Boston Cream Pie: My First Crush for Valentine's & Forever Nigella

Boston Cream Pie

I was fourteen when I started my first real crush.  Prior to that I'd only held affections for unthreatening men who lived in the television.

I used to have a recurring dream where Peter Duncan and I were in a Milky Way advert, on a train.  It was very soft focus. There was an insert shot of the swirling nougat in the dream, before Peter and I went into a tunnel (steady) and the advert ended with the Milky Way logo.

Peter  Duncan: Still Would.

Then, there was Eric from Dungeons & Dragons. I now struggle to see the appeal that Eric held. Not dreamy whatsoever, unlike The Duncan. Eric was a snivelling coward.  The only thing I can think of is that he was a dark brunette with dark eyes and a penchant for sarcastic quips, which became my type in the subsequent decade.

Eric. Definitely Wouldn't and Probably Not Playing for My Team, Anyway
A few years passed, before I encountered 'Shaggy'. Thus named, because he had a fringe of floppy hair, not because of any resemblance to Scooby's buddy. The hours spent speculating about what his name might actually be, could have filled a hot air balloon.

Teenage girls and teenage boys' fringes. I swear, we fall for the hair, not the boy, half of the time.  'Shaggy' was skinny, but had pretty hair, pretty eyes and battered DM boots with laces of different colours.

I stalked him for just under eighteen months.  A gaggle of friends and I used to make sure that we just happened to be milling around the bus stop he waited at every morning at 8:35.  

After a few weeks, I worked out that if I started walking down the road, which he walked up to get to the bus stop, I might even be able to work out where he lived.  I did this a few times, always with friends in tow, to the point where we worked out which road he lived on. Even in my fourteen year old crushing state, I knew that taking this dementedness any further would not reflect well on me.

In the end, the infatuation started to wear off. Mostly, because there is only so long you can hold a torch for someone who you haven't even heard speak. But also, because my friends, whose appetite for stalker accompaniment had worn understandably thin, advised me that I should either speak to him or get over it. Speaking to him was out of the question (obviously), so I nobly withdrew my Hormones Hat from the race for his affections.
With the benefit of hindsight, I have no idea why I was so scared of speaking to him.  If he had, as I envisaged, laughed in my face, I simply had to stop lurking at the bus stop in order to never see him again.  However, as a teenage boy, he was more likely to have been rather enamoured by the attention and who knows, we might have even had a few cinema dates before I realised that he was just another stupid boy and snapped out of the infatuation a lot quicker.

This was the first ever Nigella cake recipe which I read and fell in lust with.  It's taken me until now, three years later, to actually attempt it.  Why?  Custard.

Creme Patisserie

Now that I've made custard a few times, I know it's not a big deal.  Unfortunately, I was put off making it for years, because I believed every single recipe book in the world which told me that custard was difficult and should only be attempted by the brave and the bold.  

Not that the books actually say outright that it's difficult.  What they do, is the patronising thing that the bitchy girl in school who pretended to be your friend used to do: "Oh, you could totally pull that haircut off! I couldn't, because my face is too skinny, but it would totally work on you!"

Thus, every recipe book in the land with a recipe involving custard, is introduced with, 'People think custard is difficult, but it's not, so don't be intimidated.' Thanks for psyching me out, person who makes their recipes in a test kitchen with various helpers on hand, I wouldn't have thought to have been intimidated unless you'd told me to be!

And by repeating all the above, I too, have now participated in the vicious custard circle. Damn.

Creme Patisserie

But you get the idea.  Custard isn't hard. You just need to be patient (don't be tempted to turn up the heat to expedite matters) and attentive (watch it like a one-eyed hawk).

For people who've never made custard before, this Nigella recipe, which I am submitting to Maison Cupcake for the second Forever Nigella challenge, is a good one to start off with. It actually calls for creme patisserie, which is like custard with training wheels, due to the addition of flour, which stabilises the mixture, thus making it less likely that the custard will go tits up at the last minute.

I was very grateful for a well-timed present of a vanilla gift collection from Little Pod., an ace UK company who source and sell vanilla in various forms, including a brilliant tube of paste. There were two big fat Madagascan vanilla pods in the gift pack, one of which I used to make the custard, the other of which went into my vodka to infuse for a few days.

Boston Cream Pie

The recipe for this cake can be found in How To Be A Domestic Goddess. The rest of the cake is also easy to make and assemble. A Victoria Sponge base is used, to which I added cocoa.  When I make this again, I'll make it a triple-layer cake to ensure that I get more of that unctuous custard!  I will also add a further tablespoon of cocoa to the cake and use a 60%, not 70% chocolate for the glaze, which was a little too bitter for me. I've seen all-chocolate versions of this, but I'd hate to lose the pure custardy goodness of this cake.

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  1. Can I pop over for a (LARGE) slice please?

    That vanilla filled custard made me want to lick the screen - how delicious does it look.

    I'm going to have to get that book - I don't have it yet but MUST make this!

  2. Wowee I've lingered over the Boston Cream Pie recipe but never seen one "in real life" so to speak. Your vanilla paste has lots of vanilla flecks in it, my favourite type of custard or ice cream has to have these.

    Peter Duncan looks very "My Guy" in that photo doesn't he! The only other remotely attractive Blue Peter presenter I can think of was Tim Vincent but I was rather too old to watch it by then. Least attractive has to be Mark Curry surely.

    Thank you for seducing us with chocolate this month!

  3. OMG, Peter Duncan and Boston Cream Pie in one blog rule! I bow down to you the blogging queen!

  4. @Anne 'Domestic Goddess' is my most frequently used Nigella book; I strongly recommend it.
    @Sarah Thanks SO much for making me remember Mark Curry, and before I've had my breakfast, too!
    @Hils Haha, thanks! Men and chocolate: it's the dream.

  5. This was the first cake I made from Domestic Goddess years ago, your seems to have turned out a lot better, my custard was all runny! I may have to try again now, the custard will not beat me twice!

  6. Great post which I read avidly from start to finish and chuckled a it involves custard. What more can I say....?