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daring bakers: bostini cream pie

Recipe: bostini cream pie

This month, I joined the Daring Bakers which has exploded as far as membership goes. The Daring Bakers is an online community of people who bake a recipe selected by a host each month, and then post about the experience and the outcome on the same day. Our host was Mary of alpineberry who chose Bostini Cream Pie for this month’s DB challenge, and today is the day everyone is posting. Go to the blogroll to see everyone’s fine creations!

The Bostini is a variation on an old favorite, the Boston cream pie. The main components are: pastry cream, orange chiffon cake, and chocolate glaze. So I began with the pastry cream, because I looooove pastry cream. Love to eat it, love to make it.

crème patisserie: mixing in the yolks

tempering the egg mixture with a ladel of hot cream

whisking the tempered egg mixture into the cream

I have found that the trick to pastry cream is constant vigilance… and to strain it. The reason you temper the egg mixture with the hot cream is so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. Temper, in this sense, means to add a small amount of hot liquid to raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking them. When cooking the pastry cream in the saucepan, I kept the heat on medium and stirred, scraping the base and sides and corners of the pan to prevent any clumps of cooked egg from forming. Of course, no matter how perfectly you cook your pastry cream, bits and pieces will form. Pouring it through a sieve is a good idea for a smooth and creamy consistency. Since I used vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean, I added my extract after the pastry cream passed through the sieve.

i like smooth

Once the pastry cream was done, I poured it into tiny glasses and refrigerated them. Next was the orange chiffon cake. I baked my cakes in a 9-inch round, a 6-inch round, and two 3-inch ramekins (round). The ramekins were brushed with melted unsalted butter. The 9- and 6-inch rounds were brushed with unsalted butter, then set with a piece of parchment paper, and brushed with more unsalted butter (makes for easy release and easy clean up).

sift the lumps out

orange zest adds some lovely flavor to the chiffon cake

I learned to make chiffon cakes in my pastry skills course, and they have fast become one of my favorite base cakes. They aren’t difficult to make once you understand the role of the egg whites and how to incorporate them into the batter. Once the dry ingredients were sifted, I added the oil, yolks, juice (fresh squozen), and vanilla, stirring them into a smooth batter by hand. Oh, and I omitted the baking powder altogether because at 8500 feet above sea-level, this cake has no trouble rising without the leavening!

add the liquid ingredients

Next, I beat the egg whites to medium peaks. The recipe says soft peaks, and I meant to – but the Kitchenaid runs from under soft to medium in just a few strokes. Must remember that (always forgetting that). I fold my egg whites into the batter in thirds. Incorporating the first third is another form of “tempering”, but this time it isn’t temperature – it’s density. The egg whites are light and foamy. The batter is thick and viscous. Instead of stirring the two together and blowing out those lovely air bubbles in the egg whites, I like to scoop a wide spatula along the bottom and lift it out right onto the middle of the whites and repeat until the batter is lightened up and relatively uniform. Repeat with the next two thirds of the egg whites. It gets easier.

tempering the first third

folding the last third

into the oven we go

The cakes baked in 25 minutes. Actually, the larger cakes needed a little more time to set and the ramekins were done a few minutes earlier than 25 minutes.

little cake

The glaze was a straight 1:1 ratio of dark chocolate and unsalted butter. I used block Ghirardelli semi-sweet and… I didn’t strain my glaze. No lumps to speak of.

My first attempt at assembly involved 2-inch ring molds. I cut out pieces of cake with a 2-inch biscuit cutter and stuffed them into the base of the ring mold. I had extra pastry cream and spooned that into the ring molds on top of the cake. More cake topped the pastry cream. I refrigerated the ring molds for several hours and when I unmolded them it was as if my idea puked pastry cream all over the plate.

Plan B: tiny glasses. I had a suspicion that the structural integrity of the first assemblage would fail. I cut out more circles of cake and set them atop the pastry cream in the little glasses. I then poured the glaze on and did little garnishes.

bostinis at the ready

jeremy loved it

I am not a fan of orange and chocolate, but I have to say the combination was surprisingly delicious to me. Jeremy is crazy about orange and chocolate and happily obliged in his duties to finish them off (over several days). I had some leftover fresh squozen orange juice, so I made an orange reduction sauce for one version of plating. The sauce is wonderfully orangey and tart and sweet and concentrated – and I must say it was fabulous with the Bostini Cream Pie. I’ll include the reduction recipe at the end.

with some lovely orange reduction drizzle

Thanks Mary, for a terrific challenge. It was a definite winner in my house and at my neighbors’ house too.

