Monday, October 29, 2007

Bostini Cream Pie...Do I Dare?

title
It’s that time of the month again when I stretch my baking muscle as far as someone else’s imagination can take it. And though I await the new challenge with tummy-trembling nervousness, the excitement (and learning) makes it all worth it. It’s Daring Baker time again and (whew!) I made it!

This month’s challenge was thought up by Mary of AlpineberryBostini Cream Pie. A twist on the traditional Boston Cream Pie, the Bostini is made up of a vanilla custard, orange chiffon cake, and topped with a rich chocolate sauce (original recipe here). Right off the bat I felt the tummy twist and I knew right away what would be the biggest challenge here…the chiffon.

Chiffon cake? Oh no! Amateur baker that I am I have never made chiffon cake in my life. Or maybe I did but the outcome was just so far from something you would call chiffon that I just blocked it from my memory. I have always preferred eating desserts you would refer to as “dense” and “chewy”, not “light” and “airy” – and I think the reason is because I can be a complete heavy-handed ogre, never producing anything “fluffy” no matter how much I wanted to.

Well, it looked like it was finally time to step up and try.

Learning from past experience I decided to cut the recipe down to reduce the amount of people I had to ply with my baking experiments. Also because, as sophisticated as my family (I decided to make it for a family lunch) can be in certain aspects, the orange-chocolate combination was not one of them. I know. Anyway, through some weird fit of misled logic (math is not my strong suit), I made one third of the custard recipe but used the whole chiffon recipe. Hmmm. Curiouser and curiouser.

Because the recipe stated that the custard was quite soft I decided to serve it layered in a glass. I figured this would make for an easier assembly, at the same time highlighting the layers in this dessert. I made the custard a day before, poured them into the glasses (this made seven of the glasses you see in the photo), covered each glass with clingflim, and placed them in the fridge to set. Then I set about licking the pan clean because this custard was over the top delicious! Whew, step one down.

Step two -- the dreaded chiffon. My plan was to make the chiffon in two regular pans, instead of individual smaller ones, and then cut them into circles after they were baked. I stirred the batter, whipped the egg whites (with fervent prayers to the kitchen gods), and gingerly blended the two. I greased my pans (I used one 9-inch round and one 8-inch round) and poured in the batter. Stuck them in the oven and crossed my fingers. When the cakes were done I pulled them out to cool. They certainly didn’t look like they had angel’s wings on them but they didn’t seem half bad. Until the time came to remove them from the pan. Criminy. They were stuck.

Ack! My whole father’s side was coming over and I had stuck cakes! And there was still the lamb and the beans and the roasted vegetables to get to. So I stood there for a couple of nerve-wracking moments while my brain went “bzzt-bzzt”. Finally I gave myself a little slap on the tush (try it! It really stretches your arms!), pulled myself together, and attacked the pans with one of the empty glasses – cutting out the circles of cake that would go over the custard, and prying them out one by one with my fingers. Wayward chiffon…you are not the boss of me!!!

Hah! Through iron will and determination I had enough passably decent circles of chiffon to work with. Passably decent because, not only did they show a bit of the wear for having been forcibly removed from the pan, the cake had this mysterious dense-gummy layer at the bottom. People: if you know what I did wrong and what can help, please feel free to enlighten me!

Sniffing like a hurt child, I took a bite of the cake…my eyes widened…not bad! Take away the gummy layer and the fact that it stuck to the bottom of the pan, and the cake was actually…light, airy, fluffy, with a beguiling whisper of orange. I had somewhat done it! I had somewhat made a chiffon!

After all the chiffon-drama, it was only a matter of making the chocolate glaze (I halved the recipe), pushing the cake circles onto the custard in the glasses, and topping with the chocolate. And proudly taking them into the dining room like it was the easiest thing in the world to whip up :)

Everyone enjoyed the dessert and had only praises for it. Yes, even after I firmly told them that this was a project for my baking group and that they needed to give me their objective opinion. Even my brother, who does not like chocolate with orange at all, thought it was perfect – saying that the amount of orange flavor was just right and that you could tell that it was really called for.

What did I learn from this challenge:
- Line the bottom of the cake pan with baking paper and grease it.
- Find a way to get rid of that gummy layer (perhaps I didn’t mix the egg whites and the batter thoroughly enough?)
- I can somewhat make a chiffon cake :)
- When there’s a will there’s a way!
- Desserts in glasses rock!
- My brother is more sophisticated than I thought ;)

Check out the other Daring Bakers and their Bostini Cream Pies!

79 comments:

Brilynn said...

Beautiful photo, your layers are perfect!

