I have never been much of a cake-eater, but if there is a Boston cream pie somewhere close by, you had better believe I am going to seek it out. Layers of light, buttery sponge cake sandwiched together with a generous slathering of pastry cream then topped with an equally generous layer of chocolate ganache glaze- there is nothing not to love. It’s hard to imagine a time of year when this particular dessert would ever be out of place, but since we are firmly footed in Autumn, I thought I might add a little seasonal flare, with chestnuts, rum, and milk chocolate. Not to worry- no pumpkin spice was used in the making of this dessert.
Autumnal Boston Cream Pie
Sponge Cake (adapted from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book:
1 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup whole milk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt twice. Combine milk and butter over medium heat just until butter is melted.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk attachment until well combined and foamy. Gradually add in sugar and vanilla extract and continue
beating at high speed for 6 mins until pale and tripled in volume.
Sift one-third of flour mixture over egg foam and gently fold it with a rubber spatula. Repeat with remaining flour mixture in 2 more additions.
Heat up milk mixture to just under a boil. Add it all at once to the egg mixture and gently fold it in to combine.
Immediately pour the batter into a 9″ cake pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake the cake for 20 to 25 mins , or until it springs back when touched and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool
the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently flip it onto a cooling rack to cool completely
Chestnut Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz unsweetened chestnut puree *
Heat the milk and 1/3 cup of sugar to a scald in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot.
Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt, eggs and egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl until well-combine and no lumps remain.
Gradually add the milk mixture to the eggs and whisk vigorously. Return to the pot and bring to a boil, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Allow to boil gently for one minute to cook the starch completely. Stir in the vanilla.
Add a small amount of the finished pastry cream to the chestnut puree and whisk until smooth. Add to the remaining pastry cream and stir until completely combined.
Cover with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on the pastry cream and allow to cool completely before using.
* If the puree is dry and/or crumbles, soften it with a paddle attachment on the lowest speed of your electric mixer. Add a tablespoon of milk if it remains dry.
Cinnamon-Rum Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup dark rum
Bring the sugar, water, and cinnamon to a boil in a small pot. Allow the cinnamon to steep in the syrup for 30 minutes. Once cooled, remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the rum.
Milk Chocolate Glaze
12 ounces good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
Small pinch of salt
Place the chocolate and salt in a small bowl. Bring the cream to just below boiling. Pour evenly onto the chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Allow to cool and thicken to a pourable but not too watery consistency.
Split the cake into two layers. Brush with the simple syrup. Spread the pastry cream onto the first layer, being careful not to spread it past the edge of the cake. place the top layer of cake onto the pastry cream. Gently flatten the cake so that it adheres. brush a little simple syrup onto the top. Allow the cake to sit for a few minutes to absorb the syrup. Pour the Glaze onto the cake, starting in the center and moving outward. Allow the cake to chill for 30 minutes before serving.