Monday, 29 October 2007

Daring Bakers Bostini Cream Pie: The Pride Cometh Before the Fall

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was to make Bostini Cream Pie (chosen by Mary at Alpineberry), an orangey, chiffony twist on your regular Boston Cream Pie. It involved home-made custard heavily laden with cream, which we in the A&N home don't really eat since dairy like that doesn't make us feel our best. When we were invited to a friend's for Sunday lunch, and that same friend dared me (yes, dared me) to make the dessert for the day, the Bostini Cream Pie seemed the perfect thing to make - I could off-load some of that dairy onto others, and the existence of a baking dare seemed to flow with the spirit of what the Daring Bakers are about.

I was very proud of how I earned my orange zest: the day before making the cake, I had a fresh orange juice from a local cafe and in a flash of inspiration, asked for the rinds as a donation which they were more than happy to give me (the man next to me tried to then haggle some 'disused bacon' for his dog, but he was less successful). In shopping for the rest of the ingredients, Mr. A&N kept acting like a little devil on my shoulder, trying to discourage me from buying the milk and cream and making the custard as I ought to ('Just buy the powdered stuff - you can use soy milk and no one will ever know...'). I knew I could alter the recipe to go non-dairy if I could find a decent substitute, but I couldn't really find any and knew that powdered custard certainly didn't fall into that category. I stood firm, repeating the no-undue-changes-to-the-recipe rule of the group again (and again, and eventually just ignoring Mr. A&N) and finally reminded him that he wasn't obliged to eat the cake.

And so to the cake making. I decided to make one large pie rather than 8 smaller ramekins-full, mostly for ease of traveling but also because I wanted to actually see the layers resting on top of each other rather than have them hidden inside a small dish. I made the cake-part first since I would put the custard to cool in the same tin; I had it all perfectly timed so that I would be bringing the custard to the boil just as the cake came out of the oven.

I was very proud of myself, from the free orange rinds to the precision-timing to the tidy mis en place I set up. The peaking of the eggs for the chiffon went
well, the folding the whites into the batter did too (although folding is always slightly curious to me, as if I'm tricking the batter into thinking I'm not over-mixing it. With each gentle turning over of the spatula, mentally whispering to it 'It's ok, see? I'm not really stirring. There - that was gentle, wasn't it?'). Mr. A&N came into the kitchen at this point to see how I was doing.

"It's pretty easy this month" I said. And then I did the worst possi
ble thing I could do. I laughed in the face of this challenge.
I had become over-confident.
Civilizations have been doomed for smiting the gods in such a wa
y, and like the great societies of old I was about to suffer my fall after all that pride.

The cake went in and around the 20 minute mark I began the custard. I took the cake out at 25 minutes as the recipe called for, and it had risen beautifully
but didn't spring back under my fingers as it ought; it made more of a sighing noise. The top was browning, but I stuck it in for another 10 minutes. I finished the custard, and again took the cake out. Touching it produced still more sighing but also a gentle springing. I was worried about the top getting too brown so I decided it was probably done and let it sit on the side. A few minutes passed and as I went to take the tin away from the cake, I saw that it had fallen and that a crater had grown in the center, revealing a very raw interior.

And it finally made sense: the recipe had called for 8 smaller servings, baked for 25 minutes. I had made one large serving but didn't think of increasing the cooking time.

The cake went back in the oven which by now had been off for 10 minutes. It cooked for another 30 minutes until it really did spring back to the touch. Only now, it wasn't so risen. It was fairly flat, and dense looking. Prying a piece of outer skin off revealed it to be chewy rather than light. From triumph to tragedy in a few easy steps.

The custard tasted fine and I put it into the cake tin (cake now removed) to set. Before leaving for my friend's place, I removed the custard from the fri
dge and set the cake on top. At this point, I discovered the cake had shrunk event further, and that the spring-form cake tin hadn't been entirely even-bottomed when I put it together. The custard hadn't leaked, but it was clear that when the cream pie was placed on a plate, it would be tilting to the side in a Pisa-like fashion.