Belinda said...

Joey, I love your list of things learned, especially that you now think that your brother has a touch of sophistication! So funny! Your Bostinis turned out simply picture perfect...I love how evenly your layers "layered"! You would never guess from the finished product that there was ever even the tiniest bit of cake drama. :-) Beautiful!

Brittany said...

Joey, this looks beautiful! Congrats, and what a stunning photo!

valentinA said...

*valentina is licking her fingers one by one as she stares intently at Joey's Bostini Cream pie with envy & hunger*

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Brilynn! :)

Hi Belinda! Thanks! :) I always learn things from these challenges...one of the things I like about them :) As for the cake drama...like you said good chocolate sauce can hide a multitude of sins ;)

Hi Brittany! Thank you :)

Hi Valentina! I wish I could share some with you! :) You are too funny!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Beautiful Joey! I had a fairly similar experience to you with the cake. Mine stuck to the bottom of a greased silicone pan which isn't supposed to stick at all. I had to use a knife to ease/cut it off. Served it in glasses too because of the runny custard. Good job!

Nabeela said...

lol at the last lesson learnt from the challenge.
P.S:The pie looks delicious!

kellypea said...

Amateur baker? Right. I had to smile when you talked about having other dishes you were putting together for "your father's side." I made a nice dinner Saturday and waited until the next day to tackle this. When I throw any multistep dessert into the dinner mix, it's pandemonium. So congrats to you for pulling it off famously. And you're right. That bostini in that glass totally ROCKS!

Pille said...

They look absolutely stunning, Joey - I would have never guessed you had any troubles with them in the process (you know, like being stuck or something like that:)
Beautiful!

veron said...

That's a beautiful bostini, joey! Oh god, you are so brave as to try a new dessert for dinner guests. You pulled yourself together so splendidly in the end. Did I read right, you were preparing lamb too ? :)

gigi said...

Wonderful presentation! Your Bostini's sooo delicious!

Mehgan said...

Your cream pies look perfect! I'm so jealous, what a lovely presentation.

marias23 said...

Lovely presentation and nothing is more fun than finding out little things you didn't know about people close to you ;)

Jen Yu said...

Joey, I think these came out wonderfully! Congratulations and good job :)

There is a nice trick I use for easier release of cakes from pans - I melt some unsalted butter and use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of butter to the pan. Then I place a piece of parchment at the base (cut to fit the base). Then I brush more unsalted butter on that parchment. It works really well and helps with clean up too.

As for the chiffon, you probably just needed to fold the whites and batter together a little more, but bravo to you for achieving such lovely results!

-jen at use real butter

BC said...

Great learning experience, wasn't it? Beautiful presentation.

Kelly-Jane said...

Well you got there in the end! Lovely presentaion, well done =)

Julius said...

Your blog is gorgeous, and your bit about the high chiffon drama made me laugh. :)

Great bostini!

Please feel free to check out my bostini here.

Lynnylu said...

A gorgeous photo, Joey. I love the orange in the background, too.

Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita said...

The photo is gorgeous ;)

April said...

Looks great! Congrats on completing the challenge!

Laura said...

You dared and dared well! They are most beautiful bostinis.

Ivonne said...

That is so funny! You are definitely developing those baking muscles. Well done, Joey!

breadchick said...

Yup, your Bostini in a glass looks fabulous! Gummy chiffon and all (yes, you didn't mix the egg whites in enough) Great job this month!!!

Lis said...

HAR Joey! Fantastic post! I really enjoyed that. =)

I can just see you goin' at those rounds with your fingers tryin' to get them out of the pan. heeee!

Well for all the drama - your bostinis turned out simply gorgeous!

Another beautiful challenge complete!

xoxo

Dolores said...

I also love your list of lessons learned...somehow my brother wound up more sophisticated than I'd ever have expected too.

And there is no better feeling than emerging from the kitchen with a showstopper dessert (or entree or appetizer) that YOU made and you *know* Sandra Lee couldn't touch. :)

Claire said...

I was thinking the same thing as Brilynn...the layers are PERFECT! I'm like your family...orange and chocolate not really my cup of tea, but this was just subtle enough.

Paz said...

Your pie looks so good.

Paz

SimplePleasures said...

hey! joey they look perfect! I had that gummy bottom layer too! I suspect that I didn't mix my eggwhites with my batter well :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Amanda! Great minds think alike :) Wow! I can’t believe it stuck on oiled silicon as well! Next time I make this I’m definitely placing some greased parchment in the pan…

Hi Nabeela! Thanks :) I think even he was surprised that he liked this chocolate and orange pairing!

