Saturday, June 25, 2011

Boston Creme Pie

So you all know about the freshman fifteen, right? The 15 pounds you gain your first year in college. I was not immune to this at all and I credit this lovely dessert as the reason why. I never had Boston Creme Pie growing up. I lived in the Midwest, my mom had no desire to try East Coast desserts. But that first dinner with Boston Creme Pie as dessert in Purdue University housing was amazing and I was a goner. Damn, that cake was amazing. And it's called a pie, what?? I had to have that pie/cake again and I did. Over and over and my weight would never be the same again.
And I am sad to say that I never have had this pie/cake since that freshman year. :( Until now. Why did I wait so long? It's heaven in a pie/cake. And my friends who requested a cake for a get together truly enjoyed the magic of this beautiful cake.

Boston Creme Pie
Adapted from Joy of Baking


Pastry Cream:
1/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar, divided (reserve 6 tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chocolate Ganache Topping:

4.5 ounces (~1/2 cup) semisweet chocolate chips (or you can chop a bar of chocolate - I took the easy way out)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pastry Cream:
  • In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks. (Do not let this mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) 
  • Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile in a small saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat. (Watch carefully and remove from heat just as the milk starts to foam up.)
  • Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. 
  • Pour mixture through a strainer into a medium saucepan. This is to prevent any pieces of egg or curdling to get into the cream. 
  • Place the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, continue to whisk constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. 
  • Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. 
  • Let the cream cool in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottoms of two - 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper. 
  • While the eggs are still cold separate three of the eggs, placing the yolks in one large mixing bowl and the whites in another bowl. 
  • To the yolks, add the two remaining eggs.
  •  Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan, over low heat, and warm until the butter melts. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
  • In your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the whole eggs and yolks and 6 tablespoons of the sugar on high speed until they are thick, fluffy, and lighter color in color.
  • Add vanilla extract to the egg mixture.
  • In another clean mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, at low speed, until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until soft, moist peaks form. 
  • Gently fold a little of the whites into the whole egg mixture to lighten it, and then add the rest of the whites folding just until incorporated. 
  • Sift half of the flour mixture over the top of the batter and gently fold through with a rubber spatula or whisk. 
  • Sift the remaining flour over the batter and fold in until just incorporated. No more. Be careful not to over mix. 
  • Make a well in the center of the batter and pour the melted butter/milk mixture into the bowl. Gently but thoroughly fold the butter mixture into the batter. Again be careful not to over mix.
  • Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops, and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or the edges are slightly golden brown and the top springs back when you touch it. 
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Immediately run a knife around the inside of the pans and invert the cakes onto a parchment covered wire rack. (The parchment paper here helps prevent the cake from sticking to the wire rack and making it possible to re-invert if desired) 
  • Remove parchment paper from the bottom of the cake and let cake cool.
  • Let cake cool completely before assembling. 

Just before you assemble the cake, make the chocolate ganache topping.

Chocolate Ganache Topping:
  • Measure out 4.5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips and place in a heat-proof bowl. 
  • Heat heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and butter in a small saucepan until it begins to boil.
  • Add cream mixture to chocolate chips and stir until the chips are completely melted.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes while you assemble the cake. Once the cake is assembled, pour chocolate ganache topping on top of the cake and let it ooze down the sides.

To Assemble:
  • When the cakes are completely cool, place the bottom cake on your cake stand or carrier either way (I have seen instructions that call to invert the cake and use the rounded edge for the bottom and I have seen others who say keep the rounded top on top- I believe either way works fine).
  • Spoon the pastry cream onto the cake, making an even layer if possible. 
  • Place the second cake on top of the first cake. 
  • Pour the ganache topping onto the center of the cake and spread it out towards the edge of the cake, letting the chocolate ooze down the sides of the cake. 
  • Refrigerate cake for at least 1 hour to allow the chocolate to set.
Serve and enjoy!!

Post linked Sweets for a Saturday

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars

I love salty foods. Even more so than sweet foods. I know, crazy. So when I saw this recipe for chocolate chips AND pretzels in cookie form, I could not resist. I love the taste of this bar but I would definitely add more pretzels next time. I really couldn't get that salty flavor as much as I was hoping for.  I drizzled some melted chocolate on top and oh wow, they are amazing. Thick and chewy with this melt in your mouth loveliness. I have a feeling I will be getting requests for this bar again. 

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars
adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups mini pretzels, chopped (I would suggest, at least 2 cups)
  • Chocolate chips, melted for drizzle

  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 pan.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  • Cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Beat in dry ingredients until just incorporated. 
  • Fold in chocolate chips and pretzels.
  • Spread batter evenly in 9x13 pan. Press dough dough to fill entire pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Middle may be a bit gooey but bars will set up as they cool.
  • Let cool completely and then drizzle melted chocolate on top. 
  • Cut bars into squares and serve. 

