21 April 2013

Nigella Challenge: Boston Cream Pie

This cake looks like its going to make you crumble under the pressure of it all. It won't though. So long as you pay attention to what you're doing, and you take your time. This cannot be done as a rush job; its not one of those cakes you whip up when someone's coming for a cuppa in an hour.

It is however the kind of cake you make when you want to impress. It is very grand looking.

Don't stress out, and don't put it in the too-hard basket. Take the challenge, focus, and you'll be well rewarded.

For the cake recipe, see the Victoria Sponge I made previously (click here).

[chocolate ganache icing]
  • 150ml thickened cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped (though I used a half-&-half of milk and dark)
[creme patissiere]
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla pod OR 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
Make the cakes as per Victoria Sponge recipe (see link above). Make the creme patissiere while they bake.

To make, warm the milk and cream in a saucepan and the vanilla pod split length-wise (if using extract, and not the pod, add it later when all ingredients are combined). Bring to the boil then remove and stand 10 minutes to infuse.

In a bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until creamy. Whisk in the flour. If using the vanilla pod scrape out the seeds and add to the milk. Add the milk to the yolks, whisking until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan, add the extract (if using) and whisk over low heat until it becomes a (very) thick custard. Remove from the heat and pour into a wide bowl/glass baking dish, and cover with some wet greaseproof paper (to stop it forming a skin). Nigella says DON'T put it in the fridge or the texture will be ruined. I diligently followed her instructions, so I cannot confirm or deny this. I worship believe Nigella though, so keep it out of the fridge.

When the cakes and the creme patissiere are cool, begin the ganache. 

Warm the ganache ingredients over medium heat. Use a non-stick, heavy bottomed pan (or be very, very careful and stir constantly). Bring it to the boil and then remove from heat. Whisk until smooth and thick. Cool before icing, but not so much that it sets. It need to be runny enough to pour over the cake.

On your serving plate arrange 4 x 8cm strips of baking paper in a square. I didn't understand this when I first saw it, so here's a diagram (blue being the plate, white being the paper):
This stops the icing dripping onto the plate. Clever huh?

Sit the first cake on the plate and top with creme patissiere. Top with second cake. Dollop spoonfuls of icing on top and letting it spread and run down the sides. 

When it's all cool and set, remove the paper, and serve.