Hi Kellypea! Thank you :) I made the custard the day before so at least that was one step down ;) I bought these glasses just for this challenge and I am so glad I did…because now I’m totally sold on serving stuff in them! :)

Thanks Pille! Serving in a glass, plus topping it with the chocolate sauce, really helped in the looks department! :)

Hi Veron! Thanks! Looking back I don’t know why I did that either…especially since one of my uncles is a baker himself! I think it was because I just wanted to make sure there would be people to eat them, hehe! :) Yes, I did make lamb…lamb shank adobo! Once I have some semblance of a recipe I will post it :)

Thanks Gigi! :)

Hi Mehgan! Thank you :)

Hi Marias23! I agree…always nice to learn new things about people you thought you knew everything about :)

Hi Jen! Thanks for the tip on the parchment! I will definitely do that next time! I was guessing that is what went wrong with the batter…I guess I was just too scared of over mixing and ending up with my usual dense cakes! :)

Hi BC! Yes, it was :) Thanks!

Hi Kelly-jane! All’s well that ends well :)

Hi Julius! Thank you :) Glad you enjoyed the post! I’ll be checking out your bostini soon :)

Hi Lynnylu! Thanks! :)

Thank you Maryann!

Hi April! Thanks!

Hi Laura! Thank you! The DBers are making me more daring in the kitchen :)

Thanks Yvonne! I love the push the DBers give me in the baking department…it has really helped! I am having a great time :)

Hi Breadchick! Thank you! I figured it was the egg whites not being incorporated fully…I think I was too nervous of deflating them, hahaha!

Hi Lis! Glad you enjoyed the post…your posts are always such a rollicking ride! Ack…I can still see myself at those circles with my fingers! Sigh…what’s life, and baking, without a little drama sometimes, eh? ;)

Hi Dolores! Aren’t brothers the best? :) I so agree with you about waltzing out of the kitchen with a great dessert (or main course)…it’s all the hours of prep just melt away :)

Hi Claire! Yes, the orange here was really just the right touch for those who don’t usually take chocolate with orange…perfect for sweeties like my bro :)

Thanks Paz!

Hi Simple Pleasures! Thanks :) Yup…I think that’s what caused it with me too!

christine said...

That looks beautiful! Part of the reason I love trifles so much and refused for my mom to sell her old trifle dish at the garage sale was because I love to see the layers. I've also attempted english trifles in glasses using ladyfingers and they were adorable, almost as pretty as yours. :)

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

You don't sound like a heavy-handed ogre to me. Well done looks great and I enjoyed your write up.

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

I love the layers! Great photo!

Cate said...

Love the presentation, completely different than the others I've seen so far - yum!

Anne said...

Stunning as always! You did a wonderful job :)

Manggy said...

The "pie" looks gorge, joey!

Gummy layer: make sure to follow the ff steps next time:
1. combine the egg yolks, oil, orange juice, zest, and vanilla in advance. Stir until very well combined and smooth. Dump it in the well of your dry ingredients and stir with a spatula (no beating) until well-combined and homogenous.
2. Don't use all 3/4 cup sugar for the dry ingredients. Save 2 tablespoons for the egg whites.
3. Start to beat the egg whites till frothy, then add the tartar, then beat, adding 1 tbsp sugar until soft peaks form. Then continue to gradually add the last tbsp of sugar until thick, glossy (yes!) white peaks form. Be careful that they don't turn dry or lumpy. Always better to underbeat than overdo it. After that, use a whisk to beat the mass by hand for 10 seconds, scouring all the "corners" of your bowl to make sure the meringue is uniform.
4. Take 1/3 of the meringue and fold it into the cake batter until well-combined. When you dump in the rest of the meringue, it will combine much smoother.

I hope this all helps!

Julie said...

You're too funny! I have mini heart attacks, too, when my cakes stick. I'll have to remember the "self-spanking" technique. Your Bostini looks beautiful, and I especially love what look to be the tiny spoons!

Alice Q. said...

Beautiful presentation, I wish I'd thought of something pretty like that! I have had that "rubbery" thing happen before, and it has something to do with the incorporation of the ingredients. I whisked my wet ingredients together, sifted the dry together -beat the egg whites, then folded them all together right before pouring it in the pan. I think that might help if you do try it again!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! Thanks :) I have actually never attempted an English trifle but did think about it when I made this...especially as I had lots of cake left over! And I realized I didn't have a trifle dish! You are so right to make sure your mom doesn't sell hers...my mom is selling a lot of stuff because of her move and I am constantly snatching things from the pile :)

Hello Baker and Curry Maker! Thank you :) I'm happy you enjoyed the post!

