24 March 2011

Martha's Boston Cream Pie

My baby brother requested Boston Cream Pie for his birthday this year.  I'd previously made one, but I decided to try a new recipe.  I turned to Martha, thinking she was ever reliable.  The cake was wonderful and the custard was fantastic, however, it never fully thickened.  Maybe I under cooked it? 

Boston Cream Pie
Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

For Hot-Milk Sponge Cake:

unsalted butter for cake pan
1 cup sifted cake flour (not self rising, plus more for pan)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 generous teaspoon vanilla extract

To Make the Cake:

1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9x2 inch round cake pan. Line with parchment (if you're anal), set aside.
2. Sift together the cake flour and the salt. Sift again, two more times; set aside. IN the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, ix the eggs and sugar until well combined. Place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water; whisk until the mixture is warm, about 110 F, and the sugar is dissolved, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat; place bowl on mixer. Whisk the egg mixture on high speed until thickened and pale, about 6 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk and vanilla bean or extract. Place over medium heat until hot, being careful not to let boil. Remove and discard vanilla bean, if using. With egg mixture beating, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream. Turn off mixer. Transfer to a medium bowl; fold in the flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

For the Custard-Cream Filling:
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
6 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To Make the Filling:
1. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture beings to bubble, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap against the filling to prevent a skin from forming; chill in refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

4 ounces excellent quality semisweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup heavy cream
To Make the Glaze and Assemble the Cake:
1. Split the cake into two layers, by slicing through the cake very gently with a long serrated knife. Spread the bottom half with chilled filling. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes. Wrap the remaining half of cake with plastic wrap; set aside.
2. In a medium size heat proof bowl, or top of double boiler, set over a pot of gently simmering water, combine the chocolate and the heavy cream. Stir occasionally until the chocolate melts, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside to cool for 10 minutes. A bit whisking helps chocolate and cream combine more easily.
3. Remove cake from refrigerator; top with the reserved cake layer. Transfer cake to a serving plate; pour the chocolate glaze over the top. Allow to set 20 minutes before serving.