Daring Bakers, October: Bostini Cream Pie

At the beginning of every month, a group of blogging bakers of all ability levels called the Daring Bakers are issued a challenge by the month's host. At the end of the month, on the same day, all of the participating Daring Bakers post their results. This month's challenge was my first, and I had an incredibly great time participating!


I was nervous and excited when I finally decided to ask to become a Daring Baker, and the same feelings just intensified when I found out that my first challenge would be the Bostini Cream Pie featured at San Francisco’s Scala’s Bistro, as created by Dana Scala and Kurtis L. Baguley. It's a cold bed of vanilla bean custard under a delicate, fluffy, orange chiffon cake, topped off with a healthy drizzle of warm chocolate sauce. Egads! This month’s host, Mary of Alpineberry, a long-time fan of the dessert, chose a fabulous recipe!

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

My biggest worry about being a Daring Baker is becoming a Daring Eater, too. I love baked goods, way too much, in fact, and I can’t keep sugary and carby sweets in the house. Thus, I decided to fatten up my friends, instead; to celebrate my first Daring Bakers challenge, I hosted the first monthly Salads and Sweets Party (which may become the Soups and Sweets Party in the winter months). With party plans in mind, I had to be careful about planning and time management.

I was totally enamored with the sticky buns challenge that the DBers had done the previous month, so I decided to serve those at my party, as well. I made the dough for that the day before and retarded the buns in the fridge so all I’d have to do for them the next morning was let them warm and proof. The salads were either too simple to fuss over or also prepared the previous day. That left the entire morning open to work on the Bostini.

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

The cake came together really well, though my whites didn't want to peak for awhile. I think it would've been worse if they hadn’t been room temperature. In my early morning paranoia, I crept out of bed and brought the eggs I’d need out so they could warm, then went back to bed. I regretted that the eggs were mostly from a new carton. I seem to have better luck whipping older eggs to peaks than fresh ones. I think the cake was the only thing I could've made ahead of time as long as I covered it well, since I was afraid that custard made too early would get too firm. I didn’t think of it until it was too late into the night, though, and I didn’t have the nerve to stay up, bake, cool, then wrap the cake. Although the recipe directed to cook the batter in custard cups or large muffin liners, I’d read that the dessert was large, and I didn’t want to overload my guests. I also knew that there’d be enough for seconds if they wanted them. I cooked most of the batter in cupcake liners, some in the cupcake pan without liners, and the rest in a jelly roll pan. I had a lot of cake leftover, so I cocooned the leftover cupcakes and the jelly roll cake in saran wrap and foil, and froze them for later projects. I’ve since had one of the cupcakes, warmed to room temperature, and it’s just about as good as the day I made it.

I had a hiccup with the custard when I realized I didn't buy enough cream, but I knew I didn't want to top off my custard cups, so that was fine. I was going to try to keep the dessert self-contained, served just in the ramekins, so I wanted some gutter room for the chocolate sauce I’d poor on top to finish the dessert.

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

Back to the custard, though--I had an anxious moment when I was trying to take a picture of the custard at nape stage and it almost got too thick on me. I don’t know why capturing the nape the moment it stepped in the door was so important. I just remember all the times in cooking school when we’d all sit around the stoves, staring at the backs of spoons, drawing our fingers across them over and over while our crème anglais, then turned to custard, then turned to vanilla bean frittatas. Thank goodness for strainers, then and now! I caught a few sad lumps while straining. I was nervous when I served the dessert to one of my friends who hates custard when it tastes like eggs, which often happens when it's overcooked, but she said it tasted great. Whew! I need to remember to "stare and stir" once I add the egg mixture.

I was afraid that the chocolate would drown out the cake, so I tried to go light on the sauce, but I needn’t have worried. The cake stood out well. Personally, I was happy with my proportions.

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie
Thanks for taking pictures, Chris!

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

I noticed that it's not a dessert that waits for anyone. I think the temperature ranges help make it fabulous--cold custard, room temp. cake, and warm chocolate. I tried a plated dessert an hour later, and it was an entirely different dessert, and not all that impressive. I was bummed out because I'd plated one for my brother, who’d be hours late. Since it's a custard dessert, I couldn't leave it out. I was sure it would be sad after coming out of the fridge. Then, I had a taste of one from the fridge, and it wasn’t bad at all! It reminded me of the cold Ho-Ho snack cake a friend once gave me as a kid (my mom didn't buy that stuff), only a hundred times better. =) The chocolate glaze hardened up into a nice shell, the cake didn't dry out, I guess because I had the whole dessert covered, and the custard was cold, as it should be. Even my candied orange peel stayed nice and crispy!

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie
Another Chris picture.

While the desserts I served my guests looked just as the recipe directed, once my guests went home, I played with some cutouts from the jelly roll sheet. I didn’t want a huge cylinder full of custard, but something that more resembled a ... well, a tiny pie, I guess.

