Boston Cream Pie |A Pie in Cake's Clothing
1/4 cup flour1 tablespoon (1 envelope) gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg whites
4 tablespoons sugar
Split the vanilla bean to expose the seeds. Put it and the milk in a saucepan over medium low heat and cook only until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool. In a separate, heavy, non-aluminum saucepan, beat the 1/2 cup sugar with the egg yolks until well combined, then beat in the flour. Cook, stirring, over very low heat, until it starts to thicken. Pour in the milk in a thin stream, beating all the while. Add the vanilla bean. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is so thick it holds the path of the spoon. (It will do nothing for quite a while, then suddenly stiffen up, so don’t go wandering off and forgetting to stir or you’ll get wicked lumps.) Soften the gelatin in the water, then stir it into the thickened custard. Be sure the gelatin is completely dissolved, then turn off the heat. Stir from time to time as the custard cools to release steam that would thin it. When the custard has cooled, chill it. While it’s chilling, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Beat the egg whites until they start to thicken, then slowly add the sugar. Keep beating until you have a shiny meringue that forms slightly stiffer peaks than the whipped cream. By now the custard should be starting to set. Snatch it from the refrigerator and beat in the meringue. As soon as that’s incorporated, remove the vanilla bean and fold in the whipped cream. Again chill the filling until almost set — a matter of a few minutes only. Put the bottom cake layer on a serving platter. Pile on the filling and spread it to within an inch of the edge. Apply the iced top layer, pressing gently to spread the cream. Chill the cake until the filling is completely set — at least 3 hours, and gobble it up within the day.
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