Friday, July 21, 2017

Boston Cream Pie - the rematch (Part Two)

(If you missed part one, please see last week's post, because I'm not re-posting the recipe for the sponge cake this week.)

Since we dealt with the cake portion of the Boston Cream Pie last week, that means that this week we'll be talking about the pastry cream and the chocolate glaze.

I'm going to come right out and say it: the cream was so much better than the last recipe I tried. This one really had the correct feel to it - luscious, decadent, creamy. (I can't say "smooth" because... well... you'll see.) The glaze... hmm... I kind of think that it's a bit of a toss-up between the two, but I get ahead of myself (and we have many photos to get through).

Step one: The pastry cream:

I'm not going to lie - much of this we've done before, so it may seem a bit repetitive.
In case you're wondering, the egg whites went into the fridge with a label listing the date and how many egg whites were in it. (They eventually became thickener in some fried rice.)
I also feel the need to admit that I crack my eggs directly into whatever I'm using, even when I'm separating them. I know a bunch of people who would get upset with me if they were around while I'm doing it (including my junior high Home Ec teacher), but since we don't have a dishwasher I have no patience for the extra thirty-two bowls that you have to wash after that. 

A little whisking, and that bit of modern art became a cohesive liquid in the pan.

Even better, it gradually thickened, until whisking it left lines in the mixture. 

A bit more whisking and the addition of the cornstarch, and we had frothing, which looked a bit odd. 

The recipe says to sift the cornstarch. In retrospect, that probably would have been a good idea, but instead I just whisked a bunch more.
We then moved on to pouring in the milk. Which, as we all know, leads to one action shot and a lot of very similar "this is what heating milk looks like" photos:
The action shot.
Heating milk #1
Heating milk #2
I will say, though, that the milk mixture did eventually thicken quite nicely. The recipe says you're supposed to continue with this until the cornstarch "loses all trace of raw starch flavor." I have no idea what that means, though (what, exactly, does "raw starch" taste like?), so I just went for the "thick pudding" consistency.

Adding in the rum, vanilla and (optional??) butter looked a bit unappetizing, but it looked fine once it got fully mixed in.
It's not just me, right? That looks really unpleasant.
And, there we go! Pastry cream that was all ready to go into a bowl with plastic pushed down over it and then into the fridge until we were ready for it.
Why the plastic over the top? To keep it from forming a really nasty film on the top that can really ruin the "mouth feel" of pastry cream - or pudding.
Step two: The chocolate glaze:
Does anyone have any tricks for getting the last of the corn syrup out of the bottle? Mine truly sits upside down in the cupboard when it gets low, so that I can more easily empty it. It usually doesn't leak all over the shelf...
As you might have noticed, there aren't many ingredients to this. And, thankfully, there also aren't many steps.
Random comparison of 8oz (by weight) of chocolate chips and 8oz (by volume) of cream.
 Hold onto your hats! More cooking-milk photos!

Okay. I know I mock my own photos of pans filled with white liquids not doing anything, but between the cream and the corn syrup this did thicken pretty niftily - and even enough to show in the next photo:

Chocolate chips (because I'm too lazy/cheap to go out and buy a massive hunk of semisweet chocolate and chop it into small pieces) go in, and then the melty magic begins:

Okay... it may not look all that pleasant in the middle of melting, but it smelled great.
 And it gradually became this:
Yes, you can still see lumps in that, because the chocolate chips hadn't melted down all the way. When you come right down to it, the high wax content in them probably wasn't the best - and I probably should have gone for the block o' chocolate, after all.
Exciting photo of a covered pan filled with chocolaty goodness.
After sitting, covered, for a while, it definitely looked better - smoother - though looks may have been a tad bit deceiving.
And, there we have it! One "foolproof" sponge cake, some pastry cream, and a rich chocolate glaze:
I like to think of the mush/tear in the side of the cake as an homage to Jupiter's Great Red Spot.
In case you haven't guessed, we're now to the point of assembly, which is kind of like making a cake and cream sandwich. 

You spread the pastry cream on the bottom layer...

And then you put the second layer on top, sandwich-style.

But, unlike most sandwiches, this gets covered with chocolate... 

You're supposed to glaze it on a cooling rack, so that the chocolate can drip through and not pool around the edge and make the cake soggy. I didn't want to have to cover my entire counter with waxed paper - and lose all of that chocolate - so I just started with it on the serving plate. 
As you might have guessed... it pooled.
You might have noticed, too, that the chocolate kind of ran off the edges of the cake. That's one of the problems of working with a warm glaze - it's runny. I probably could have waited a bit for it to cool so that I'd have had more control, but was trying to follow the directions, and... there you have it.

After this, you have to let it sit for a while for the glaze to set (otherwise, honestly, it would pour all over the place), and - eventually - you get this:

The pastry cream mooshes out the sides just a bit, since you have to press down to cut through it all. And so you kind of feel like you're getting extra cream - which is not a bad thing.

Oh, and after we cut into it, we covered the cut section with waxed paper so that it wouldn't dry out.

So, how did this one go?

As I mentioned at the start, the pastry cream was much better than the last one. And the glaze was good - though (totally my fault) it had a few chunks in it, and as time passed it got a little gummy and hard to cut through.

If you remember from last week, I had some doubts about when to take the cake out of the oven, and so I left it in a little longer than the recipe called for. This was a bad idea. It turned out a little tough - verging on a tad rubbery. The flavor was great, though.

(Interesting random fact: A friend of one of my sisters recently met Ina Garten. As part of their discussion, Garten was asked if there was one recipe she had never put into a cookbook that she was frustrated by. Her response: Boston Cream Pie. She apparently said that she just hadn't found "the right recipe" yet. So... having only tried two, I feel okay.)

Would I make it again? Maybe. But we have some really good bakeries in the area, so... for my time and effort that might actually be the less-expensive way to go.


If I had gone to the grocery store, I wouldn't have been able to offer you this amazing little slo-mo video. (Cover your keyboard with a towel before watching - it's pretty drool-worthy.)

So what do you want to see me make a studied mess of on my blog? Let me know!

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