Friday, August 1, 2014

Ultimate Boston Cream Pie

This is the second to last instalment of my vanilla cake series.  Boston Cream Pie is the first multi-component dessert I learned to make.  My mom had a wooden recipe box with handwritten recipes from my great grandmother.  I was fascinated by her cursive style, and by the prodigious amounts of sugar and butter each recipe called for.  My mom had scribbled reductions in the margins but I always tried to follow the original recipes for maximum effect.  I think I was about 12 years old when I started making Boston Cream Pies for the family.  This recipe has all the classic components but has a little fancier presentation.

- 1 recipe vanilla cake

Cream Filling
- 1/2 cup sugar 
- 1/2 tsp agar powder 
- 2.5 tbsp cornstarch 
- large pinch of turmeric 

- 2 cups plain soy milk
- 1 vanilla bean, slit and scraped 
- 1 tbsp margarine 

1. Whisk together agar, sugar, cornstarch, and turmeric in a saucepan until well blended.  Slowly whisk in soy milk until well bended. Add vanilla bean scrapings and bean pod.
2. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to bubbling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Once bubbling, cook for two mins, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat, remove vanilla bean pod, and add margarine.  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap with holes poked into it.  Refrigerate until completely cold.
4. Whisk the cold pastry cream until smooth before putting it into the cake.

- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 200g bittersweet vegan chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp margarine

1. Heat coconut milk to bubbling in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
2. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and margarine.  Stir until everything is melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool completely.  

I find it easiest to assemble this cake on a cake plate with a lid so that it can easily go in and out of the fridge.
1. Cut each cake in half laterally.  Spread one third of the cooled cream filling in between each of the internal layers (i.e. not on the top).  Cover and place in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up.
2. The next step relies on the ganache being completely cooled down, even a little cold.  Place it in the fridge if necessary.  When cooled, cover the entire cake in a thin layer of ganache, cover, and place back in the fridge.  Some ganache may get spilled on the plate during all this.  No worries, you can clean it up at the end.
3. Add a second think layer to the sides of the cake, and put the rest on the top.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.