The list of woes was complete after arriving at my friend's (with sad pie in tow) and in preparing to make the chocolate sauce I discovered that the only butter they had in the house was salted. Cue slightly-salty chocolate sauce, poured on top of the leaning flattened tower of pie.

My Bostini Cream Pie could have been more of a disaster, but only just. True, everyone had a slice, and some of the men went back for seconds. But coming close to producing a good result helped me to see just how much better the pie could have been. I look forward to reading about all the other Daring Bakers and their
successes, and living vicariously through their chatter about how delicious their pies were. Bostini and I clearly aren't meant to be close bed-fellows, but that shouldn't dissuade anyone else from trying it.

Bostini Cream Pie (from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala's Bistro)
(makes 8 generous servings)

Custard (Pastry Cream)

  • 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 (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 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/rapeseed 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 (pastry cream):
  1. Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth.
  2. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth.
  3. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil.
  4. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture.
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.
To prepare the chiffon cakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Spray 8 molds with nonstick cooking spray. You may use 7-ounce custard cups, oven-proof wide mugs or even large foil cups. Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups.
  3. Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  4. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla.
  5. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat.
  6. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
  7. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter.
  8. Fill the sprayed molds nearly to the top with the batter.
  9. Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. (note: If you're making fewer than 8 molds, you will need to increase the cooking time. My one large Bostini took 50-60 minutes to bake)
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  11. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.
To prepare the glaze:
  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble.
  3. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt.
  4. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.
To assemble:
  1. Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface.
  2. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard.
  3. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.


Anh said...

You are a strong woman, and I love it!!!

And your cake turns out so lovely...

Molly Loves Paris said...

I had exactly the same cake cooking results. Luckily I had also made the eight ramekins, but there was plenty of left over batter, so I put it into a 7 inch spring form pan. Since it was a larger unit than the ramekins I knew to cook it longer, but when the top started to looked really brown, and the cake bounced back to the touch, I took it out. At that point I left to go have coffee at Starbucks. I knew that when I returned the top might took crinkly instead of the beautiful smooth surface I had left, but I wasn't prepared for that horrid uncooked center. But I removed it from the pan and placed it on a plate and popped it into the microwave for about 2 minutes. Voila! It was cooked. So when it cools I'm going to fill that hole with the left-over cream, whipped, and then drizzle the chocolate sauce over it. I was rather surprised that the microwaving seemed to really get the middle cooked.

Sorry you had a dissaster. It will be much better next time.


glamah16 said...

Same thing happened to me. it looks delicious.Godd Job!

Belinda said...

From the photos, you would never guess that you had a cake baking near miss...everything looks great! I tend to get paranoid if everything starts going too smoothly, and wonder WHY something is not going awry! :-)

Elle said...

In true Daring Baker style, you kept on going and produced a dessert that had some going back for more...not a perfect cake, a salty sauce, but a great response to the challenge.Glad you are a Daring Baker...and so funny, too.

Christina said...

Sorry to hear it fell, nevertheless it sounds like it tasted great.

(Side note, I have issues with sinking cakes as well. Anyone who happens to be in the house is put under a severe no stomping rule when I place a cake in the oven!)

kellypea said...

I always read with fascination just how different everyone's results are. I, too, made a large "pie" (in addition to the small ones), but it only baked for 23 minutes. I was shocked it actually worked!

Anne said...

Despite the problems encountered, at least you did the challenge. It still looks decadent to me with all the chocolates. Truly you are a Daring Baker :)

Pille said...

Oh, Annemarie, sorry the cake didn't work out for you the way you hoped. Better luck next time!
PS It was a wee bit too cream-heavy even for people who do agree with dairy:)

Baking Soda said...

So Daring to ask for free rinds! Did they ask you why? I wish I was with the free bacon man, I would have rolled under the table, laughing! So sorry it didn't turn out for you after all the trouble you went through! Kudos!

