Boston Cream Pie welcome the new addition to our family.

Yesterday was Patriot's Day, when thousands of brave folk run the Boston Marathon.  Did I run?  No.  Did I bake Boston Cream Pies?  Yes!

Good thing I wasn't signed up for the race because the thing I've been longing for for years, the thing I'd finally received as a birthday gift in March (in part, a gift to myself after saving my ducets and one from my beloveds) had arrived in Vermont.

My Ilve range was sitting in a crate on a giant rig, waiting for me to unload it and get cooking...and baking.

With the help of some friends with patience and muscle, we got my beauty set up and running.

I broke it in from top to bottom.  First, I made a bechamel for homemade mac & cheese.  Waiting for this puppy had made me damn hungry.  After, I moved on to whipping up a vanilla pastry cream.  Boy, those burners are dreamy.

I moved on to my little cakes.  This is the first time I've worked with an oven, and I've worked on every kind from professional to residential, that baked evenly.  No hot spots.  Dead-on even browning.

As if I needed another excuse to bake and yet I now have one.


(makes 20 filled hearts)

For the cake

4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup low fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon neutral oil (like canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Spray a silicone heart mold with baker's non-stick spray.  Place on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Add the oil and vanilla to the buttermilk and stir.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light, airy and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping the bowl between each addition.

Alternate additions of the flour and buttermilk mixtures with the mixer running on low.  Mix until incorporated.

Fill each cavity half way.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently poked.  Allow to cool completely.

For the filling

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash salt

1/2 cup heavy cream (to finish)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

In a saucepan, combine the milk and 1/2 cup cream.  Allow to barely come to a simmer over low heat.

In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk until smooth.  Slowly add the hot milk mixture into the running mixer to combine.  Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan, being careful to scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl to capture any stray bits of cornstarch.

Transfer the saucepan back to the stovetop and whisk over low heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise.  Immediately stir in the butter and continue stirring until incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the exposed pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Once cool, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream to stiff peaks.  Give the pastry cream a good stir and then gently fold in the whipped cream.

To finish

Cut the cooled hearts in half.

Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a large tip (star or plain) with the pastry cream and pipe the cream onto the bottom half of the cut hearts.  Freeze the hearts with the pastry cream for 10 minutes to set and then gently place the heart top onto the piped pastry cream.  Place the assembled hearts in the refrigerator while you make the ganache.

For the ganache

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70%), finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional.  It helps keeps the ganache shiny)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch salt

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer and then immediately pour over the chocolate.  Allow to sit, undisturbed, for a minute.  Add the butter and salt,  then whisk until smooth.

Spoon a hearty tablespoon of  ganache on top of each assembled heart.  Serve immediately.

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