Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Daring Bakers: Bostini Cream Pie

My freshman effort for The Daring Bakers a came in the midst of one of the most hectic time periods in recent memory for me. In the past six weeks, both computers blew up, the printer won't work, our furnace wouldn't turn on because the thermostat failed, our water heater wouldn't heat water, we are having electrical problems, and a faucet less than a year old had to be replaced. And these are just some of the things that have gone wrong. My computer still won't read some CDs, or download software properly. I apologize for the poor photography; never great to begin with, I don't have the use of software to clean it up a bit.
In the midst of this insanity, I dove into my first effort for the Daring Bakers: Bostini Cream Pie (not a typo). Mary, from Alpineberry chose this dessert for the month of October (follow the link to her site for the original recipe). One of the neat things about the Daring Bakers is that people pick things that I might never try on my own, and this recipe is an example. An incredibly rich pastry cream or custard, topped with a light and airy orange-scented chiffon cake, drizzled with semisweet chocolate at the end. I would describe this dessert as a symphony: each element, while tasty by itself, is elevated to new heights in combination with other parts of the dessert. Actually, pastry cream doesn't need any help. Ever. I had to stop myself from eating it by the spoonful!
I tweaked the recipe a bit by halving it, more or less, and it turned out just fine. There's just so much cream custard and chocolate that I consider safe to have around the house. I also baked the cake in a jellyroll pan, and used a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds for the dessert.
Check out the Daring Bakers' Blogroll for all the masterpieces!
Bostini Cream Pies
(from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala’s Bistro)
To prepare the custard
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 egg yolks
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 of a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
5 oz. sugar

Mix together the milk and cornstarch in a bowl until smooth, then add to the eggs and mix well.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds, and sugar on medium heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove from the heat.
Temper the eggs by adding the hot cream mixture gradually, a little at a time, to the egg mixture while whisking all the time. When the egg mixture is warm, add it to the cream in the saucepan and return the pot to a medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens so that it coats the back of a spoon. For me, this happened within seconds, so watch it like a hawk.
Remove the custard from the heat and pour through a sieve and into a bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent the formation of a "skin," and refrigerate for several hours.
To prepare the chiffon cake
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and line a half sheet (jellyroll) pan with parchment, and then grease the parchment. Don't skip the greasing of the parchment - you want to be able to actually remove the parchment from your cake!

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not over mix.

Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. I recommend taking a third of the egg whites and mixing them rather vigorously into the batter, then gently folding in the remaining whites.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back lightly after being pressed with your finger. It will be a soft golden color.

Let cool on a wire rack before unmolding. Gently turn the cake over onto a cutting board or another piece of parchment or wax paper, and carefully peel off the parchment. Cut the cake as desired (I used round biscuit cutters).

To prepare the chocolate glaze
You can make as much or as little of this as you like, as there are only two ingredients and they are in a one-to-one ratio. While you can prepare the other parts of the cake, prepare the glaze right before serving.
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsalted butter

In a small pan or the microwave (if you use the latter, err on the side of caution and don't burn your chocolate!), melt the butter and chocolate. Strain through a sieve if needed (I didn't need to).
To plate
Place the custard on the bottom, top with the sponge cake, and drizzle or drown the cake with the chocolate glaze. Enjoy!



Blogger marias23 said...

Hey Ma'am Chow! Congratulations on completing your first DB challenge! Great job and your description of the pastry cream is making me wish that I didn't have to miss out on this month's fun...:)

October 31, 2007 10:18 PM  
Blogger Lis said...

OMG you poor woman! I am so sorry to hear about what's been going on.. ugh! Well I'm glad that you at least got the PC working. I'd go insane without mine.

Your photo is lovely and the bostini is absolutely gorgeous! A job well done.. especially though all of that - a true daring baker spirit! =)


October 31, 2007 11:23 PM  
Blogger Madam Chow said...

Thank you, Marias23 and Lis. At least we have hot water again. Oh, and heat. And a bathroom faucet that works. At least, in the midst of all this, we are certainly well fed!

November 01, 2007 8:54 AM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Great job on your first challenge!! Especially when everything else is happening!

November 01, 2007 10:45 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Ack, your poor house and computer systems. Poor YOU! But all that's over, you completed your challenge, and it looks tasty! Congratulations on your first challenge!

November 01, 2007 3:33 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Holy Cow! I so felt your stress as I read....I am so sorry!!!

Loving' the Bostini! Well done on your first challenge!!

November 01, 2007 9:49 PM  
Blogger Inne said...

very impressive you still got to make and post about this, even with all your technical problems around the house! You're a very dedicated daring baker.

November 02, 2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Lydia Hamre said...

The cake looks delicious, especially placed on that gorgeous Blue Willow!


Lydia H.

November 03, 2007 1:17 PM  
Blogger Quellia said...

Wow with all that going on you still managed to make the challenge! That is what I would call Daring!

November 04, 2007 9:32 PM  
Blogger rowena said... when I read food posts, I'm always wondering if there is the possibility of more than one flag waving over the dish. I applaud your efforts for participating in DB, what with all of the mishaps occurring in the past 1 1/2 months! I am still crossing my fingers on our ISP or whatever hasn't been smooth sailing at all!

Thanks for your input on Dear Abby. Indeed, humor, (or at least silent snickering behind a smile) is the best way to go.

November 05, 2007 5:59 AM  
Blogger Madam Chow said...

Thanks for all the posts and words of encouragement! I really appreciate it!

November 05, 2007 8:50 AM  
Blogger Dolores said...

A symphony... what a perfect description of this luscious dessert.

Congratulations on your first challenge, and welcome to the Daring Bakers. Hoping that October's insanity is behind you now, and that your home is treating you a bit more kindly as we close in on the holidays.

November 05, 2007 2:35 PM  
Blogger Gabi said...

Congratulations on your first DB challenge. Sorry it's taken me so long to get round. But like you described in your post- life is what happens whilst you're making other plans... :)
hope things are going better for you and your Bostini is beautiful without a makeover.

November 05, 2007 5:01 PM  
Blogger Peabody said...

Oh my! Good for you for getting the challenge done with all the other things going on.

November 07, 2007 5:41 PM  
Blogger s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

November 28, 2007 7:17 AM  

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