the bowl.
  10. Continue folding (about 8 more strokes) until it shows no trace of flour and the rest are evenly mixed.
  11. Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  12. Bake until the tops are light brown and springs back when when touched. This is about 20 minutes for 8-inch pans and 16 minutes for 9-inch pans.
  13. Immediately run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn out on cooling racks. Cool completely.

Sponge Cakes