This is one of those times where my cravings have driven me to do absurd and wonderful things.
In the past two years I have gone from ambivalently ignoring doughnuts, to deeply and passionately adoring them. My doughnut of choice? The Boston Cream.
A little shop opened near me not too long ago, and they make the most perfect Boston Cream doughnut I have ever had. It is not overly sweet, the custard is evenly distributed, and the chocolate icing is simple, but rich. I love, love, love this doughnut.
Oh, if only I did not have a fancy and expensive white dress to fit into in 98 days...
I think about that doughnut often. In fact, this entire Summer of S'mores series began as a single scribbling in my notebook - "Boston Cream S'more."
I wanted (read: needed) to find a way to incorporate the flavors of that prized pastry into another one of my favorite things: the s'more.
Now you might argue that this is not technically a s'more, and I would agree, but the Summer of S'mores is a celebration of flavors. All of the attributes of a classic s'more are present in this idyllic stratification, along with one very special guest. Welcome, vanilla custard. Also known as, the best part of any truly good Boston Cream Doughnut.
I can see that I have already lost you because I am asking you to make custard for s'mores. But, wait! Custard is easy, I promise. And just think about how much fun you're going to have licking the spoon when you are done.
Whew. I'm glad you came back.
Oh yeah...I also decided my custard needed more fat and sugar, so I folded in some whipped cream. My "oops" = a little extra happiness.
At this point, you could just decide that you have worked hard enough for one day and eat this custard just as it is. That would certainly not be a bad idea, but it would also not be the best either.
The best idea involves using all the internalized hostility you now have for me (because I made you stand over a hot stove and make custard in July), to demolish some graham crackers. Hulk smash those things.
Actually, be civilized and use the handle of a butterknife. The first option sounds fun until you start finding graham cracker crumbs in random places days later.
Now we get to make everything look pretty. Yay for edible stripes!
Graham crackers + custard + chocolate. Repeat.
Do you have a blow torch? I hope so, because this is a really fun way to use it!
I plopped a couple of marshmallows atop my trifles and then torched them with my kitchen torch. This kept the custard cool, while still achieving that melted-mashmallowy layer that I love so much in a classic s'more.
While these trifles are definitely indulgent, they are not overly rich. Not in the sense that you instantly regret eating one - I hate that.
Because the custard is not overly sweet, it brings balance to the more sugary chocolate and marshmallow elements.
Oh, and if, for some strange reason, you do not end up devouring every single one of these immediately, they will need to be refrigerated. Unfortunately, this will cause the chocolate to harden and the marshmallows to stiffen, BUT, they are actually very good reheated for a quick 20-30 seconds in the microwave. The goal is to re-melt the marshmallow and chocolate, without heating up the entire trifle.
Then again, who in their right mind is leaving leftovers here?
Boston Cream S’mores Trifle
makes 4 / custard recipe slightly adapted from Food Network
for the custard
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 cup confectioner’s sugar
In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously, until the yolks have greatly lightened in color and have reached the ribbon stage.* Whisk in cornstarch.
*The ribbon stage is signified by the behavior of the mixture. If you dip the whisk into the batter and hold it above the bowl, the mixture should fall like ribbons and should hold its shape for a minute or two.
Pour the milk into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Scald the milk by cooking until it reaches 210 degrees, or just below the boiling point. Remove from heat.
Quickly whisk one-third of the scalded milk into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the tempered egg yolks into the saucepan and place over medium heat. While whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and allow to boil for thirty seconds, while continuing to whisk constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
Pour the custard into a glass bowl and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface. This will prevent a film from forming.
Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill until cool, about 2 hours, or up to two days.
In a small bowl, combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Beat on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled custard. Prepare the trifles.
- 1 recipe pastry cream
- 6 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped
- 9 whole graham crackers, roughly crushed
- 16 marshmallows
- 4, 6-ounce glasses
Place milk chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl and microwave for thirty seconds. Stir and then microwave for an additional thirty seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted.
Fill the bottom of four glasses with 1 1/2 tablespoons of crushed graham crackers. Cover with 1/4 cup of pastry cream. Spoon several tablespoons of the melted chocolate over the cream. Repeat until you have two layers of each element and then top with marshmallows.
Use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows and serve immediately.* Enjoy!
*You can prepare the custard 1-2 days in advance, but I do not recommend assembling the trifles until just before you want to serve them as the chocolate and marshmallows will be come hard in the refrigerator.
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