Sunday, October 28, 2007

Daring Bakers Cocktail Hour

I really enjoyed this month's Daring Baker's Challenge, mainly because I learned so much from it. This month, Mary at Alpineberry hosted the challenge, and the recipe was a Bostini Cream Pie, one of her favorite desserts from a local Bay Area restaurant. The recipe is a nice vanilla custard topped with an orange chiffon cake and finished off with a wonderful chocolate glaze. While there were a few modifications allowed (we could alter the flavoring of the chiffon cake as long as it was light colored and did not affect the coloring of the cake), we could get as creative as we wanted with presentation. I decided that Bostini Martini had a nice ring to it, and thought that martini glasses would make for a wonderful presenation!

This dessert was an all day affair. I started by baking the cake:

Since I knew I would be serving the cake in martini glasses, I decided that rather than baking the cakes in molds, I would bake it in a regular cake pan and cut circles to fit the martini glass. I thought everything was going very well...until I took the cake out of the oven! I noticed that my cake had two distinct layers: A wonderful light fluffy layer on top and a dense rubbery layer on the bottom. I tried again, and the same thing happened! However, I was able to separate the good layer from the rubber layer and come up with enough cake to make my desserts, and when I served them later that night, no one was any the wiser :-)

Next up was the custard:

Fortunately, I had much better luck with the custard. I followed the recipe as written, and it came out perfectly. Then it was time to assemble.

I filled each martini glass with custard, added my de-rubbered cake circles, and topped with glaze...

I added a little orange garnish and...Voila! I had a wonderful Bostini Martini!

Epilogue: After consulting the wonderful DBs, I came to the conclusion that my rubber layer was a result of not correctly folding in the egg whites. So, I did a little research and tried again, and my chiffon cake turned out perfectly! it's time for the recipe:

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.

And, don't forget to check out what the other daring bakers did with this month's challenge.