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

    If you like pineapple, have I got a recipe for you! It's moist and full of pineapple flavor with a bit of crunch on the top. The one thing mine was missing was a cherry in the middle but the store was out of cherries (after I spent 10 minutes looking for them - who knew they wouldn't be in the canned fruit aisle?!?!?). Anyway, I would definitely add a cherry to each individual cake as I think it makes it a true pineapple upside down cake. 
    Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes
    Adapted from Pineapple Upside Down Cake by Joy of Baking


    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

    12 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tbsp in each individual cupcake space

    1 can of crushed pineapple

    Maraschino cherries

    Cake Batter:
    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup pineapple juice

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake pan very well. 

    • Place a few (2-3) butter cubes and  1 tbsp of brown sugar in each individual cupcake tin.
    • Heat in oven until the sugar becomes bubbly on the outside and begins to caramelize. 
    • Remove from heat. 
    • Add one cherry to each cupcake tin and evenly arrange the crushed pineapple on top of the sugar mixture.  

    Cake Batter:
    • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    • In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    •  Beat in the vanilla extract. 
    • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
    • Add the flour mixture (in three additions), alternately with the juice (in two additions), ending with the dry ingredients. 
    • Pour 2 tbsp of cake batter in each cupcake tin and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and the sides of the cake are beginning to pull away from the edge of the pan. 
    • Let cool for about 5 minutes and turn the cupcakes over to reveal the pineapple topping side.  


    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Soft Pretzel Nuggets

    Bravery. In the kitchen. I felt it today, man. I am going to conquer my baking nemesis, the homemade soft pretzel. I can do this. I can bake bread, I can bake all sorts of stuff. Pretzels elude me. It was the one thing my husband actually said was bad. :( Here I thought he would sugarcoat it for me. But he's right, my first attempt was inedible. BUT I did it!! I made some today and they were delicious. Perfect golden brown in color, soft on the inside with just the right amount of salt on the outside. I conquered my baking nemesis (at least the one for right now) and I am here to show the beautiful pictures of these precious nuggets. Golden brown and delicious. 

    Aren't they pretty? And I can tell you they taste delicious! Now they are not a one step and you're done process but it is worth the wait. Hope you try them soon!

    Homemade soft pretzels
    Adapted from two peas and their pod

    • 1 1/2 c warm water
    • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
    • 1 package active dry yeast
    • 6 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
    • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • Vegetable oil
    • 12 cups water
    • 3/4 cup baking soda
    • coarse sea salt

    • Combine water, sugar, yeast and butter in mixing bowl. Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes.
    • Add the salt and flour to yeast mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead dough until smooth and it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
    • Coat an additional bowl with vegetable oil, making sure to coat all sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to oiled bowl, cover and let sit until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    • Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add baking soda.
    • Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4  1/2 oz each. Roll each piece into a long rope and cut into 1 inch pieces to make the nuggets. 
    • Boil the pretzel bites for 30 seconds. (ok - this step freaks me out but don't skip it, it's important to give the pretzels that crunchy crust). Remove with a large slotted spoon. 
    • Place the boiled nuggets on a greased cookie sheet. Make sure they are not touching each other.
    • Place in oven and bake for 15 -18 minutes until golden brown. 
    • Remove to a wire rack and let rest for a few minutes before eating. 

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

    So I sat out to make my chewy peanut butter cookies on Sunday. I got all the ingredients out of the pantry, it looked like I would have enough of everything... Turns out I was about 1/2 cup short of peanut butter and 1/2 cup short of honey and no desire to go to the store!! So I improvised and created this lovely little cookie. It tastes just like a peanut butter cookie but is a little browner in color from the Nutella I added. They have this melt in your mouth texture with the not so over-powering peanut butter flavor. The Nutella isn't a s strong prominent flavor but it does add that little extra oomph in the cookie. They got rave reviews from hubby, hubby's co-workers, my mother in law and hopefully you!

    Check out the new plates! Crate and Barrel on sale!

    Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies
    Adapted from a recipe by Annie's Eats
    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 cup shortening - I used a high ratio shortening I get from a bake shop in town
    • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup Nutella
    • 1/3 cup honey
    • 3 lg eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    • Combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda) and set aside.
    • Cream together shortening, butter, peanut butter, Nutella, and honey. 
    • Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after every addition.
    • Add vanilla extract to butter mixture and stir to combine.
    • With mixer on low add dry ingredients slowly (about a 1/2 cup at a time) and beat until just incorporated.
    • Using a cookie scoop, shape dough into round balls and place about 1 - 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.
    • Bake at 350 for 10 -13 minutes. Check on them at about the 8 minute mark to make sure they don't overbake. Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Black Bean and Corn Salsa

    School's out for the summer and I can breathe again! It was a crazy semester and I'm glad to have survived. :) And with summer brings this delicious salsa to the table. I love this dip and it's so easy to make. Hope you add it to your picnic or BBQ this summer.

    Black Bean and Corn Salsa
    1 bunch of cilantro, sliced up
    1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 can of mexicorn, rinsed and drained
    1/2 of a red onion, diced
    1 red pepper, diced
    6 oz of lime juice or the juice of 5 limes
    1/3 cup olive oil
    dash of cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. (I go heavy on the cumin but I love the spice!)

    Mix together in a large bowl and enjoy!
    Sorry for the picture. I took it on my phone and couldn't as close as I wanted. :)


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