Tricia’s Birthday Dinner…Dessert (Boston Cream Pie)

This is my butcher block.  i bought it in London, Ontario and brought it all the way up here to be my main countertop.  There is a constant changeover of restaurants in London.  I think it is some kind of perfect test market for food products.  Not sure why, but pretty sure i read it somewhere.  I will show you the whole kitchen once it is fully organized.

Back to the butcher block.  It had big steel legs and was stored in a restaurant basement.  If i could get it out of there, it was mine for $300, which is outrageously cheap for an old quality butcher block.  Took a lot of work to get all the old crud off it and i learned new skills, but it was worth it!  Very cool.

Well…let’s make our pie which, in fact, is a cake.  This is how my recipes look when i am ready to go.  Special notes along the way so i don’t forget things.  And if i can prepare anything ahead, that is a definite bonus.  The recipe is here: and it is from the good people at Cook’s Illustrated, who are actual food scientists.  I recommend the site, as it has tons of amazing stuff.  I get the monthly cooking magazine.  Great!

Ok…get your stuff gathered together for the pastry cream.  It will not turn out as well if you pinch and dash.  Trust me on this.  i saved it, but it took some work.  Don’t be John.

Pastry Cream

1 1⁄2  cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2  teaspoons baking powder

3⁄4  teaspoon table salt

3⁄4  cup whole milk

6 t ablespoons unsalted butter

1 1⁄2  teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 1⁄2  cups sugar

Heat the half-and-half cream in the saucepan over medium heat until it just simmers and remove from heat.

Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth.  Add the flour to the yolk mixture and whisk until incorporated.


Remove half-and-half from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add ½ cup to yolk mixture to temper.  It will look like this.

Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to half-and-half in saucepan.  Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 8 minutes.  Time is important here, so guessing may cause problems.

Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is melted and incorporated. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.  Done the pastry cream.  If it seems a little thin, just add a little more flour and return to heat to cook the starch.  Put it in the fridge and cover the surface with parchment paper (so you don’t get pudding skin) for at least 2 hours and up to 24


1 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon table salt
3⁄4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1⁄2 cups sugar

i buttered some parchment paper and put it in the bottom of the pan.  Do this now, please.  It does not need to cover the whole bottom, but the cake WILL stick if you do not do this, even with a non stick pan.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl.

Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted.

Remove from heat, add vanilla, and cover to keep warm.

In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar at high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Go ahead and whisk it by hand if you like, but it will be a lot of work.

Remove the mixer bowl from stand.

Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until incorporated.

Add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.

Working quickly, divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake until tops are light brown and toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.

Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool -completely in pan, about 2 hours. Run small plastic knife around edge of pans, then invert cakes onto wire rack. Carefully remove parchment, then re-invert cakes.

Get your pastry cream, take off the paper and give it a quick spin with the whisk to loosen it up for spreading.  This is an offset spatula.  i will pick one up sometime, but i do not have one now.  Great tool for spreading stuff.

i used a smaller version and it worked fine.  A large spoon might have been ok.

Spread the pastry  cream and top with other cake.  Press down lightly to settle it in place.  Refrigerate while you prepare the glaze.


1⁄2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat.

Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk gently until smooth, 30 seconds. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

Pour glaze onto center of cake. Use offset spatula (damn again) to spread glaze to edge of cake, letting excess drip decoratively down sides.

Chill finished cake 3 hours before slicing. Cake may be made up to 24 hours before serving.

Here is mine.  It tasted amazing, by the way.  Tricia got to take the rest home, except for a small slice i saved for breakfast.

And here is Tricia.  We even got to sing Happy Birthday.  The fellowship was terrific!  A great evening all round.

That was fun.



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