What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin | You can have your cake and eat it, too
Special to the Tribune
I remember my home economics class in the seventh grade. A baking contest was held and it was a big deal. To me, being a competitive kid, I wanted to win. The glitch was, even in my early teens, I wasn’t the best of bakers. But my mother did bake scrumptious cakes and pies – all homemade – which matched the rules of the contest. I desperately needed help. My mom, who had an uncanny taste for European cuisine, pitched in and showed me the ropes of creating a Boston cream pie. Keep in mind, this complex dessert is a challenge to create.
However, the winner was another student who made a picture-perfect chocolate Yule log filled and frosted with rich mocha butter cream frosting. My fellow contestants didn’t get how much work is involved in making a three-step Boston cream pie – but my teacher did get it and commended me on my efforts.
During the weekend, I had a craving for chocolate eclairs, but I settled for a quick and easy semi-homemade Boston cream pie. I didn’t make it from scratch like my mom, because shoveling snow, bringing in firewood, stoking the fire, working on two books, tending to the fur kids, and simply chilling kept me busy, so I didn’t want to bake, but I craved a treat.
1 store-bought butter loaf cake
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1⁄2 cup chocolate chips, 60 percent cocoa
1 teaspoon European-style butter
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup organic 2 percent low-fat milk
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium sized bowl, combine instant pudding and 2 cups buttermilk with 1 cup low-fat milk. Mix and chill. Unwrap cake and place on plate. Cut in three horizontal pieces. Spread pudding on one piece of cake, top with a second piece of cake and repeat. Top with the third piece of cake.
Chocolate Glaze: In the microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter. Add 1⁄2 cup buttermilk and vanilla. Frost top of cake and let chocolate drip down on sides. Slice and garnish with fresh sliced strawberries. Serves 6 to 8.
I could have purchased a frozen Boston cream pie or found a pre-packaged square cake from the bakery but I chose to go the home-style route, sort of. This way, I had control of the type of milk (buttermilk gave it a creamy, tangy taste), healthy dark chocolate and yummy butter cake. Also, I could take charge of dishing up small portions. This dessert provides comfort and taste.
Cake, custard, and chocolate are as good as it gets. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too – without breaking the bank. And don’t forget to put the dogs in another room before digging in. Yep, Simon, my food-loving Brittany, has been taking lessons from clever Seth, his canine pal. He snagged a piece of the Boston cream pie. Thanks again to the staff at Alpine Animal Hospital.
Motto: Taking the short cut for baking has its virtues. If you need to work and like to play – creating quick desserts can make life sweeter.
– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.
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