Anne said...

Aw, I'm sorry to hear it didn't go so great. At least it was a nice read! And I'm glad it tasted good! Hey, I actually used salted butter too - but I was very happy about that :) Good job on the free oranges too - very thrifty! :)

Ilva said...

Never laugh a challenge in the face, so true! It still looks good to me and it most probably tasted good too if people took second helpings.

Julie said...

I want to hang your orange rind/egg shells photo on my wall!

Kudos for the orange rinds and finding a dinner party to bring this to! And I know what you mean about getting arrogant in the kitchen. I've nearly started fires because of my arrogance!

Lis said...

Awww Annemarie.. I so feel your pain. I went through that with my first attempt at the crepe cake - had people coming to my house JUST for dessert.. and I ended up having nothing for them as I had a lovely disaster on my hands.

Well the good news is.. November's challenge is almost here!? ;)


marye said...

the photos look was great that you finishes the challenge!

Sheltie Girl said...

I'm sorry for your baking challenges, but it the guys hadn't gone back for seconds maybe it tasted pretty good.

Hopefully next month's challenge will go better for you.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Brilynn said...

I'm always bad at adjusting cooking times when I change the shape or size of the baking dish.
I know it wasn't what you had hoped for, but at least the others liked it! Good work on completing the challenge as written!

slush said...

I love that you haggled for orange rinds! ha!

My cake did the same thing. I took it out when I thought it was springing back, but it deflated once out. It still tasted good, but Im not sure the texture was proper.

Great job! And I love the pics!

Adrion said...

Sorry it didn't work out this month. But, I have to say that was a fantastic read.

Courtney said...

look the pictures, i have plenty of baking disasters, but you kept going and it looks good

megan said...

You had me laughing all the way through your post. You have a great way with words! Did hubby eat any?

Shandy said...

Aaahhhh! You tried so hard but the great part is that the cake was not a failure, just a little side road detour. The dessert still was a success and your pictures are absolutely beautiful. Your so cute with your defying the Gods by being overly confident! You still defied and my Grandma always says that if something didn't turn out the way the recipe says, you just tell people this is your twist on it because you are being artistic =D
Shandy (Pastry Heaven)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Great post! Love the haggling for oranges. Salty chocolate sauce doesn't sound great but if some went back for more then it was obviously okay. Looked great anyhow.

Katie said...

I bet it still tasted delicious.

marias23 said...

It sure doesn't look like a disaster though! I love your close-ups. J'adore!

Chris said...

Cakes are far too difficult for mere mortals like me to attempt. I hate anything I can't test halfway through to see if it's cooking properly - so I just stick to savouries! Well done though.

Jen Yu said...

I have experienced goofs like this before when baking other desserts. I understand your frustration, but I am proud of you for persevering and for posting on it! Honestly, it looks great and I'm sure it tasted terrific seeing as the fellows went back for seconds. Cheers to you and your efforts - you are a better baker for it!

jen at use real butter

Brittany said...

Aw Annemarie- I'm sorry about the bumps in the road! It was a great post though- I love how you baby-talk your chiffon cake! Too funny!

Rose said...

- I sometime have the same problem: I want the serving to be different but forget about the cooking time. WHhat an adventure you have from the cooking time to the salted butter but isn't nice when it is all made with love (and frustration along the way) for your friends. Lovely! and you must enjoyed it even better with the free orange rinds. Way to go!

Julius said...

You have a very good looking blog and I enjoy reading your posts!

Love what you've done to the bostini. Looking at the photos, I wouldn't have thought there was any disaster in the process of making it.

Please feel free to check out my bostini here.


April said...

It looks wonderful!

BC said...

Great resourcefulness with the rinds. I think the quote "Don't worry about falling on your face, it means you're moving forward..." is really appropriate for some of our snafus.

Laura said...

Your daringness triumphed in the end and as I've heard it said many times today chocolate glaze hides a multitude of sins!

Simona said...

