At the start of every month, all the Daring Bakers eagerly await our host/hostess to announce our daring challenge. This month the lovely Mary of Alpineberry chose the Bostini Cream Pie, a variation of the Boston Cream Pie. As always, after finding out the recipe of the month, I tell Steven what we are planning to make. And his response? "Oh that sucks... you're bad at cakes." Ouch... *sniff sniff* He still remembers the last cake with the rubbery layer of doom. With my ego slightly bruised, I was determined to bake a good cake! (For the record, I am not bad at cakes, just bad at whipping eggs and egg whites).
The traditional Boston Cream Pie is a cake, not a pie, made with two layers of sponge cake with a vanilla pastry cream filling or custard filling in between and covered in chocolate glaze, usually a ganache. A Boston with big strawberries was always the cake I would choose for my birthday when I was growing up. :) A Bostini cream pie, however, is a silky smooth vanilla custard on the bottom, orange chiffon cake (a close relative of the sponge cake) in the middle, and chocolate glaze on top. Orange and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations so chocolate covered orange cake already sounds good to me but add some vanilla custard and oh my goodness this dessert sounds sooo delicious.
Summary of the Challenge:
- Steven, who is not a big sweets fan to begin with, loved the dessert. So this means it was a smashing success! It was as delicious as I expected. The custard really brings everything together. I went light on the chocolate sauce so it didn't overwhelm the vanilla and orange flavors.
- My custard never set; it was more like a thick vanilla cream sauce but it was still really tasty.
- The only problem I ran into was the "plating" of the dessert. The mini bundt pans were just too cute to resist. I floated the little cakes on top of the custard and mistakenly drizzled it with chocolate sauce rather than covering the cake. I took my pictures and happily ate my cake. So far so good, nothing abnormal or unusual as I dig into my cake. Then I look at my pictures on the computer and oh... my... god the drizzling made it a freaking tarantula cake. I am absolutely terrified of spiders so if I look at my cake picture too long, it makes me cringe. Eek. I debated if I should even bring this up.
1. If I don't bring it up, maybe no one will notice, because if I do, everyone is going to see the tarantula cake and not "unsee" it ever again.
2. If I do bring it up, maybe I should say it was intentional, ya know, with Halloween being a few days away and all... um... yeeeeah... look everyone... I made a spider cake for Halloween. *nervous laughter*
Happy Halloween everyone! :)
The Allowed Modifications:
- We could substitute another flavor for the orange that compliments the other components but the cake must be kept light colored so no espresso, etc.
- The recipe can be halved. The chocolate glaze can also be scaled. The size and presentation can be modifed. The cake can be baked in any type of pan.
- Substitutions for dietary restrictions like gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan etc. are also allowed.
- But we could not add additional thickeners to the custard or substitute butter for the oil.
- I made 2/3 the custard and 2/3 of the cake since the recipe was easier to scale in thirds. The original recipe quantities can be found on Mary's blog or here. Next time, since I loved it so much, especially the cake, I will make the full recipe.
Bostini Cream Pie
(from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala's Bistro)
1/2 C whole milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch (rounded up)
2/3 whole egg (this was a tough one so you can just add the whole egg)
6 egg yolks
2 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Orange Chiffon Cake
1 C cake flour
1/2 C superfine sugar (run regular granulated sugar in the food processor for 10 seconds)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C egg yolks (about 2 - 3)
1/2 C fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
2/3 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C egg whites (about 5 - 6)
2/3 tsp cream of tartar
4 oz. semi or bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. unsalted butter (1 stick)
Prepare the custard:
First whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the whole milk (this is to prevent clumps). Once the cornstarch is completely whisked in, add the rest of the whole milk and whisk to combine. Then add the egg and yolks and whisk until smooth.
Note: If you are using a vanilla bean, add it in with the cream as it heats so it can steep. If you are using vanilla extract, add it in at the very end because the heat will cook away the flavor.
Combine the cream, vanilla bean, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. As soon as the mixture bubbles remove from heat and whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture at a time. When about half of the cream has been whisked into the egg yolk mixture, whisk the egg yolk and cream mixture to the remaining cream in the saucepan. Cook over medium low to medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve and pour into your serving bowls. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and chill.
Prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray your baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. I used a muffin tin and mini bundt pans.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla and whisk until combined. Keep these separate for now.
Beat the egg whites until frothy then sift in your cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks. If the egg whites look like marshmallow cream and cannot hold a peak, beat them a little longer.
After you have finished whipping the egg whites, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix the batter until it is almost smooth. Then fold about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Continue to fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter. (You will finish mixing the batter as you fold in the egg whites). Fill your baking pan, molds, or whatever you are using to the top.
Bake about 25 minutes or until the cake springs back when it is pressed lightly. It will take longer for a cake pan but a little shorter for a muffin pan.
Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. The cake will deflate a little. When cool, remove the cakes from the mold.
Prepare the glaze:
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has completely melted and is beginning to bubble, remove from the heat and add in the chocolate. Stir to completely melt the chocolate.
Place a piece of cake on top of each individual serving of custard and cover with chocolate.