Bostini Cream Pie
[print recipe]
Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala’s Bistro
makes 8 servings

pastry cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 3/4 tbsps 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 tbsp sugar

orange chiffon cake
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 1/3 tsps baking powder (omitted at high altitudes)
1/3 tsp 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 tbsps grated orange zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
1 tsp cream of tartar

chocolate glaze
8 oz. semi or bittersweet chocolate
8 oz. unsalted butter

Make the pastry cream: 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 (if using vanilla extract, don’t add this until just before refrigeration). 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.

Make 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 (omitted at elevation) 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.

Make 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.

Assembly: 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.

Orange Reduction Sauce

1 qt orange juice
zest of 2 oranges
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp white vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer down to 1/4 the volume. Strain.

81 nibbles at “daring bakers: bostini cream pie”

  1. Alice Q. Foodie says:

    Wow – those are gorgeous! I like your garnishes, wish I’d thought of that! :-)

  2. Anne says:

    Oh, wonderful step-by-step photos! And gorgeous plating! Great job!

  3. Pille says:

    Stunning presentation!!! Lovely step-by-step photos as well, just like in a good food magazine. Also, I really love the idea of using orange reduction to garnish the plate.

  4. Courtney says:

    Just beautiful. Your photos are lovely.

  5. linda says:

    Very pretty! I love your garnishes.

  6. Julius says:

    Hi Jenny,

    I am a big fan of your blog. Everything – absolutely everything – is stunning!

    Love your step by step in making pastry cream. :)

    Please feel free to check out my bostini here.


  7. Merav says:

    Gorgeous presentation! Love the small servings and that you can see each layer. You are an artiste!

  8. brilynn says:

    Beautifully plated as always! Excellent job.

  9. Dolores says:

    Congratulations on your very first challenge. I love how you approached this one, with step-by-step photographs. One of the things I love about the Daring Baker challenges is that I learn throughout the month as others discuss their experience, I learn more by doing, and then I learn still *more* reading everybody’s reports.

    And I concur with Brilynn… *gorgeous* plating!

  10. Deborah says:

    I have to say – yours is the most stunning I have seen yet! Gorgeous plating and photos!!

  11. Inne says:

    Love your presentation – you did a stellar job for your first challenge. Like you, I’m not a fan of chocolate and orange combined, but I disliked it less than I thought I would.

  12. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita says:

    As I said on the Daring Bakers blog…great job! Congrats on your first challenge completed :)

  13. Anh says:

    I love your presentation. very lovely!

    As for the dessert, I think this is an excellent one!

  14. Laura Rebecca says:

    Such wonderful photographs — you complete this task with aplomb! What a great start in the Daring Bakers — congratulations.

  15. BC says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

    I noticed the candied peel in the photos. Do you have any suggestions for leftover orange sugar syrup from candied orange peel? I have quite a bit and I’m running out of ideas.

  16. Katie says:

    Wow they look so stylish and elegant. Well done on your first challange. I love the photo recipe breakdown

  17. Annemarie says:

    Those are some beautiful photos and some lovely looking Bostinis. Either you have a wonderful kitchen helper to take pictures and hold utensils, or you’ve been blessed with 3 hands. Either way, you’re a very lucky baker!

  18. Gigi says:

    Awesome step by step photos! Well done.

  19. Laura says:

    Can I add my wow into the mix, these are exquisite!

  20. breadchick says:

    Jen WOW!! That yellow of your custard pictures are unbelievable!! And your little bostinis are adorable. Great job on your first challenge!!!

  21. Elle (Dove) says:

    Mmm. That fresh squozen orange reduction…oh Girl! Oh.

  22. Tartelette says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Although I love both chocolate and chocolate, they don’t do it for me together but your interpretation is wonderful. Congrats on your first challenge!

  23. April says:

    Great job on your first challenge! Beautiful presentation!

  24. Andrea says:

    Beautifully plated and decorated! You did a fabulous job on the Bostini!

  25. Michelle says:

    I love all the pictures you took of the process…they are so professional! Love your presentation as well…I am sure you don’t need to hear this from me but keep up the good work.

  26. Carrie says:

    Your bostinis are beautiful. The plating photos are gorgeous!

  27. Jenn says:

    Wow…! Your bostini look amazing. How did you make the custard garnish on top of the chocolate glaze?

    Great job on the first challenge!

  28. holybasil says:

    wow. just amazing. the decorative tops are so elegant.

  29. Christina says:

    I love the design you made on top!

  30. Courtney Foster says:

    wow i am completed amazed at the beauty of your bostinis. I love all the pictures and the beauty of your whole blog in general

  31. Elle says:

    These are some of the most beautiful Bostinis I’ve seen yet..and lovely photographs throughout. It is interesting that the KitchenAid mixer does go from soft peak to firm peak so quickly. Glad that you are a Daring Baker!

