Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Boston Cream Cakes from Lidia's Italy in America!

Dolcino di Boston alla Crema Pasticcera
We know Lidia Bastianich as godmother of Italian cuisine, and we have travelled with her in her television shows to her homeland to explore the rich culinary tapestry that Italy has to offer. But of course Lidia is also an American. Her family immigrated to America to have a better life, just as many Italians have.

Lidia's Italy in America is just that - a celebration of Italy in America. Italian families, communities and cooks from all over the country who have brought us the flavours of Italy and also assimilated the new flavours that the U.S. had to offer.

Italian-American cuisine is unique and varies from state to state, city to city. It is the food we originally fell in love with. Lidia's Italy in America shares over 175 simple and delicious recipes and just as many touching stories of the Italian-American experience.

And she also shares this recipe for Boston Cream Cakes. Italian? Not so much, but it was shared with her by Scialo Brothers Bakery in Rhode Island. And it bears a resemblance to Cassata, Italian Ice Cream Cake, page 318.
Either way, it is delicious. And the fact that you can make the pastry cream the day before? Perfect!

Lidia's Italy in America
by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich 
and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
Hardcover, 359 pages

Chapters include:
* Antipasti * Zuppe * Sandwiches and Pizza * Salads * Pasta * Vegetables and Sides * Seafood * Meat * Desserts *
A nice photo of my fingerprints too! These cupcakes will definitely have you licking yours.

Boston Cream Cake
Dolcino di Boston alla Crema Pasticcera

Boston cream cakes do not sound Italian, but this recipe was given to me by Italians. At Scialo Brothers Bakery in Rhode Island, we found trays upon trays of little chocolate- covered spheres. I thought they were some version of a cassata (a Sicilian domelike cake stuffed with ricotta cream), but instead they were individual Boston cream pies. The French chef Sanzian, who worked at the Parker House Hotel (now the Omni Parker House) in Boston is credited with having invented the Boston cream pie. Italian or not, these were delicious.

Makes 12

Make the pastry cream: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium pot. While whisking, pour in the milk. Set the pot over medium- low heat, and heat the mixture to just below boiling. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Remove the pot from heat, and pour the milk slowly into the eggs, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and stir constantly over medium- low heat until the mixture thickens and just begins to simmer. Immediately scrape the mixture into a clean bowl. Let it cool slightly, then cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap. Refrigerate several hours or overnight, until chilled and thickened.

Make the cakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a twelve-unit cupcake pan with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt onto a piece of parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Crack in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Stir in the olive oil, vanilla, and zest. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes, to lighten and smooth the batter. Mix in the flour in three additions on low speed, alternating with the orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour. Once everything has been added, beat the batter on high speed for about 20 seconds.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.


For The Pastry Cream

1⁄2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Pinch kosher salt
2 cups milk
2 large eggs

For The Cakes

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
3⁄4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

For The Glaze

2⁄3 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons dark rum
Pinch kosher salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Make the glaze: Combine the corn syrup, rum, salt, and 2 tablespoons water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Put the chopped chocolate in a heat- proof bowl, and pour the syrup over the chocolate. Stir until the glaze is smooth and shiny and all of the chocolate is melted. Let cool until thickened and just warm to the touch.

To assemble the cakes: Remove the cupcake liners from the cakes.
Split the cakes at the base of the cap with a serrated knife.

To finish: Invert one cake, and place the cake cap on a plate, cut side up. Spoon the pastry cream onto the cake top, then top with inverted cake bottom, like an upside-down mushroom. Spoon the hot chocolate glaze onto the base facing you, letting the glaze run down the sides of the cake, spooning on more if necessary. Repeat with the remaining filled cakes.

Excerpted from Lidia's Italy in America by Lidia Bastianich. Copyright © 2011 by Lidia Bastianich. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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