Monday, November 5, 2007

Bostini Cream Pie - Daring Bakers Challenge

A few months ago, I ran across a blog that is a member of The Foodie Blogroll: The Daring Bakers. Their premise is simple and fun: each month, one member shares a recipe for a baked good and all the other members make it exactly as written (substitutions are only allowed for dietary reasons and for certain flavorings, and the recipe can be scaled down) and then everyone posts their results on their blog on the same day at the end of the month. It was interesting to see how one recipe produced such different results, and, since I bake so much, I thought I’d join.

I signed on a little too late to take part in their September challenge, so I sat back and watched until October rolled around. October’s challenge was for a spin on a traditional Boston Cream Pie: an individual Bostini Cream Pie – a vanilla custard base topped with chiffon cake and a chocolate glaze – for which the recipe came from a restaurant in San Francisco.

I’m an experienced baker, so I found this recipe to be a breeze. The chiffon cakes turned out light and had just the right amount of raspberry flavor, the custard was simple but nicely vanilla-y, and the chocolate glaze was, well, just chocolate and butter. I wasn’t blown away by this dessert (although the bf loved it), but it certainly is one whose sum is greater than the total of its parts (and by the way I think that’s a really stupid expression so I don’t even know why I used it). I might consider making this again if I find myself at a loss of what to make if I need to make an individual plated dessert, or if I get a request for it.

The first set of ingredients is from the original recipe; the second set is my version, in which I scaled down the volume (I made 1/3 of the original amount) and changed the flavoring of the cake (I hate the combination of orange and chocolate, so I changed the orange flavor to, of course, raspberry). The directions are the same for both, although I suggest making the cakes first if you only have one set of custard cups.
Bostini Cream Pie
Recipe from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni
in Napa Valley
and Scala's Bistro in San Francisco
Makes 8 very generous servings
For the custard:
¾ cup whole milk
2 ¾ tablespoons cornstarch
1 whole egg, beaten
9 egg yolks, beaten
3 ¾ cups heavy cream
½ vanilla bean
½ cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
For the chiffon cake:
1 ½ cups cake flour
¾ cups superfine sugar
1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks), beaten
¾ cup orange juice
1 ½ tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large whites)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the chocolate glaze:
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter

My adaptation- makes 4 regular servings
For the custard:
¼ cup whole milk
1 scant tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons beaten egg (about 1/3 egg)
3 egg yolks
1-¼ cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
For the chiffon cake:
½ cup cake flour
¼ cup superfine sugar
Scant ½ teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons canola oil
1 egg yolk
Dash of vanilla extract
¼ cup raspberry puree*
3 egg whites
1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar

*For the raspberry puree:
12 raspberries
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon sugar

For the chocolate glaze:
2 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces unsalted butter
For garnish:
8-12 fresh raspberries
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 4 large custard cups or a similar shaped serving bowl (a martini glass would work well). Refrigerate to chill.
Raspberry puree:
Puree the raspberries, water, and sugar - you should have a thin puree. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the seeds.

Chiffon cakes:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 4 custard cups or large muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, raspberry puree, 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 batter. Distribute the batter evenly between the custard cups/muffin tins.
Bake for 22-25 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.

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.
To assemble:

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. Top each serving with a few fresh berries. Serve immediately.


s.j.simon said...

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

M^2 said...

I wish I could eat this everyday.

Dolores said...

I love your raspberry Bostini. Congratulations and welcome!

Peabody said...

Lovely job on your bostini.

Meghan said...

this looks fantastic!

s.j.simon said...

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

M^2 said...

I wish I could eat this everyday.

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