After the success of my first Daring Bakers* challenge last month, I was looking forward to this month's recipe: Bostini cream pie. Not being familiar with either Boston cream pies or the Bostini version, I'm grateful to definitions from this month's host Mary (from Alpineberry): a traditional Boston cream pie is a vanilla layer cake filled with cream and topped with chocolate glaze, while the Bostini is a vanilla bean pastry cream topped with an orange chiffon cake and drizzled with a rich chocolate glaze.
My biggest challenge this month was the conversion of the American recipe into Australian measurements and then, as it was such a large recipe (nine egg yolks for the custard alone!), to somehow scale down these measurements (what's 1/3 of 1/2 cup?)
I found a convenient conversion chart on the Internet and discovered that 3/4 of a US cup is 2/3 cup + 1 dessertspoon in Australian measurements. I converted/estimated all measurements as best I could and they obviously worked, as this recipe was a great success.
The custard was rich and creamy and very moreish. Other DBs have noted that the custard was quite runny and more like a pastry cream, but I found that my custard set nicely and was quite firm, similar to the custard in a trifle (it oozed a little bit when I turned it out onto a plate, but it managed to stay in a mound, rather than running all over the plate). I would normally make a custard with eggs and milk, rather than cream, but this was a nice change and the dessert certainly benefited from having such a rich custard.
The next step was the chiffon cake. A chiffon cake is a light cake made with vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, flour and flavourings. As it doesn't use butter, the texture of the cake is derived from beaten egg whites (similar to an angel cake). The lack of butter in the cake means that the flavour is light and delicate and makes it perfect for partnering with custards, pastry creams and sauces. Other DBs had warned that the recipe made a huge cake, so I made a half-quantity (and had plenty left over). The recipe called for cake flour, which is not available in Australia, but Bill Granger came to the rescue, noting on the Sydney Morning Herald website that 1 cup of cake flour equals 3/4 cup of plain flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornflour. The cake was extremely easy to mix up. I chose to make it in a large cake pan and cut out pieces for the dessert, rather than baking it in individual pans.
So, to the final result! I served this dessert in two different ways. On the first night, we had the Bostini cream pie in fancy little glass dishes, filled with custard, topped with circles of cake and drizzled with the chocolate glaze (the easiest part to make, as the glaze is equal parts of chocolate and butter melted together). On the second night, I scooped out the custard (which I had set in little espresso cups) onto a plate, topped the custard mound with chiffon cake and then drizzled over more glaze. Either way of serving it worked well.
The Bostini cream pie was a taste sensation! As I was making the individual parts, I thought it would be a nice dessert but nothing special. One mouthful though and both Adam and I were in raptures! The chiffon cake was dense but airy and was a perfect foil to the sweet custard, with the chocolate glaze soaking in to the cake and adding extra flavour. I was thrilled with the final result and would definitely make this dessert again. The individual parts of the dessert are easy to make and not very time-consuming and the final result is so impressive that people think the dessert is more difficult to make than it is.
Thanks to Mary for hosting this event and for choosing such a wonderful dessert to make. The recipe is available on Mary's site, Alpineberry. Several points to note: as I mentioned, I converted all measurements to Australian measurements. Cake flour is made with plain flour and cornflour, and the American cornstarch is cornflour in Australia.
I'm eagerly looking forward to the next challenge!
* The Daring Bakers are a group of foodbloggers who, once a month, receive a recipe chosen by that month's host, make the recipe without modifications (unless allowed by the host), and then blog about the experience on the same day.