  32. kitten says:

    Beautiful job. My mouth is watering just looking at your photos. I like how you pictured each step, like a great online cookbook.!

  33. cupcaketastic says:

    Stunning, I am in love with the way you write and your photographs, you are going on my list of must see blogs. As for the Bostini’s they look fabulous, Congratulations.

  34. Mary says:

    Congrats on finishing your first DB challenge. Your Bostinis turned out so beautifully and I love your photography.

  35. Katie says:

    Wow! These turned out so well! Beautifully plated. I LOVE your photos, as well!

  36. lindsay says:

    Unbelievable photos! I love how you walked us through your creation. I wish I had seen this before starting on my bostinis. But really, your presentation is truly incredible. I hope you are in grad school for something culinary related!!!

  37. Simona says:

    Oh my: what a feast for the eyes. I like your reduction sauce too. Beautiful work!

  38. Belinda says:

    WOW! Your presentation is flawlessly elegant. A magazine layout couldn’t rival your photos…just gorgeous! I love the step by step photos too…love everything. I’m speechless now. :-)

  39. Adrion says:

    I really need to step up my game. You’re bostinis are absolutely gorgeous!!

  40. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Terrific photos for the step by step and your final presentation is flawless, beautiful!
    So no baking powder! The reduction sauce is brilliant!

  41. Jane says:

    I really like your photos… much better then mine. Even though mine are getting better.

  42. Gabi says:

    Beautiful Bostinis!!
    I love the garnish and presentation in particular.

  43. megan says:

    Ditto, what everone else said. Its as much fun to see what everone else did. So many ideas and I’m soaking them all in! Thanks for the inspiration. Cant wait for next month!

  44. Madeleine says:

    Jen! Amazing pictures!! wow!!! Your bostini looks very delicious and spectacular!!! :)

  45. johanna says:

    wow – what a stunning way to serve bostini pie! and glorious pictures, of course! bookmarking your site as well, great inspiration!

  46. abby says:

    beautiful pictures jen. and such a beautiful blog – it’s been nice to find you through the daring bakers.

  47. Dagmar says:

    Beautiful photos!!!! They are fantastic!

  48. Kevin says:

    Great presentation! I like the small swirls on top. The step by step is nice as well!

  49. the chocolate lady says:

    ooh, ooh, ooh,
    this is the most gorgeous and helpful post! Thanks so much. I especially love that photo where they are all waiting in their little line. so cute!
    This is a beautiful blog!

  50. jenyu says:

    Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments and kind words! Baking is so much more fun with our awesome DB community to discuss and bandy ideas about. I can’t wait for the next challenge and I just want you to know that all of you inspire me too. Daring Bakers ROCK.

    BC – a ha! Hande also asked about leftover syrup on the orange peels. She had a brilliant idea and added chocolate to it. You can see what she did here. I added it to some (a lot of) fresh squozen lemon juice and seltzer water for a refreshing beverage.

    Annemarie – my wonderful kitchen helper is usually washing dishes or at work ;) I use a tripod for all of my shoots.

    Jenn – for the custard garnish, I took a tiny spoon and dipped the tip into some extra custard. I dotted just a drop on the glaze while it was still fluid and then ran the flat end of a toothpick through the middle to make the tail, lifting up and turning the toothpick (so the profile gets skinny) at the end.

    Lindsay – I *was* in grad school (thank goodness that’s over!) for geology and remote sensing. There wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t wonder if I should have enrolled in a culinary arts program instead ;)

  51. African Vanielje says:

    Jen, welcome to the daring bakers, but your whole post looks like you’ve done it all before. How prefectly professional and gorgeous everything is. THey look heavenly. This wasn’t my favourite dessert to eat but yours make me start thinking I WANT TO TUCK IN.

  52. monica says:

    your cakes are beautiful!! i love your artistic garnishes and drizzles. welcome to the daring bakers and fabulous job on your 1st challenge!

  53. Anne says:

    Your photos are totally awesome! And the finished product is absolutely gorgeous :)

  54. Esther says:

    I need to work on my presentations, yours look delightful.
    In reply to your comment on my post, these are quite easy to do gluten free as the cake doesn’t rely on gluten for structure, and none gluten flours tend to result in cakey textures even when you don’t want them. Bread based recipes like last months challenge are much harder to do well.

  55. joey says:

    Beautiful presentation and photos! Simply stunning! :)

  56. Sheltie Girl says:

    You did a wonderful job on your bostinis. The presentations and pictures are simply stunning. I will have to remember your idea for an orange reduction sauce.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  57. Rosa says:

    I love your pictures and your amazing presentation! Ever so dainty! Wonderful!



