Ringing in 2015 – Boston Cream Pie

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Happy New Year!! Unlike most other years, by the time it was December 31, I felt ready for the coming year to begin but not because there was something wrong with the past year. 2014 was a full year- highs, lows, celebration of life, remembrance of those who passed, adventures that transformed strangers to friends and brought further personal discovery, new memories with old friends, and of course, incredible food. As a result, it felt like it was simply time to move onto 2015. To help kick off the year right, I made this delicious Boston Cream Pie! 

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Although the dessert has the word “pie” in it, a traditional Boston cream pie is actually a layered sponge cake filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate glaze. Think Boston cream doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts but so much better and more satisfying, as hard as that may be to believe.

chocolate glaze

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The first and last time I made this dessert was in seventh grade for a school project. I had borrowed a cookbook from the teens’ section of the library and made small Boston cream pies. The long amount of time it took was not even worth it because I was left with a dry, dense cake. After that experience, I didn’t have a desire to make the cake again, at least not until last week. While flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks, Cooks’ Illustrated Baking Book, in search for a dessert I could bring to my NYE party, I came across this Boston cream pie recipe and instantly knew it would be perfect for the occasion. I was excited to test the recipe and (hopefully) redeem myself from my middle school baking mishap.

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To my delight, everyone loved the cake and it was finished within minutes! In contrast to my seventh grade version, the cake itself is soft, moist, and tender but sturdy enough that it pairs perfectly with the sweet, luscious vanilla pastry cream. Unexpectedly, the chocolate glaze actually helps cut through some of the richness and sugar because it is made using bittersweet chocolate. The cake layers and pastry cream can be made ahead of time, which makes assembling the whole thing a piece of cake (pun intended). All the components come together beautifully to form this incredible Boston cream pie!

May 2015 be a year full of love, joy, peace, and delicious food!

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Boston Cream Pie

Yield: One nine-inch layered cake

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book

Ingredients:

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup or corn syrup
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine, or chocolate chips (highest quality as possible)

Directions:

For the Pastry Cream:

In medium saucepan, heat half-and-half over medium heat until just simmering.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt until combined and smooth. Add flour and whisk to incorporate.

Remove half-and-half from heat and whisking constantly, stream about 1/2 cup half-and-half into egg yolk mixture to temper it. Whisking constantly, pour tempered egg yolk mixture into saucepan.

Return saucepan to medium heat and whisking constantly, cook until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking constantly, for 8 minutes.

Increase heat to medium and whisk vigorously, 1-2 minutes or until mixture starts to bubble.

Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla to incorporate. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on top of the surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

For the Cake:

Adjust oven to middle position and preheat to 325°F. Grease two nine-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, and grease parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

Heat whole milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla; cover to keep warm.

Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Remove mixer bowl from stand, add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until fully combined. Add dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated.

Working quickly, evenly divide batter between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with rubber spatula. Bake cakes until light brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

Transfer cakes to cool on wire rack, about 2 hours. Run thin knife around the edges of the cake; carefully invert cakes, remove parchment, and return cakes to right side up. (Cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 1 day. Cakes can be frozen for up to 1 month if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Defrost cakes at room temperature before unwrapping.)

Line edge of cake platter with 4 strips of parchment paper to prevent the platter from getting dirty. Place one cake layer on the platter. Use a rubber spatula to stir the pastry cream a few times to loosen it. Transfer pastry cream to center of the cake; spread evenly to edge of cake. Carefully place second cake layer, bottom side up, on top of pastry cream; gently press down. Refrigerate cake while making the glaze.

For the Glaze:

In small saucepan, combine heavy cream and corn syrup. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat, add chocolate, and cover for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth.

Pour glaze on center of cake. Use offset or rubber spatula to evenly spread glaze to the cake edge; let excess glaze drip decoratively down the sides. Refrigerate cake for at least 3 hours. Carefully pull out parchment strips before serving.

Assembled cake can be refrigerated for one day; bring to room temperature before serving.

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