Happy as a clam…
Arthur kept me up for most of the night, boisterously crashing around and showing off and with repeated spectacular flashes I began to wonder if he would ever let me get to sleep. I must confess I was slightly relieved that he was not quite on the scale that was first rumoured but impressive none the less…
I think I may have forgotten to mention as a carry on from my last postcard that :
a) Cooking for the party in London went very well and a jolly good time seemed to be had by all (rolled veal escalopes stuffed with ricotta and black olives might be a new summer party food favourite of mine).
b) I have headed across the pond for a few weeks and am now as happy as a jumping bean in Boston, Massachusetts
c) Arthur is a Tropical Storm that has been tormenting the East coast of the US.
On a recent trip to France I was chatting to the lady in the bakers about cooking and she asked me what kind of food I made. I said Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/British and some American influence.
“American she said “? Raising her eyebrow so much so I thought she may have been practising a Roger Moore impersonation. “Ha !”she said “Americans don’t have real food”
Well I have to say that French bread lady has been proved very wrong. In and around Boston there are some amazing produce and dishes. There are some of the best lobsters you will ever eat, clams that are super sweet and that come in a number of varieties (the happy looking steamer clam below is a new favourite that get steamed in beer then dipped in butter for serving), some fantastic local farmers markets, corn that is definitely some of the tastiest in the world and home of the Boston cream pie.
To celebrate the 4thJuly I thought I would make my first Boston Cream Pie. I had never made one so started looking up recipes. I promise you at least 70 % of the ones I found started with ‘take one packet of cake mix and a box of ready made custard’ which wasn’t quite what I was looking for. When I did find one that was more from scratch I had to read it several times over to get the various steps and although it only takes 18 minutes to cook it takes 30 mins to wash up all the pans you use to make it.
Was it worth it? I can’t say it will become a regular baking choice for me but with a light airy sponge, thick cold custard and a chocolaty rich topping it is delicious. So just in case you fancied a washing up extravaganza that comes with a glorious celebration cake this postcard recipe gives you the Boston Cream Pie.
This month also brings the start of my new commission as the cookery writer for The Field Magazine. A great publication for anyone interested in shooting, stalking, gun dogs, fishing and other rural pursuits. My recipes appear in the monthly magazine and will also appear online at http://www.thefield.co.uk .
Boston Cream pie
470 ml single cream
100g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
2 tbs cornflour
50g salted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat the cream with 60g of the sugar and the vanilla.
In a small bowl beat the yolks, the other 40g sugar and the cornflour.
When the cream has come to a simmer and the sugar has dissolved pour the cream onto the egg yolks whilst whisking then pour all the mixture back into the saucepan.
Keep whisking on a low heat until the mixture is thick.
Take off and transfer to a bowl. When cool cover with cling film and store in fridge till set ( at least 4 hours).
50 ml double cream
30g caster sugar
120g dark chocolate, chopped up
120g milk chocolate, chopped up
Heat the cream and sugar until it comes to a simmer.
Take off the heat then then stir in the chocolate/
It should all melt with in a couple of minutes.
Leave to cool and thicken giving it a whisk every 20 mins.
(It should take about 1 ½ hours to cool and thicken ).
100g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
3 tbs milk
50g salted butter
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs
Pre heat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two 9 inch cake tins.
Heat the butter and milk in a saucepan until it just comes to a simmer
In a bowl whisk the flour and baking powder together
Separate 3 of the eggs
Whisk the 3 whites with 75 g of the castor sugar until soft peak stage.
In another bowl whisk the other 2 eggs with the 3 egg yolks and the other 75g of caster sugar until thick ( best done with and electric whisk ).
Gently fold the egg whites into the beaten egg mix, fold in the flour then pour the warm milk/butter into one side and gently mix.
Gently pour into the cake tins and bake for 16 – 18 mins. (the cake should bounce back if lightly pressed)
When done take out the oven and immediately take out of the tin and cool on a cake rack.
To assemble the cake sandwich the sponges with the custard and top with the cooled thickened chocolate frosting and after you have finished the washing up you can ‘have a nice day’!
This cake keeps surprisingly well covered overnight in the fridge.