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

It’s like a custard pot. =)

Then I gave my custard pot a lid. The chocolate had cooled a bit by then, so it was more spreadable than pourable, which was fine by me—more to lick off the spoon! Just kidding. Okay, not, I’m lying. But I didn’t double dip the spoon, okay?

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

And then I gave my lid a handle, or a chapeau couture. Something yummy, in any case.

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

I also tried a more direct approach, which quickly became the Leaning Tower of Bostini.

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

In the end, everyone enjoyed the Bostinis, especially me! And I enjoyed a cook’s reward the next day. ;) What could it be—a tiny bowl filled with solid chocolate?

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

*ker-rack!* No! It’s some nice, cold, Ho-Ho-Ding-Dong dessert!

DB Oct07-Bostini cream pie

Who’s a lucky Daring Baker? This lady, that’s who. Visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see more, because you know you have room for more!


The Custard
3/4 cup whole milk
2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 whole egg, beaten
9 egg yolks, beaten
3 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
The Orange Chiffon
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup extra-fine sugar
11/3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon 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 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
The Chocolate Glaze
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter
INSTRUCTIONS: To prepare the custard: 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. 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.
To prepare the chiffons: Preheat the oven to 325°. 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 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.
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. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.
To assemble: 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.
Serves 8
Per serving: 1,170 calories, 15 g protein, 75 g carbohydrate, 93 g fat (50 g saturated), 561 mg cholesterol, 275 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.


kellypea said…
Congrats on your first challenge! And nice work. Looks like you have a blast. What a great idea to have the Salad & Sweets night. I just may have to do that since I didn't halve the recipe so have TONS of it left.
Anne said…
Congratulations on finishing your first challenge! You did a great job. I love the photos!
Pille said…
I love the custard pots - very inventive! Well done for completing the first challenge successfully!
Marie said…
Ohhh, your Bostini's look so good! I love the one with the little hat on top! I had so much fun doing this challenge myself, and like you it was my first. I guess that makes us Daring Baker Virgins no more! We are well and truly broken in!
glamah16 said…
You rock. I love all of your work on this one.
Anne said…
Lovely creations! I liked the idea of placing it inside the cake. Glad you are a DB :)
Julius said…
Hi Julie,

Your post is hilarious! That bit about getting vanilla bean fritata within seconds after just acquiring that perfect nape. New word for me by the way - nape. I think I'll throw that in conversation as soon as possible.

I almost served my bostini like you did - cut in half, filled, with a chocolate covered cake lid. Great minds must think alike. We even have the same approach in maintaining our waistlines - we fatten our friends instead.

Your bostini is *beautiful*!

Annemarie said…
Very, very daring of you to try and take a picture at nape stage - it could have all gone so wrong! Lovely little cut-out Bostini you made, and you essentially created one of the great British cookies, a Jaffa Cake. You should be very proud. :)
Christina said…
I love the custard pots, what a brilliant idea! I do have to say that I got the idea to refrigerate mine from reading your post and it came out wonderfully.

Is that why my custard was on the eggy side, because it was a bit overcooked? I didn't know that!
Susan said…
Beautiful job. The candied peel is a lovely touch.
Brilynn said…
Well done, I love the candied orange peel on top!
Katie said…
Congratulations on your first challange. Your bostini look wonderful. I love the candied orange on top - lovely
Deborah said…
Wonderful job on your first challenge! They look wonderful!
Anita said…
So creative! I love the little "pot" you made, so elegant looking!
Anonymous said…
That last one looks so yummy :)
Belinda said…
Alright, I have to say, I LOVE Salad and Sweets Night to fatten up unsuspecting friends! :-) And oh my goodness, did you ever do a GREAT job with your first challenge! You already look like a Daring Bakers pro. :-) Beautifully presented Bostinis, and smashing photos too.
Andrea said…
Great job! I love how you played around with the dessert, very Daring Bakeresque. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!
slush said…
All your 'tinis look delish! I particularly love the leaning tower. TOO cute, Great job!
breadchick said…
Great job on your first challenge and you made is sound so easy!!! I love the way you decorated the chocolate top with citrus!!
I love your custard pot by the way, and the orange zest makes it wayyy too yummy! Excellent job!
Michelle said…
I love the way you played around with the presentation of the Bostini...very yummy and creative. I can't wait to see your next challenge completed.
BC said…
My big Bostini hardened the same way but when I cracked the top there was a gush of runny custard. It was the same gusher thrill I'd have as a kid going to school. We'd jump on frozen puddles and hope we wouldn't get our feet wet when the ice broke and water spurted up at us.

Custard's much nicer.
Carrie said…
I love your commentary. You make the bostinis sound as good as they look!
April said…
Great job on completing your first challenge!! They look amazing!
Simona said…
I just love what you did, especially the custard pot: brilliant!
Inne said…
Your bostinis look great, well done on your first challenge. I love the idea of having salad/soup and sweets parties!
Sheltie Girl said…
You did a wonderful job on your bostinis. I loved the bostini pot presentation...simply beautiful.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go
Jen Yu said…
Custard pot is brilliant!

