Having successfully completed my first Daring Bakers challenge in September, I was eagerly awaiting my next; however, when the new challenge was announced for October, I was afraid… very afraid. Custard. The dreaded custard. I fear baked goods with eggs and have never attempted anything like a custard or pastry cream because I always feared that I would end up with either raw eggs or scrambled eggs. However, after procrastinating for nearly the entire month I finally faced my fear because, well, that’s what being a Daring Baker is all about, isn’t it?
A little background… this month’s challenge, Bostini Cream Pies, was chosen by Mary at Alpineberry. Bostini Cream Pie, like the name implies, is a twist on the traditional Boston cream pie. This dessert is vanilla custard topped with an orange chiffon cake and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze. The recipe that was used was heralded as the Top Recipe of 1996 by the San Francisco Chronicle, and was a creation of Donna Scala and Kurtis L. Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni.
And now, my experience. Let me start by saying that I cut this recipe into 1/3 for the cake and custard, and 1/2 for the chocolate. There was still a ton of custard and cake, as this recipe makes quite a bit! As I mentioned, I was terrified of the custard. I finally threw caution to the wind and dove right in. Since I didn’t end up with scrambled eggs and the custard didn’t TASTE like eggs, I deem my first try as a success! The mixture thickened very quickly and so I feared that perhaps the eggs would not have been cooked thoroughly, however my fellow Daring Bakers calmed my fears and I set the custard in the fridge to chill. A quick taste later revealed a thick, smooth and vanilla-flavored custard. Ahhh, no more egg fears!
The cake… I had never made a chiffon cake before, although I have made a classic sponge cake and the methods were very similar. I followed the advice of those who had gone before me in this challenge and made sure to be gentle when folding the egg whites and ensure that they were COMPLETELY incorporated into the rest of the batter. Since I scaled down this recipe I made the cake into 8 cupcakes in my muffin tin. They came out perfectly springy, light and airy. Success #2!
We were allowed creativity in the way we plated our Bostini Cream Pies, so I chose to finally put those oversized wine goblets that I got on clearance at Williams Sonoma to good use I layered the custard, then a piece of cake, and topped it with the chocolate sauce. A number of Daring Bakers said that their desserts tasted even better after sitting in the fridge, so I let ours chill all day. When we went to eat them, however, the chocolate had hardened too much and we popped them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. In retrospect, I would serve this dessert with warm chocolate sauce, but it still tasted absolutely fantastic.
I am thrilled to have accomplished my second challenge! Bring on November!
(from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala’s Bistro)
Makes 8 generous servings
3/4 cup whole milk
2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 whole egg, beaten
9 egg yolks, beaten
3 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean (EDITED: vanilla extract is okay)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup beaten egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
8 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter
To prepare the custard:
Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.
To prepare the chiffon cakes:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 8 molds with nonstick cooking spray. You may use 7-ounce custard cups, ovenproof wide mugs or even large foil cups. Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat.
Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter. Fill the sprayed molds nearly to the top with the batter.
Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.
To prepare the glaze:
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.
Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.