Ever since the announcement that my sister would be leaving California to start her new life in Maryland, I've been trying more and more to become more courageous; in my own little ways, I believe that I am succeeding. I started a 365 project two days before she left, and I did so for 2 reasons. One being that Alex recently lost his camera in an accident, and I realized that I haven't taken half the pictures I've wanted to. Accidents happen everyday, to people and to objects. The second, is that I wanted to how I would grow as a person, while the person who has been my role model since birth is gone. Learning to live without things you've grown accustomed to having can be a struggle, and it can make you regret all the times you have taken times for granted. I know I will always have my sister, even if she is on the other side of the country; but just knowing that, even if wanted to, I wouldn't be able to see her on a whim.
Although I haven't been posting much lately in my desserts section, my photography section is growing every single day. My 365 project requires me to take at least one picture meaningful to my day in some way and edit it. Starting this project also encourages me to get out and try new things, whether it be something like skydiving, or something as simple as a new lighting technique. Even small things can be daunting when you know the potential consequences.
Today's recipe is dedicated to my one and only sister. She hates Boston - all of their weird messed up intersection systems, and all of the damn traffic. And I used to be scared of making Boston Cream Pie - what if the custard turned into some funky scrambled eggs? My goal with this was to turn up with something Boston that we both could enjoy. I only wish she was here to actually taste it.
In regards to this pie, I thought it was fantastic. The spongecake was delicious, the custard was to die for, but my only complaint is that I thought the chocolate overpowered the whole thing. Maybe its a Boston thing, but in my personal opinion, this would be much better with, at most, half of the glaze that the recipe calls for. I honestly didn't care for the chocolate much and would have preferred it without any at all, or maybe even just a slight drizzle for aesthetic purposes. To each their own, but you have been warned.
adapted from Baking Illustrated
For the Pastry Cream:
2 cups half-and-half
6 Tbsp. sugar
5 Large egg yolks
3 tbs cornstarch
2 Tbsp. Sugar
4 tbs (1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 1/2 teas vanilla extract
For the Foolproof Sponge Cake:
3/4 cup minus 1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 teas baking powder
3 tbs milk
2 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 teas vanilla extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature (separate 3 of them while still cold)
12 Tbsp. granulated sugar
For the Glaze:
8 oz. Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
Heat the half-and-half, 6 tbs of the sugar, and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the remaining 2 tbs sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk the simmering half-and-half into yolk mixture to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream though a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerated until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans and cover the pan bottom with rounds of parchment paper or waxed paper. Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl (or sift onto wax paper). Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla; cover and keep warm.
Separate 3 of the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, reserving the 3 yolks plus the remaining 2 while eggs in another mixing bowl. Whip the 3 whites at low speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium and gradually add 6 tbs of the sugar; continue to beat the whites to soft, moist peaks. (Do not overbeat.) Transfer the egg whites to a large bowl and add the whole-egg mixture to the mixer bowl.
Whip the whole-egg mixture with the remaining 6 tbs sugar. Whip at medium-high speed until the eggs are very thick and a pale yellow color, about 5 minutes. Add the whites to the beaten eggs.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the beaten egg and whites; fold very gently with a large rubber spatula until incoporated. Make a well in one side of the batter and pour the milk mixture into the bowl.Continue folding until the batter shows no trace of flour and the whites and whole eggs are evenly mixed.
Immediately pour the batter into the prepared cake pans; bake until the cake tops are light brown and feel firm and spring back when touched, about 18 minutes for 9-inch cake pans and 20 minutes for 8-inch cake pans.
Immediately run a knife around the pan perimeters to loosen the cakes. Place a paper towel on top of the pan and invert cake. Repeat with the remaining cake. Cool the cake layers to room temperature before proceeding with Boston Cream Pie.
Place chocolate chips and espresso powder into a medium sized bowl. Bring the cream full simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and add to the chocolate; let stand for 8 minutes. (If the chocolate has not completely melted, return the saucepan to low heat; stir constantly until melted.) Add the vanilla; stir very gently until the mixture is smooth. Cool until tepid so that a spoonful drizzled back into the pan mounds slightly. (The glaze can be refrigerated to speed up the cooling process, stirring every few minutes to ensure even cooling.)
To Assemble the Boston Cream Pie:
While the glaze is cooling, place one cake layer on a cardboard round on a wire rack set over waxed paper. Carefully spoon the pastry cream onto the cake and spread it evenly up to the edges. Place the second cake layer on top, making sure the layers line up properly.
Pour the glaze onto the middle of the top layer and let it flow down the cake sides. Use a metal spatula, if necessary, to completely coat the cake. Use a small needle to puncture any air bubbles. Let the cake sit until the glaze fully sets, about 1 hour. Serve the same day, preferably within a couple of hours.