I laughed so hard when you said you were worried about becoming a Daring Eater :)

Great that you shared the love with friends - awesome job.

jen at use real butter
skrockodile said…
The tiny pie (with lid) version is fab - that's a much more reasonably portioned and elegant version! Love how you drizzled the chocolate on the top - very neat job!
skrockodile said…
The tiny pie (with lid) version is fab - that's a much more reasonably portioned and elegant version! Love how you drizzled the chocolate on the top - very neat job!
Jennywenny said…
I'm glad I'm not the only one a little concerned about all these desserts and my weight, its only once a month though I guess!!

Love the presentation, they were very uniform!
Jennywenny said…
I'm glad I'm not the only one a little concerned about all these desserts and my weight, its only once a month though I guess!!

Love the presentation, they were very uniform!
Welcome to the daring bakers! I love the mini pie version!
Congratulations! Your pies look very dainty and extremely yummy! I particularly love the cylinder-shaped ones!


Most excellent Julie Ann and the *ker-rack!* on the Ho-Ho-Ding_Dong, I kind of think that's a sure sign of a Daring Baker!
Kevin said…
Your bostinis look really good. I like the candied orange. Nice chocolate drizzle on the custard pots. I like the idea of placing a bowl in the freezer for a while to solidify the chocolate layer on top and chill everything else.
Ivonne said…
What a great job! Congratulations on completing your first challenge!
Tartelette said…
I love all your different plating ideas. You did a mighty fine job on your first challenge! Glad to have you with us!
Claire said…
Great first challenge. I take the same theory as you...bake and share with OTHERS! :-)
Dolores said…
Salads (or soups) and Sweets parties... I am so-oooo taking that idea and making it my own! What a wonderful way to employ the products of these challenges without sending the treadmill into over-drive. Thank you, thank you for sharing that!
they all look great, well done on finishing your first challenge. You've figured out the daring eating part. It's best to have a once a month dessert party with lo9ads of guests.
too cute! i love the little "pots" with the hidden custard! great work on the challenge
Laura said…
The leaning tower of bostini is my favourite I'd have it demolished in two seconds flat!
Elisabeth said…
Oh, did you ever do a nice job. I loved how you did the little cut-outs. Cute! Sounds like a fun idea to have a salad and dessert get-together.

On to the next challenge!
marias23 said…
Hey Julie! Can I just say that I love the way you played around with the presentation? My two favorites? The little cake "pot" filled with custard and the ho-ho-ding-dong dessert! Wonderful job!
Lis said…
Julie!!! I love how you plated it after your friends left.. now that dessert looks like restaurant quality! Well done!

Welcome to the DBer's! =)

Brittany said…
Great job, and what a fun way to go through the DB challenge "product". Wish I'd thought of doing something like that. My husband and I split one, and the rest just kind of hung out it the fridge for a week. Once Julius posted the calorie count, I was glad I ignored 'em. EeEK!
Congrats on your fist challenge and creative party!
Kelly-Jane said…
Well done on your first challenge, and welcome to the Dbs!
Madeleine said…
Que bonitas fotos de tus bostini!! me encantó las diferentes formas en que los presentaste!!!

Y que bueno que invitaste a tus amigos a compartir tan ricos platillos!! así te ayudan a no engordar! jeje! :)

Mansi Desai said…
Julie! this is simply amazing!!! It came out so well...very very well done girl!
SimplePleasures said…
julie, love your custard pot & your cold, Ho-Ho-Ding-Dong dessert! It seems I've died and went to heaven with that indulgent dessert
Great idea to make the sponge the bowl! I'm going to steal that....tee hee hee
Dharm said…
Great pics, great result! I love your ho-ho-ding-dong!! Well done! :)
Gabi said…
I completely love your custard pot! I love how you played with different ways to present this in different proportions and I love your candied orange peel!
Amy said…
Looks fabulous! Great job!
kitten said…
I love your presentation and my favorite is the little cup of custard underneath the hardened chocolate top. That looked sooooo good. In response to your question on my blog, I put a sliver of coconut on top of my bostini because I substituted coconut milk for the orange juice.
Hey, your Bostini looks great!!!
Wish I could sample it...
Thanks for the nice comments on my blog.
Paz said…
Lovely! Lovely! Love your post! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

eatme_delicious said…
I love the idea of a salads and sweets party! That way you can have lots of room for sweet things, but still eat something healthy. I didn't know that custard tasting like eggs was a result of overcooking. I just had a lime custard tart today that I didn't like because it tasted too egg-y and I wasn't sure why, so thanks! I liked the cake better after being in the fridge so I don't see how your bother could've been disappointed with it. :) The variations you did on presentation are great, and in the original presentation I like how the cakes are smaller than the ramekins.
Peabody said…
Love the custard pot...cute idea.

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