Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Boston Cream Pie "Tarts"

Boston Cream Pie "Tarts" - made August 7, 2016
I got the idea for this watching one of those short videos where they make a “simple” recipe in 30 seconds. I just scroll past most videos but there’s something about those cooking and baking ones that suck me in like ice cream on a hot day. As if I needed that excuse.

The original video called for using a sugar cookie mix to make the crust and a custard for the filling. Being me, I eschewed the mix and went for homemade tart shells from my recipe for Butter Pecan Tartlets. And since custard isn’t my thing but I love pastry cream, I also subbed in my recipe for homemade pastry cream. About the only thing I stayed faithful to was the hot fudge and that I bought from Trader Joe’s.
Given that, this was really easy to put together. Mix the crust, pat into mini tart shells or mini muffin tins, bake and let cool. While the shells are baking and cooling, make the pastry cream. You can also get fancy and add coconut to the pastry cream if you’re so inclined. It takes it a step further from the concept of a Boston Cream Pie but it’s your dessert; make what works for you. If you want to be more of a Boston Cream Pie purist, you could make mini vanilla cakes instead of mini tart shells.

I liked the tart shells, partly to get more use out of my tart pan and partly because they’re just easier to handle. I had a certain vision in my head for how these would look but I only partially achieved it. Tart shells – check. Pastry cream – check. Filling the tart shells with pastry cream – check again. Where my vision started to falter is I underestimated how much the hot fudge would not adhere to the pastry cream. I warmed it up just slightly so it would pour more easily but even so, while it initially covered the pastry cream filling, it then went on to slide over the sides and leave only a thin film of fudge on top of the pastry cream.

The end result after more than a few minutes wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing to say the least. More like “messy”. If you like Boston cream pie, it was still a decent riff on one, especially those who struggle with the cognitive dissonance that Boston cream pie isn’t actually a pie but a cake. This tries to get to the pie roots by using a “pie” shell. The only thing with this though is you pretty much have to serve it right after you make it. Pastry cream gets a “skin” if left out in the air for too long and since the fudge refused to blanket it the way I wanted, it wasn’t much help to protect the pastry cream and keep the skin from forming. You can serve these chilled, which is a good way to preserve the cream but it will make your hot fudge a bit more solid and chewy. If I make these again, I would use less hot fudge and not warm it as much so it’ll stay put once I pour it over the top of the tarts.
Tart Shell (make the tart shell recipe only)

Pastry Cream (make a half recipe)

Hot Fudge (I used the jar from Trader Joe's)
  1. Make a full recipe of the tart shells. I got 12 mini tarts and 5 mini muffin-sized shells out of 1 recipe. Bake until shells are golden brown around the edges. Cool completely.
  2. While the tart shells are baking and cooling, make a half recipe of the pastry cream. Cover directly with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator to cool.
  3. When ready to assemble, pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the tart shells, filling to the top. Pour slightly (very slightly) warmed-up hot fudge over the center of the filled shells. Serve immediately.

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