Thanks Cehz Denise! :)

Hi Cate! Thanks! It's great in a glass because I find it a lot easier to assemble...no worries about the custard turning out :)

Hi Anne! Thank you for your sweet cooment :)

Hi Manggy! Thank you so so much for that detailed explanation! I'm sure that will help greatly! :)

Hi Julie! Haha! Self-spanking, heeheehee...it works! :) The tiny spoons (and the plate) came with a set of cups...I like them a lot so I'm always using them with other things too :)

Thanks Alice Q! Yes, I'm pretty sure it was the mixing...will definitely give it another go :)

Mary said...

A DB challenge wouldn't be complete without some kind of drama. =) But I would have never known from your pretty photo that you had any difficulties at all. Nicely done.

Anh said...

Oh Joey, your layers are so beautifully set! I am so impressed!

Baking Soda said...

Yes, layered desserts in glass ware rocks! And so do you, nice job! Stunning pic, no one was ever going to know your chiffon cake misery.

Quellia said...

Your Bostini looks wonderful - not at all like you struggled with the cake!
Congrats on your first chiffon!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mary! I agree! I wouldn't have felt as daring if I didn't have a little drama along the way :)

Hi Anh! Thank you! It was easy to shape because my glass was relatively straight-edged :)

Hello Baking Soda! Thank you! :) I was so happy I got to try my hand at this...I would never have thought of making this on my own :)

Thanks Quellia! Now on to more chiffons hopefully...armed with everyone's chiffon-making tips :)

Leslie said...

Your photo looks so awesome!!!!! Great job!

Leslie at http://definitelynotmartha.blogspot.com

linda said...

Your Bostini looks beautiful! I love the orange decoration.

Marvin said...

Geez, I've seen so many different versions of this Bostini and they all look so good. I wish I was a better baker so that I could try this out.

Deborah said...

Your Bostini is gorgeous!! You are brave to test it out on a group of people - just my husband got to test it out with me!

katrina said...

This has got to be one of your cutest and funniest posts, Joey!!! I could totally see you licking the custard from the bowl, pondering what to do with the stuck cake, eyes lighting up when you tasted the "not bad" chiffon, and then presenting the dessert to your family with all the aplomb of a master baker!

I adore chocolate with orange, by the way. There was a time I drank Starbucks' Mocha Valencia as often as I could.

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Beautiful photo! Drama is always a must in a daring baker's challenge :-)

Mila said...

Joey (new Db)as far as i can see your bostini looked just great..
when i started making the chiffon i was really apreensive i've read terrible stories about it but in the end it all got alright!

ChefSara said...

Looks good! I had the same rubbery gummy layer on mine, and discovered it came from the egg whites not being folded into the yolk batter correctly (check the DB blog for some online references for folding in egg whites). If they aren't fully incorporated, the yolks sink to the bottom and make a gummy/rubbery layer when cooked, but the mixed part on top comes out just right. I'm enough of a perfectionist that when I had that trouble, I had to try again, and finally got it right on my THIRD try!!!

Tartelette said...

As always your pictures are gorgeous! I am glad things turned out good for you! Actually they turned out great!! I love desserts in glasses too, they just make plating easier and you can play with dishes and sizes.

Jen Tan said...

Looks great Joey--everything you make always does =)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Really amazing! What a wonderful presentation! Wow!

Cheers,

Rosa

Michelle said...

Your presentation is gorgeous! Everything looks beautiful.

Kevin said...

Great photo! I like the orange zest on top and the orange in the background.

sher said...

I love the way your layered it! Wonderful!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Leslie! Thank you :)

Hi Linda! Thanks!

Hi Marvin! I have no doubt you can make anything you set your mind to! The things you put together on your site never fail to impress :)

Hi Deborah! I used to test new things on just me and my hubby...but regardless of whether it was a success or not, we always had too much leftovers!

Hi Katrina! I have to tell you...cooking and baking can really be as dramatic/funny/scary/wonderful as all that! That's why I love it :) I will remember you next time I make this!

Hi Dagmar! I agree -- the challenge is all part of the daring! :)

Hi Mila! Thanks! :) I have to try this (and chiffon in general) again to practice! You and Katrina can be beta testers!

Hi Chefsara! Wow! You are truly dedicated! I have to try again (and again!) to see if I can perfect it! :)

Hi Helene! Thanks! :) This is the first time I assembled a dessert in a glass and I am smitten! Not only does it look impressive, it is so much easier to do, and can hide a ton of imperfections!

