Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston (creme de menthe) Cream Pie

I can't do anything, so I'm doing this.

For obvious reasons, my mind was on Boston this past week. From the initial shock and confusion, to sorrow, then fear and disbelief, and finally to relief, I joined the rest of the country in watching the almost surreal events unfold before me on television and the internet. But that's about all I could do. I could think feel pray worry wonder speculate and surmise, but I couldn't do anything. Actions didn't yield results, gestures felt empty. Yet life continued, as it is wont to do - I went to work, I went out with friends, I took silly pictures of my feet.

I can't do anything, so I'm doing this.

So I made a pie - a Boston cream pie (with non-alcoholic creme de menthe custard), to be exact. Did it change history? Did it to anything to benefit the greater good? Did it put an end to evil and hatred in the world? Of course not. But did it occupy my hands and provide me a tangible way to offer up my thoughts to the policemen, residents, and victims of Boston? Absolutely.

For the custard:
2 oz. Creme de Menthe loose leaf tea - I get mine from the wonderful DAVIDsTEA
1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
7 egg yolks
1/2 cup corn starch

For the ganache:
1 cup dark chocolate morsels
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp light corn syrup

While Boston Cream Pie is traditionally made with custard or cream sandwiched between two or more layers of yellow cake, I chose to go a different route, turning it into more of an actual pie. Instead of cake batter, use:
1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust

How To
In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the milk and vanilla and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep the tea for 10-15 minutes. Use a filter or tea infuser to ensure that no leaves escape into the milk. While the tea is steeping, whisk together the sugar, salt, starch, egg, and egg yolks.

When the tea is done (the longer you steep it, the stronger the taste will be), temper the egg mixture with the milk by slowly pouring and mixing small portions of the milk into the eggs. When all the milk has been combined with the egg mixture, pour everything back into the saucepan and heat over low heat, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then continue at this temperature for about another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. I found that continuing to whisk the custard even as it's cooling helps to create a smooth consistency as it begins to congeal.

Pour the cooled mixture into the graham cracker crust. Gently twisting the pie pan back and forth will help the custard settle nicely and evenly. Cover with saran warp and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready, prepare the chocolate topping by heating the milk and corn syrup over low heat. Bring to a simmer and stir in the chocolate pieces. Working quickly, stir completely to ensure that all the chocolate has melted and then pour over the chilled custard to create a thin layer. Refrigerate again for at least an hour. Serve cold.

Thanks to Serious Eats and Chasing Delicious for the inspiration!

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