  58. Ivonne says:

    Hats off to you! Stunning, stunning, stunning!

  59. Claire says:

    Wow…you pictures are AWESOME! Looks great.

  60. peabody says:

    Just stunning!

  61. Lisa says:

    Fantastic pictorial!! I especially love the 2nd to the last where they are lined up.. you did an AWESOME job!


  62. brittany says:

    Stunning!!! These might be some of the prettiest bostinis I’ve seen. Beautiful photograpy as well : )

  63. Kelly-Jane says:

    Really beautiful presentation of your Bostinis, you’ve done so well! Welcome to the DBs =)

  64. Valerie says:

    That is a beautiful creation you have there! I’m in awe!

  65. maria~ says:

    Your presentation is breathtaking and I love your lighting. It looks absolutely scrumptious!

  66. jenyu says:

    Thanks again all.

    Esther – I’m still really impressed with the non-gluten conversions :)

  67. Anita says:

    I’m blown away by your bostinis, and your site! You’re an amazing photographer and your blog is now a must-visit for me!

  68. the caked crusader says:

    Thanks so much for leaving a lovely comment on my blog. Congratulations on your beautiful baking and equally beautiful photos – I wouldn’t have the discipline to stop from eating what I’d made long enough to take such gorgeous photos!

  69. Dharm says:

    Yowser! I love your presentation. The bostinis look absolutely GREAT! I also like your step by step pics. How do you manage to take the pics and make the recipe at the same time!! Great, great, great job!

  70. Julie says:

    Wow, they’re all so beautiful! I love your photographs and your presentation! The orange reduction sauce is a great idea. Congratulations on your first challenge! Very well done, and a total joy to see and read!

  71. Jenny says:

    Lovely! I especially like the little swirls of the custard on top of the chocolate!

  72. DaviMack says:

    Truly, truly professional looking desserts! Wow.

  73. Amy says:

    Your photos are gorgeous! I love that you made candied orange peels, what a perfect accompaniment.

  74. Wendy says:

    After 70+ comments, I am sure you have heard it but your photos are fantastic. I have always wondered about reductions that chefs use — like what is a reduction and how do they do it. I love it at restaurants that strong concentrated flavor. At 8500 ft, I can only think that you live out west in some skiing wonderland. Your step-by-step photos are great too. Welcome to the group. Wendy

  75. Ashley says:

    I really love your photos of the whole process and your story that goes along with it. Your little cakes are so cute! And your final presentation is quite beautiful. Yours is definitely one of my favourite presentations I’ve seen.

  76. jenyu says:

    Thanks again for all the DB love and all of your very kind comments!

    Dharm – tripod, it’s an essential piece of equipment for me.

    Wendy – yup! I live in Colorado just outside of Boulder (but up in the mountains). It *would* be a skiing wonderland if we actually got some snow. We are still waiting for it! :)

  77. LizG says:

    Fantastic photos! Bostinis look fabulous. Well done.

  78. jenyu says:

    Thank you Liz!

  79. Baby Foody says:

    Hi Jenyu! I stumbled across this website because I was looking for chocolate dipped strawberries recipes. Boy, am I glad I found you. This is by far the best site…you have a lot of great recipes and the greatest photos to go with it! My eyes get full before my tummy does…I just want to let you know how great you have done! I wish I am half way like you, but I’ll just have to come here more often and hope I can steal a couple tricks! Also, I’d like to ask where do you get your ideas from? What sites or books will you recommend? Thank you in advance for your help! Cheers!

  80. jenyu says:

    Baby Foody – thanks! Most of the food I make comes from recipes I learned from my family, found off the web, or gleaned from cookbooks or my pastry class. I can’t really recommend a site per se because I cannibalize recipes and combine four or five versions to my liking. It also depends on what you want to cook or bake. I guess the magazine I love most is Fine Cooking – great tips there and lots of excellent recipes. Hope that helps.

  81. Adelina says:

    Okie so I think after wandering around many dessert recipes to make for this weekend, I decided, after starring at your site, that I needed to make this one. Well….I did make the cream last night but found that it is a bit too “thick” for me! Yours look like it is just about at the right consistency. Mine came out just a bit like a “pudding” texture! If I do this next time, I will probably try to lessen the cornstarch amount that was called for in this recipe! So I guess I’m just going to sit here and keep starring at your delivious, smooth, velvty looking cream and wish mine would turn out like that!!!

    I’m a regular at your site so yes, I’m becoming your cyber stalker by now!

    Thanks for posting and for sharing!

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