I’ve been pretty AWOL from blogging and social media this past week. Usually I’d insert a whiny rant here about how work is keeping me really busy or some other inane thing that sends me into a downward spiral of self-pity and depression. However, the reason for my absence is exciting news, and pretty damn adorable too:
The Husband and I are proud parents of a 10-week-old Maltese named Abigail Ass Kicker, Abby for short. I’ve never in my entire life been a pet person. I didn’t have a pet growing up. In fact, I’m extremely awkward and nervous around all small creatures (dogs, cats, children). The Husband, however, has always wanted a dog. I balked at this desire, since I’m a cold hearted bitch who doesn’t want my husband to be happy. I had a litany of reasons why we shouldn’t get one: they’re expensive; they require a ton of attention; I’m tired and stressed out enough as it is at the end of the day; we both have full time jobs, when will we have time to spend with a dog; it’s hard enough feeding the two of us and keeping our apartment non-bio-hazardous. You come up with the excuse, I’ve used it.
The Husband basically ignored me and started doing intense research into what kind of dog he wanted, where to get one, how to train it, working out a budget, etc. I caved. What can I say – I’m an incredibly weak willed woman.
We brought her home last Sunday and it’s been a roller coaster of a week. She’s the most precious thing ever. I’m totally going to become one of those people who constantly post photos of their dog on Facebook and gush over all the cute things she does. It has also been completely exhausting. She barks and cries every night, all night long, meaning we’ve both been seriously sleep deprived. I was walking around like a zombie most of the week.
So what does this have to do with Sunday Supper? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to talk about my puppy. Thankfully I made my offering for this week’s post before Abby joined the family, otherwise there’s no way I would’ve had something for today.
Sunday Supper is going old school, baby. Our theme: pick any retro recipe. Stay faithful to the original or modernize it for the 21st century. I chose to make Boston cream pie, one of my all-time favourite desserts. The name is misleading – it’s a cake, not pie. According to the (sometimes suspect) knower of all things, Wikipedia: this delicious dessert was “[c]reated by Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1856” and “this pudding and cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla flavored custard or crème pâtissière. The cake is topped with a chocolate glaze (such as ganache) and sometimes powdered sugar or a cherry.” My favourite part about the Boston cream pie’s history is that it was declared as the official dessert of Massachusetts in 1996. It’s actually a law. How awesome is that?! Maybe British Columbia can declare a national dessert and pass it out for free on major holidays. A girl can dream!
I chose different elements from different recipes to create my version. And to fancy it up for the 21st Century, I made an orange flavoured cake instead of the normal white/vanilla.
Orange Sour Cream Cake (adapted from Pastry Affair)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
zest of one orange
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter/grease two 8 inch cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts.
In a separate bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add it to the butter mixture. Lastly, pour in the milk and mix until the batter is uniform and smooth.
Pour the batter into your two cake pans. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Slide a knife around the sides of the pans to loosen the cake, then invert onto the racks to allow to cool to room temperature before assembly.
Vanilla Pastry Cream (source: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours p. 448)
2 cups whole milk (I used skim and it was fine)
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces at room temperature
Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, slowly drizzle about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture – this will temper or warm the yolks so that they won’t cook or scramble. Whisking the entire time, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously and constantly (seriously, do NOT stop whisking!), making sure to get into the corners of the pot, bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. It’s amazing how quickly the mixture thickens up.
Whisk in the vanilla. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they’re fully incorporated and the cream is smooth and silky. If the cream is not smooth and you can see lumps in it (likely cooked eggs), then press the pastry cream through a sieve. Scrape the cream into a bowl. To store, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and to prevent that gross skin from forming on top. Refrigerate until cold.
A couple of comments. Damn, whisking pastry cream is hard work! Or maybe I’m just a major wimp (most likely the latter). I was dying. The cream becomes so thick and you need to constantly whisk it (I cannot stress this enough). My arms were actually sore later that night, true story. Hell, no pain no gain, right? Hopefully I burned off some calories to justify eating two slices of this cake!
Dark Chocolate Ganache
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped fine
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp, cut into 1 inch cubes
I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate, given to me by my fabulous friend Alice of Hip Foodie Mom. We exchanged foodie packages for Christmas. I couldn’t believe how many amazing goodies she sent to me. I’ll be writing about it soon in a post because the items she sent me has given me some pretty cool ideas for future desserts.
Place the dark chocolate into a large, heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the whipping cream to a boil. Pour half of it into the chocolate and stir until it’s melted. Pour in the rest of the cream and stir until fully incorporated. Drop the butter in a few cubes at a time and mix until the butter is fully incorporated and the ganache is smooth and silky. I left the ganache out on the counter for a couple of hours to firm up a bit so that it’d be the perfect thick consistency for frosting the cake. If you don’t have the time, then you can put it in the fridge for about half an hour.
Take one layer of cake and pour all the pastry cream onto it. My one gripe with the refrigerated pastry cream was that it was all chunky. I actually microwaved it for about 30 seconds to loosen it up a bit but it was still pretty gelatinous. I think it would’ve looked much better if I had left the pastry cream on the counter to cool to room temperature and then assembled the cake. It didn’t alter the taste one bit – the pastry cream straight from the fridge was super silky on the tongue, but it didn’t look that great when I was making the cake.
