Monday, October 29, 2007

Bostini Cream Pies

This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge was a dessert I'd never heard of before: Bostini Cream Pies. Our host, Mary from Alpineberry, explained, "Bostini cream pie, like the name implies, is a twist on the traditional Boston cream pie. The dessert is vanilla custard topped with an orange chiffon cake and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze."

I think of it as a "special occasion" dessert -- rather involved, very decadent, extremely impressive and, naturally, delicious. The custard is unbelievably creamy with a luxuriously silky mouth-feel. The chiffon cake is bright and zesty with orange and while light and airy, it provides an excellent counter note to the custard and darkly rich chocolate sauce.

The recipe below yields "8 generous portions" but, because we threw a Halloween Dessert party this past weekend (more on that later) I wanted smaller individual portions as part of a dessert buffet. To that end, using the same proportions below, I baked the chiffon batter in a mini cupcake pan (this took about 12 minutes to bake), and put the rest of the batter in a 9-inch cake pan, baked for about 22 minutes, and then sliced into small square pieces of cake after the cake had cooled. (If I had to do it again, I would bake the chiffon only in the cake pan; I think the slightly larger size of my cake pieces stood up better against the custard and chocolate.)

Because this dessert is so rich, I think it lends itself to smaller portions. That way, you can savor each of the decadent components yet not be overwhelmed by size of the dessert.

Incidentally, I made the custard on Wednesday evening, the cakes Friday afternoon, and the chocolate sauce minutes before the party started Saturday afternoon. Everything came together beautifully.

Food at a Halloween party has to have an appropriate name...

Bostini Cream Pie
(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

Chiffon Cake

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

Chocolate Glaze

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.

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. Serve immediately.


glamah16 said...

What a great idea for a Halloween party.

Deborah said...

I love your presentation!! Great job!

Brilynn said...

I think your smaller versions were definitely the way to go! Well done!

Shayne said...

I agree smaller portions are called for with this recipe.

What a great dessert for such an event

BC said...

They look fantastic and I completely suppoet the smaller serving size.

Anita said...

Love the shot of a sea of bostini - and your name for them is perfect!!!

Anonymous said...

Your chocolate topping came out gorgeous! Great job :)

Megan said...

Great Idea. There was enough to feed a party.. Loved the name.

Andrea said...

Great presentation. And I agree, this is definitely one of those special occasion desserts!

Unknown said...

What a great name!!! I love the mini presentation.

Unknown said...

so cute, love the name you gave the halloween treat, looks yummy

Judy said...

Wow! My first thought was 'look at that sea of Bostinis'! They look delicious -- I hope your guests enjoyed them.

Elle said...

Love that name and the elegant way the bostinis looked in those stemmed 'glasses' at the party. I agree that with something this rich, a small portion is plenty, but delicious. Great post!

slush said...

A sea of little bostinis, very cool! Beautifully done!

Chris said...

I like what you did here....looks so inviting! Great job!

eatme_delicious said...

Cute name for the bostini cream pies. :) I want to come to your dessert buffet! I think the recipe made an extremely generous 8 servings as I served it to about 15 people (small servings mind you) and had at least 5 servings left.

breadchick said...

I love all the champagne glass presentation Laura Rebecca!! Great job on the challenge this week and as usual a blast to bake with you sweets!!

Anh said...

Laura, I agree with you that this is great for dinner party! Serving in small size like you is the right thing to do!!!

Anne said...

they look so elegant and tempting! well done :)

April said...

I love all of the mini's that your created with this!

Lis said...

HAR! I love how you named them. :D

They are just gorgeous! I'm so glad you got to share so many of them! =)

A beautiful job - as always =)


Jen Yu said...

I love how you named the bostinis! That party sounds delicious - er, I mean fun ;) And those smaller portions are really spot on!

jen at use real butter

Christine said...

Great idea to serve these for a party!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your pies look very dainty! Well done!



Alpineberry Mary said...

Your mini Bostinis are lined up so neatly, just waiting to be devoured! Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

I would like to swim in the sea of those beautiful bostinis! Great job, Laura Rebecca!

kitten said...

great job ! this is an excellent recipe for a halloween party - or any party for that matter !

Helene said...

Great dessert for a dinner party! I had enough for 16 good sized desserts, especially after a heavy meal. Loved your new name for it! Great job!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You sure got that right on the portion size; generous was an understatement! Beautiful bostini.
You really put on a great party!

Julius said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog and the kind words you left on my first challenge.

I love your bostini. What a great name as well: Bostini massacre!

Julius, The Occasional Baker

marias23 said...

Wonderful presentation! J'adore!

Kelly-Jane said...

Lovely presentation in your glasses, and great job on the Bostinis!

Peabody said...

Nice touch using the lovely glasses.

Julie said...

They're so beautifull served! I'm glad to know the custard held up after being prepared that many days in advance. I'll remember it for next time! Well done!

Inne said...

They look stunning and absolutely perfect for halloween!

Dolores said...

I love your Bostini Massacre Cream Pies... what a great idea for a Halloween party. And thanks for the inspiration... John and I have our annual open house two weeks from today, and I now see Bostini Martini (in plastic martini glasses) as a part of my dessert buffet!

Jenny said...

Very nice! I bet your guests were pleasantly surprised by this as one of the desserts.

Gabi said...

Love the "Bostini Massacre Cream Pies" They look great en masse!

LizG said...

Beautiful glasses for this presentation. It a feast for the eyes, as I sure it was for the tummy. Well done!