Monday, October 29, 2007
Daring Bakers October Challenge -- Bostini Cream Pie
I belong to an online learning community called Daring Bakers. The deal is that we are assigned a recipe at the beginning of the month which we have to make exactly as the recipe states, and then post the results on our blogs. The recipe for October (my first month) is a "Bostini Cream Pie" A variation on the classic Boston Cream pie. The recipe appears at the bottom of my post.
First off, I halved the recipe since there's just D and I to eat it. I started by separating the eggs and realized I had separated too many. This was when I decided that when halving a recipe it's best to do all of the conversions first and write them down next to the name of the ingredient. This recipe was a bit of a pain to halve since there are a lot of 3/4 cups/tablespoons in it. Luckily, I remembered that my cookbook holder has all of the conversions written on it, such as how many tablespoons per cup for liquids and solid measures. This is why I wish we used the metric system in the U.S.-- it's so much easier for conversions of all kinds!
I had a little mishap when adding the beaten egg to the milk and egg yolk mixture. My hands were slippery and I accidentally dropped the beaten egg and the bowl it was in into the mixing bowl. I had my cream, vanilla bean, and sugar in a saucepan, brought it to a boil, turned the heat down, and then took some of the hot cream to temper the eggs. As soon as I put the egg mixture into the cream it started to curdle--fast. My pans retain so much heat! Luckily I had the spoon in hand and was able to start stirring right away so not too much curdle (and that's what the straining is for, right?).
Next little mishap was in straining the custard. When straining custard I recommend that you strain it into a bowl and then fill the custard cups from the bowl. Well, on Saturday I didn't do this--I strained straight from the hot and heavy saucepan right into the custard cups. Very messy--but I got to sample a lot of custard that fell onto the counter and the outside of the custard cups.
Third mishap is really a shame because it resulted in wasted custard. I didn't have enough custard cups, so I used a Pyrex bowl with lid for the last bit of custard. Unfortunately I didn't sniff the bowl before using it. All I can say is that I have one bowl of vanilla-onion infused custard. (We specifically store things in glass to avoid the smelly containers issue, but I guess this particular one didn't go through the dishwasher and wasn't washed with enough dish soap).
Now the cake pretty much went off without a hitch. The only issue was that I had neglected to buy the cake flour so I had to use all-purpose. The orange mixture smelled heavenly and reminded me of the smell of cranberry orange bread batter. The egg whites whipped up fabulously and the batter was so light once I folded it in. I spooned it into custard cups that I had wiped with a paper towel dipped in canola oil (I don't like cooking spray). Again, I was short a custard cup so I used another one of the Pyrex bowls, but this time I was smart enough to sniff it first.
The cakes came out of the oven all puffy and lightly browned. Beautiful! I waited until thay were cool and then used a knife to loosen the edges and popped the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
Fast forward about 24 hours to Sunday evening. I made the glaze in the double boiler and then just had to plate the Bostini. I did 3 different platings.
First, a footed glass dessert dish with the custard in the bottom, a round cake on top, chocolate glaze drizzled over the cake, and a raspberry and mint leaves to garnish. The second plating I drizzled the glaze on a dessert plate, spooned the custard to one side of the plate, and then cut a triangular piece of cake which rested partway on the custard. I finished by drizzling the cake with glaze and again garnished with raspberries and mint leaves. The third plating used a china dessert dish and cup which I received as a wedding gift. I put the custard in the bottom of the cup, added a round piece of cake on top, and then covered the whole thing with chocolate glaze. i topped it off by inserting a square of chocolate in the center. On the plate I stacked raspberries and a mint leaf.
While all of the platings looked good, the one that I had a best photograph of is the footed dessert dish. This is my "official" Bostini Cream Pie!
So, below is the half recipe I followed:
Bostini Cream Pie (adapted from Donna Scala & Curtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala's Bistro)
makes 5 servings
6Tbsp whole milk
4 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 egg (minus some of the white), beaten
4 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup + 2Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 vanilla bean
1/4 cup + 1 1/3 tsp sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup + 2Tbsp superfine sugar
1/2 tsp + smidge baking powder
To prepare the custard:
Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.
To prepare the chiffon cakes:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 8 molds/custard cups with nonstick cooking spray.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat.
Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter. Fill the sprayed molds nearly to the top with the batter.
Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.
To prepare the glaze:
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.
Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.
To check out how the other Daring Bakers plated their Bostini Cream Pie, or to read about their experiences, you can visit their blogs. Check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll: http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/.