Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Boston Way

Last Saturday, I had the great debate I always have: lounge around and enjoy the morning, or get busy and accomplish things. I actually was able to do both and spent a leisurely morning reading, writing, and drinking coffee. As soon as my morning was over, though, I managed to keep myself very busy the rest of the day, although I didn't mean to do this. It started by a desire to bake something. Being as Mother's Day was the next day, I thought I could have a dessert to share. I had remembered that there was a beautiful Boston Cream Pie on the Williams-Sonoma website I shared in a previous post. I took out my computer, pulled up the recipe, was struck again by the lovely photo, and thought, Why not?

Now, I'm not a particular fan of Boston Cream Pie, but honestly, what's not to love? Delicious cake, tasty custard filling, and smooth chocolate. Sounds good to me. I didn't read the recipe at all, but scanned the list of ingredients. I had them all! Wonderful! Off to work I went.

I began by making the cake part, first. Already I could tell that this recipe required extra love that I usually don't give to my cakes. It asked that I sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. So I sifted. It asked that I line the baking pans with parchment paper, so I lined. It asked that I mix things together in a particular way, so I mixed particularly. Goodness gracious this recipe was demanding! Little did I know this was only the beginning. In went the cakes into the oven, and then I began the next step: custard.

The pastry cream (custard) was even more demanding. Nine egg yolks were required! A milk and vanilla mixture had to be heated on the stove, added to the egg mixture, and then returned to the stove where the stirring could not stop. It said to stir for about 7 minutes, and then the mixture should begin to firm up like mayonaisse. Seven minutes went by, and it was still a runny mess. Ten minutes went by. Fifteen minutes. Finally, I went back to check the recipe for a 10th time only to realize I left out a key ingredient. Cornstarch. A trip to the grocery store by my husband and nine additional egg yolks later, I had pastry cream attempt #2, and this time it worked. I strained it into a bowl and let it cool.

The final component of the dessert was the chocolate sauce on top. This required very quick movements, as the sauce could not sit on the stove for very long without being whisked. After about fifteen minutes of whisking, the sauce was finally thick enough to "coat the back of a spoon." I poured it into a bowl and set it aside. Here came the step I had to read numerous times: "Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the gelatin into the 1 Tbs. water and let stand for 2 minutes. Place the bowl of gelatin over a small saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until it is liquid and translucent. Whisk the gelatin into the glaze." Uh...what?? How do you place and stir a bowl of gelatin over a saucepan of hot water? I decided to use a metal sieve for the job as that was the only thing that had a handle and a place to put a bowl. By this time, though, the gelatin was hard and gummy. You would think the gelatin would become "liquid and translucent" quickly, but it did not. Finally, the gelatin softened enough for me to add it to the chocolate sauce, stir, and put it in the fridge. Done!

After the cakes, custard, and chocolate sauce cooled, and after I cleaned up the horendous mess in my kitchen, I assembled my Boston Cream Pie. I was able to share it with many people over the weekend (including mom, mom-in-law, and gma-in-law) and I am thrilled to say that all the hard work was not in vain. It was quite the hit! Hooray!

Click here for the recipe if you need a way to spend five hours this afternoon. And use all your eggs.

2 comments:

  1. Looks so good...good for you for attempting it. Chris and I have a bargain that he bakes and I take credit.

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  2. I am sorry to say that you going to have to repeat this recipe...for me! I love boston cream pie. I loved Marie Calendar's, their's was in a pie crust. Do you think you could just add that step, no big right? For my birthday -the big 3-0. Haha. This was up there with one of your funniest blogs.

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