Thanks so much Jen! :)

Thanks Rosa! :)

Hi Michelle! Thank you :)

Hi Kevin! Thanks :) I had a lot of oranges to go around after this :)

Thanks Sher! It was really easy (the layering...not the chiffon)! ;)

Elle said...

Super funny post...and who knew your brother was brilliant?

maybahay said...

i'll have one of those, thanks.

Dee said...

So beautiful as usual:) Im sure it tasted great too! Im amazed with your pics!

Annemarie said...

Ah, the dreaded gummy bottom! It's hard to believe you had any problems because the finished product looks gorgeous. Well done for shutting down the panicked buzzing in your ears when things got hairy.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Elle! Brothers always surprise us :) Well, truth be told he is pretty brilliant...it's the orange-chocolate combo I wasn't so sure he would take to ;)

Hi Maybahay! Coming right up!

Hi Dee! Thanks so much :) Your very kind!

Hi Annemarie! Sigh...I have to try again until I get rid of it! :)

Christina said...

Joey, excellent job and beautiful presentation!

I had a little trouble getting my cake out of the pan that I didn't line with wax paper (I've had issues with that pan in the past...), but all it needed was to be prodded with an off-set spatula and a firm whack on the bottom of the pan!

Maricel said...

Hi Joey!

For chiffon cakes, I just line the bottom of the pan with paper. Don't oil or butter the pans when baking a chiffon cake because they need to cling to the sides of the pan for support to reach their maximum height. Invert the cake to cool, run a metal spatula through the sides and then invert. It should come out easily, then peel off the paper.

Peabody said...

Sorry about the chiffon drama :)
You did a lovely job.

Anita said...

I love the lighting in the first photo - everything looks so gorgeous!!

wmpe said...

Your desserts look beautiful in the glass. A lovely way to serve them. Wendy

Inne said...

You're a true Daring Baker, Joey! Great post and a perfect Bostini - I love the layers.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

The chiffon drama is over the top fun to read! Of course I appreciate the being in the moment is perfectly described by my brain went “bzzt-bzzt”! I know exactly what you were feeling and you made a totally brilliant recovery.
I'd recommend you do another chiffon soon or an Angel Food Cake. There are two critical parts to either: first the egg whites are whipped to soft peaks (not dry) and second, they are gently but throughly blended into the batter base.
Your lessons learned are just perfect.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Christina! Thanks :) I tried banging that pan's bottom but the cake just wouldn't let go...I was starting to look like a mad bonggo player! :)

Hi Maricel! Thanks for those chiffon cake tips! Really appreciate it :) Fluffy-ness here I come! :)

Thanks Peabody! What's life without a little baking drama, right? ;)

Thanks so much Anita! :) My lighting all depends on how sunny it is :)

Thanks Wendy :) I find it easier to serve this way too...

Hi Inne! Thanks! :) This was a challenge for me but I'm glad I got the chance :)

Hi Tanna! Haha! So you are familiar with those "bzzt-bzzt" moments? ;) Sigh...what would life be without those to egg us in huh? :) Thanks for the pointers! They will surely help :)

Cheryl said...

Love the layers in that glass. Love the glass actually. I really enjoyed reading your post.

Gabi said...

Hi, Wow I finally made it through the blogroll-I started from the bottom so -sorry it took me a while to get to you- but it was worth it- Beautiful presentation and WOW you are so brave to take a challenge whilst having many people over for dinner! No sweat for you I guess...
Great job!
xoxo

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Cheryl! I bought the glasses especially for this challenge :) I like them too!

Hi Gabi! Thanks! It was family so the pressure wasn't so unbearable ;)

mycookinghut said...

love this shot!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Mycookinghut! :)

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

Cecilia said...

Yay! I found a recipe for trifle with chocolate and orange flavors in them! I've been very much into making trifles in different kinds of flavors lately. The last one was from the need of doing away with homemade leftovers, namely, a chiffon cake, lemon curd and chocolate ganache. It blew away everyone at this cocktail party we had. They were so surprised when I told them I just put together these leftovers into a trifle ... Anyway, my husband suggested that next time, maybe I should try making orange curd which I'm going to, as he loves chocolate and orange flavors together. But this is also a fantastic recipe you've posted. My husband will be so blown away, as he's also been bugging me to make vanilla sauce which is another favorite of his. I don't know if you'll even get to read this comment, as it's an old post, but thanks,'Jo!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Cecilia! Thanks for leaving a comment even if it is an old post :) This is actually the closest thing I have made to a trifle but it was very good! I hope you enjoy it! :)