Place the second layer of cake on top of the pastry cream. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and using an offset spatula, smooth it over the edges. Boston cream pies aren’t usually frosted this way but I needed to hide the hideousness of my pastry cream.
I brought this cake over to a friend’s for a dinner party and thankfully everyone enjoyed it. I absolutely loved it. The cake was soft, moist, and light, with a pleasing orange flavour that didn’t under or overwhelm. The pastry cream was smooth and velvety, and the dark chocolate ganache was the perfect complement in flavour and texture. Each element had the perfect level of sweetness. I had to give it all away to prevent myself from eating any more (because you know I would’ve finished this baby if it were in my fridge).
Take a nostalgic walk down memory lane by checking out the rest of this week’s fun ‘n funky retro recipes!
Sunday Supper Retro Appetizers:
- Irish Cheddar-Whiskey Fondue by girlichef
- She Devils: Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs by Ruffles & Truffles
Sunday Supper Retro Salads:
- Coca-Cola Salad by Magnolia Days
- Salmon Salad | Retro Tuna Salad by Family Foodie
- Ambrosia Salad by Simply Gourmet
- Romaine “Wedge” Salad with Hot Maple Bacon Dressing by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Carrot & Raisin Salad by The Roxx Box
- Sweet & Smoky Broccoli Salad by In The Kitchen with KP
Sunday Supper Retro Breads and Sandwiches:
- Italian Style Bread by The Meltaways
- Creamed Chipped Salmon Jerky on Toast by Pescetarian Journal
- Grown-Up Tuna Melts by Home Cooking Memories
- English Muffin Pizzas by Comfy Cuisine
- Patty Melt, Hand Cut Fries, & a Shake by Mooshu Jenne
- Grown-Up Grilled Cheese With Tomato Soup by Catholic Foodie
- Toast Topper #16: Grandma’s Mock Apricot Jam by What Smells So Good?
SundaySupper Main Dishes:
- Chicken Pot Pie Topped With Bacon Cheddar Biscuits by Chocolate Moosey
- Tuna Noodle Casserole by Country Girl in the Village
- Nana’s Marinated Beef Roast by Supper for a Steal
- Chorizo Scotch Eggs by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Chicken Maryland by Vintage Kitchen Notes
- Mushroom Stroganoff by Small Wallet Big Appetite
- Dairyfree Toast Hawaii by Galactosemia in PDX
- Porcupine Meatballs by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chicken Kiev by The Urban Mrs.
- Salmon Quiche with Preserved Lemon by Shockingly Delicious
- Steak Diane by Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends
- Fried Chicken only in the Oven by In the Kitchen with Audrey
- Hambak Steak a.k.a. Salisbury Steak by Kimchi Mom
- Retro-Redo: Homemade TV Dinner by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
- Kicked Up Meatloaf by Curious Cuisiniere
- Shrimp Scampi (a lighter version) by Kudos Kitchen
- Old-Fashioned Pork Chops by My Trials in the Kitchen
- Jägerschnitzel by Sustainable Dad
- Healthier Hamburger-Corn Noodle Casserole by The Weekend Gourmet
- Inspired by Tuna Noodle Casserole by Cookistry
- Chicken-N-Biscuits Pot Pie Casserole by The Messy Baker Blog
- Souper Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes by Mama.Mommy.Mom
- Meatloaf that will make you swoon and Datz the truth by Midlife Roadtrip
- Spaghetti with Currywurst Sauce by Masala Herb
- Tator Tot Casserole by NeighborFood
Sunday Supper Retro Sides and Veggies:
- Smokey Braised Red Cabbage by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Classic Corn Casserole by The Foodie Army Wife
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Balsamic by Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
- Classic Green Bean Casserole Redux by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Mem’s Broccoli Casserole by Momma’s Meals
Sunday Supper Retro Desserts and Cocktails:
- Peachy Keen Tutti-Frutti Jello by La Cocina de Leslie
- Old School Boozy Rum Cake by Webicurean
- Individual Baked Alaskas by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Rainbow Jello by Cravings of a Lunatic
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake by Noshing with the Nolands
- Pineapple Bars by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Creamy Dairy Free Fresh Orange Julius With Coconut Milk by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Refrigerator Strawberry Cheesecake by There and Back Again
- Frozen Pineapple Upside-Down Cake by Juanita’s Cocina
- Boston Cream Pie by Gotta Get Baked
- Coca-Cola Cupcakes by Daily Dish Recipes
- Jello Poke Cake by Flour On My Face
- Devil’s Food Cake by Maroc Mama
- Bread Pudding with Pecans by Basic and Delicious
- Victoria Sponge Cake by The Lovely Pantry
- A Chocolate Twist on the Classic Japanese Strawberry Shortcake by Ninja Baking
- Post War Apple Pudding by My Cute Bride
- Layered Mini Chocolate Banana Cakes by Big Bears Wife
- Raspberry Jam Cakes by Pippis in the Kitchen Again
- Cocktail: Moscow Mule by Crazy by Crazy Foodie Stunts
What fun to read the stories about the recipes! There’s lots of great food in the list. I admit I still make and enjoy many of them. Nice to see some updated versions too. Which one is your favorite?
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
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