I’ve had this blog for almost 3 years and somehow it does not include my Boston Cream Pie. What?!!!
However, it does include the spooktacular Boston “Scream” Pie Halloween rendition.
It’s my MIL’s favorite birthday
pie cake…and also my grandmother’s…and occasionally gets requested by my sister.
I’ve dubbed it THE BIRTHDAY PIE.
I love making birthday cakes. And baking for others in general. It’s such an–often literally–sweet way to show someone you care about them. I am always reminded of this NPR essay from the This I Believe archives (listen to it–it’s good). We relive our past and honor those who came before us when we bake treasured family recipes, and pave the way for the future when we try new recipes–destined to become family favorites and part of new traditions.
It all adds up to a pretty sweet life–especially the eating-cake-for-breakfast part. ;-)
Boston Cream Pie
Part 1: The Cake
I love, love, love this hot-milk sponge cake.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs until light-colored, tripled in volume and the consistency of softly whipped cream. Meanwhile, heat butter and milk in a small saucepan until butter is melted.
In roughly 3 additions, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Reheat the milk mixture until it’s piping hot and fold it in until well combined. Pour into 2 greased 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake should also lightly spring back to the touch when done. Let cool at least slightly before removing from pan.
Part 2: The Filling
Since the pastry cream* needs to be refrigerated, you can make it first if you please–or even the day before.
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
1 1/3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium bowl, beat sugar, flour, cornstarch and eggs on high until thick and pale yellow, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Gradually pour 1/3 of the hot-milk mixture into the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Scrape the egg mixture back into the pan and continue to cook over low to medium heat until the mixture is thickened and begins to bubble–whisking constantly to avoid scorching it. Then, continue to cook for 45 to 60 seconds.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with a piece of wax paper to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool, then refrigerate before using.
*I know it sounds fancy, but it’s really not hard to pull off!
Part 3: The Chocolate Glaze
Here’s the part where I tell you to just throw some chocolate and maybe sugar and a little bit of liquid in a double boiler and see what happens. ;-)
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee, milk or water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter or less, cut into small pieces.
The ingredients listed above appear in the Joy of Cooking’s Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze Recipe–which I always use but almost never follow. The key is to melt the chocolate, add some sugar to make it sweeter if desired (sometimes I start with an unsweetened baker’s bar so the added sugar is a must), add some liquid (usually milk) until it is meltly and smooth. Remove from heat then add as much butter as seems reasonable (almost never more than 1/2 stick) and drizzle the whole thing over the cake, letting it drip down the sides as pictured above. You can’t mess this up.
That’s it! Refrigerate until serving, but let come to room temp for 20 minutes or so to take the chill off. All recipes adapted from The Joy of Cooking.