I would not call it a disaster: it's a learning experience, just like my curdled custard. The way I look at this, that's why we are Daring Bakers.

Ivonne said...

You should be proud of yourself. Great idea with the orange rinds!

Claire said...

I love your picture of the egg shells and creative.

eatme_delicious said...

HAHA oh I really love how you described folding the whites into the batter. I used salted butter for the chocolate sauce and didn't notice it to be salty, but then maybe I'm just used to using salted butter. Sorry your cake didn't turn out so well, but I did enjoy reading your post about the adventure!

Dolores said...

I love reading the stories behind the challenges each month -- especially those where the end result isn't perfect or it's clear the author learned something valuable in the process -- and I learn vicariously. Thanks for sharing your Bostini saga.

Truffle said...

I'm sure it would be perfect if you're up for a second attempt. I loved the way you wrote about it.

Valli said...

I'm so glad you persevered. That is the true sign of all you lovely ladies of the Daring Bakers. The guys went back for seconds so it couldn't have been all that bad!!!

Susan said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has these kinds of "learning experiences." Looks like you salvaged it beautifully, though.

linda said...

Good looking Bostini! I also love your picture with the egg shells and orange...

Deborah said...

I often forget to adjust the cooking time when I increase or decrease a recipe, so I know your pain!! It sounds like it was still a success, though!!

sagari said...


breadchick said...

Oh I'm so sorry you had such a hard time with this one! But good for you for powering through and completing the challenge! Good job on the Daring Baker Spirit!!!

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone! I love that being a Daring Baker isn't about being perfect, but trying your best and learning from our experiences!

Kelly-Jane said...

Well you didn't give up, and your pie looks lovely in the end =)

african vanielje said...

You tried therefore you conquered. Well done

Quellia said...

Oh well, not every recipe that we do is one we enjoy. The challenge in those is persisting in the face of frustration and in that you succeeded!
Well done!

Anonymous said...

Cute post. Don't worry about the cakey part, be proud of how daring you were.

Kate said...

aw sorry to hear about your little cake episode,though u cant tell a thing from ur pic.I think its litlle things like these make us better bakes .... we learn from them. Good luck next time.

Kevin said...

I like the photo with the egg shells and orange rinds. I accidentally used buttered salt in the chocolate sauce when I had the second bostini the next day and I kind of liked it.

Dharm said...

Love the post!! I too have had experiences with 'laughing in the face of the Kitchen Gods'. I still never learn though.... :)

The free rind story was great too! The dessert looks just great. Well done!

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

That totally sounds like something I would do. Get confident that all is going well and then boom! none the less, I think you did a beautiful job. The pictures still make me want to grab one!

Anita said...

I'm sorry you had so many woes while making the dessert, but it sounds like you picked up a lot of insights! I always learn best from my missteps! The cake still looks lovely!

Tartelette said...

What a great read! You are too hard on yourself, your Bostini look absoluteky great!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

oh no! sounds like they liked in in the end, tho, and it certainly looked good.

Andrea said...

I loved reading your story! Even if it didn't turn out as you had hoped, you stuck with it, it looks great, and the guys went back for seconds. So good for you! :-)

Amy said...

You persevered like a true Daring Baker. :)

wmpe said...

I considered a larger version but then searched for the ramekins. I wouldn't have thought to increase the cooking time either. Your photos look great. Wendy

Inne said...

What a shame you had such a bad experience with this one Annemarie. I found this one really easy to make, but I'm not keen on orange and chocolate combined, so not one I'll be making again.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

AnneMarie I think you had an absolutely fabulous result and you came away unwounded and wisdom greatly increased! Size does make a difference when it comes to how long do you bake it! I'm so glad you joined the group.

Gabi said...

I've know those few easy steps from triumph to tragedy myself- glad you made it back.

I know it's kind of trite but you really do learn more from your mistakes (by recovering from them I think) than your successes.
Great post!

Peabody said...

Great that you kept going.

s.j.simon said...
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