Monday, January 21, 2013

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

When I think of Boston I think of the Red Sox, the Patriots & Tom Brady (gross), the cold, the city's ridiculously confusing layout (what's wrong with a simple grid?), Kenny Chesney's song "Please Come to Boston" or "Boston" if that's more your style. Any Kenny Chesney suits my fancy just fine. Yum. I also think of Boston Cream Pie, which isn't technically pie. It's more like a cake. Either way, I've never had it. It's always looked quite appealing and delicious, but for whatever reason, I've never actually tried it. Until now, and these boston cream pie cupcakes.

I've been working up the post-holiday energy to make these because they looked like, and turned out to be a lot of work. There were a lot of steps that involved dirtying and then washing a lot of dishes. I hate washing dishes. If I had someone to clean up the mess I make while baking I would bake all the time. But I don't, and therefore I don't always have the energy or desire to clean up my mess.

To make these cupcakes I had roughly a whole day to dedicate to the process and the energy to do it. I worked early in the morning and set to baking just about as soon as I got home. Actually, I started during the 1st intermission of the Flyers-Sabres game, go Sabres! First step was to make the cupcakes, which wasn't difficult, it just involved a lot of steps, and as previously mentioned, a lot of dishes. Luckily it wasn't too much grunt work, I let my stand mixer take care of that for me. Love that thing.

When the batter was done I filled the cupcake tins about halfway and baked them for 15 total minutes with a turn halfway through the baking time. In this case the first half of the baking time was 8 minutes, the second was 7. After the cupcakes were done baking I set them on a wire rack to cool and proceeded to watch the rest of the 2nd period of the Sabres game. Hockey is back people.

In the 2nd intermission I started working on the pastry cream (or vanilla cream as Martha calls it, this is a little different than the recipe in her cookbook). This wasn't really difficult either, but again, more dishes. I've never made pastry cream before, but it was quite easy, you just have to babysit it. A lot of stirring, watching, waiting and wondering if you're messing it up. When I thought I had achieved the thickness I was supposed to I strained the cream through a sieve and covered the it with plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. While it set, I watched the Sabres win, watched the beginning of the 49ers-Falcons game and fell asleep for a little while. It happens when you've been up since 3am and worked an 8-hour day. I can't help it.

When I woke up from my little afternoon siesta my husband came home and naturally asked what was for dinner. I told him I would start making dinner after I finished the cupcakes. Domestic goddess, that's me! The last step to the cupcakes was to make the chocolate-ganache glaze, something I have done several times before with other cupcakes in this book. It's not difficult to make, it's just more dishes to dirty and then wash. Before I started chopping the chocolate for the ganache I cut each cupcake in half so it would be ready to be filled and ganached (technical term) once all the components were done.

While I waited for the heavy cream and corn syrup to come to a simmer I started spreading the pastry cream onto the halved cupcakes. I put roughly a tablespoon of cream on each one (I had 16 total cupcakes) and had way more pastry cream than I needed. The recipe said I would get 20 cupcakes, but I think I still would have had extra pastry cream even if I had gotten that many cupcakes. When the ganache was done I spooned about a tablespoon on top of each cupcake and tried to spread it so it would drip down the sides. I also had way more ganache than I needed as well. I suppose I could have added more to the top of each cupcake, but I didn't want the ganache to overpower the rest of the cupcake so I cautioned toward the lighter side.

In hindsight I probably could have added both a little more pastry cream and ganache to each of the cupcakes, but part of me likes to believe that less is more. I didn't want them to be little messes of cupcake, pastry cream and ganache. I thought they turned out to be quite tasty and other than all the work and dishes, I enjoyed my first boston cream pie experience. That said, if I ever want it again, there's a good chance I'll forgo the work and let someone else make it for me.