Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Washington Cream Pie

This is one of those cakes that you make, eat it all, and two weeks later you're craving it again.  There's just something about it that makes you want to stuff it all in your face.  I think I made it at least 4 times in one month.  It's that good. 

And the custard is simply my favorite- you can use it to fill cakes, lighten it with whipped cream and use it in a trifle, sandwich between cookies, or use it to fill cream puffs.  And another plus is it takes less than 10 minutes to make (okay, so maybe that's the real reason I love it so much).

And who calls a cake a pie?  It really is quite confusing.

The way I usually make this is make the white cake several days in advance and throw it in the freezer.  The custard I also usually make ahead, 1 day in advance.  That way, all I have to do is assemble it the day of.  And that way it tastes the freshest- it really is only good the day it is made.  So don't assemble it the day before.  

Washington Cream Pie
From Cooks Country
This pie is best the day it's made.


2 (8-inch) white cake rounds (see related recipe or use your own) (you'll notice the related recipe makes 3 layers, just eat the third one or freeze it for another time)
2/3 cup raspberry jam or preserves (I prefer seedless)
1 1/2 cups vanilla custard, chilled (see related recipe or use your own)
1 recipe Frosting (see related recipe or use your own)

To assemble: 
Slice each cake layer in half horizontally. Spread 1/3 cup jam over each bottom half and replace top half. Place 1 filled cake layer on cake serving platter. Spread custard in even layer over top. Place second filled cake layer on top of custard. Spread thin layer of chocolate icing over top and sides of cake. Chill until icing has set, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. Slice and serve.

White Layer Cake
(can be made 1 day ahead, or longer if you freeze it)

Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting pans
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, dust with flour, and tap pans to remove excess flour. Mix milk, egg whites, and vanilla together in 2-cup measuring cup.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl of electric mixer at low speed. Add butter and beat at low speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Divide batter evenly between three prepared cake pans and using rubber spatula, spread into even layer. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on upper middle and lower middle racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 21 to 25 minutes.
 Rest cakes in pans 3 minutes, then loosen from sides of pans with a knife. Invert onto large plate, reinvert onto wire racks. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

Easy Custard
(can be made 1 day ahead)

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat cream, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in heavy saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until sugar begins to dissolve. Whisk in cornstarch until mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When cream mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk half into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened, about 1 minute. Immediately pour through fine mesh strainer into bowl, then whisk in butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.


3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate

For the icing: In medium saucepan, cook cream, corn syrup, and chocolate over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until smooth. Transfer mixture to bowl and chill until thickened but still spreadable, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, chill mixture overnight until completely set. Let sit at room temperature until softened and spreadable, about 1 hour.)

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