Sometimes I curse myself for my own ignorance. When I read about the DB's October challenge, I had never heard of a Bostini Cream Pie before... and glancing (at irritably quick speed) through the recipe I couldn't really picture this dessert at all. Mary was raving about it and I had no reason to doubt her tastebuds, but I did. For a whole month. It was a combination of my own ignorance, the fact that I wasn't sure what the whole dessert should look like and the fact that the sponge recipe contained oil (!) and orange juice (!!!!). Cup measures don't come natural to me after years and years of baking and living in an "imperial" country, and I am still not instantly converting cups to metric. Plus oil in baking is unheard of where I grew up so I heard alarmbells ringing all over the shop. I just didn't warm to the recipe at all. Which is why I kept pushing it out. Until the very last moment.
With a big weekend behind me, it was only this morning that I (still somewhat reluctantly) trod down to the kitchen, rolled my sleeves up and got my hands dirty. Minute by minute my mood changed as I realised there was barely 20 grams of oil, the grated orange zest gave off a beautifully fresh smell and the vanilla custard thickened nicely... already, I thought that the recipe "wasn't that bad after all" - but when I slid the first spoon into my mouth and tasted that slightly warm custard with the incredibly soft, fluffy and moist sponge on top, complemented with some smooth and creamy chocolate sauce on top, I was in heaven. It must have been in that very moment that the skies opened up and after a week of miserable rain sent down all the sunshine they had stored up for all that time. Beautiful. Spoon-lickingly good.
Using one of the few wild cards this month's host gave us, I halved the recipe. I am also giving you metric measures, but the instructions are as per Mary's original challenge. And, always looking for new finger-food ideas, I tried my luck at presenting this (as I now know) amazing dessert on individual spoons, rather than in a bowl. The sponge is hard to cut neatly, but then who needs neat when the taste is gorgeous.
I curse my ignorance. For had I trusted Mary like a usually do, I would have had a chance to eat this dessert every day since the 1st of October. But tomorrow, I'll have to move on to other (no doubt amazing) things. For once, I intend to complete my challenge at the first opportunity that presents itself. Just so I don't miss out on any finger-lickingly good moments of dessert heaven again.
Bostini Cream Pie Spoons
(yields ca. 20 spoons)
For the custard:
90 ml whole milk
10 g corn starch
½ egg (30 g)*
4 egg yolks
350 g single or whipping cream
seeds of ½ vanilla pod
35 g icing sugar
For the sponge:
110 g pastry flour
75 g caster sugar
5 g baking powder
1 pinch salt
25 g mild oil (I used groundnut)
2 egg yolks
90 g orange juice
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest (unwaxed orange)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
For the chocolate sauce:
125 g butter
125 g dark chocolate
Mint leaves for decorating (optional)
(my changes from original recipe in italics)
To prepare the custard:
Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolk, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. 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. Put aside to cool.
To prepare the chiffon cake:
Preheat the oven to 175 C.
Butter a 25 x 30 cm oven-proof dish.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder 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 buttered dish with the batter. Bake approximately 25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cover the cake to keep moist.
To prepare 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. Keep warm.
Spoon about 1 tbsp of custard into each serving spoon, cut out a tsp full of the sponge to sit on top. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and decorate with a mint leaf, should you wish.
* to halve an egg, break an egg into a bowl, beat it up with a fork, then weigh and use half the amount.