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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Recipe - Boston Cream Pie

I love Terry Pratchett. I love his Discworld books. And I especially love his character, Nanny Ogg. I want to be her when I grow up, after I'm done being Han Solo and Ursula the Sea Witch. Maybe I can be all of them at once. A girl has to have ambitions, you know.

I had the great honor of meeting Sir Pterry in person a couple of years ago at the first North American Discworld Convention. He's as charming and sweet in person as I imagined him to be. And funny.

One of my prized possessions now has his signature - My copy of Nanny Ogg's cookbook. It really is a cookbook with all sorts of entertaining and suggestive dishes. And all sorts of Nanny Ogg wisdom. She's a witch, the Mother in the group. Granny Weatherwax is the crone, but don't tell her I said that or she might curse me. The Maiden changes depending on what's been happening in the stories. I loved Magrat Garlick in the role. If you want to know what I'm talking about now, read Wyrd Sisters. These witches are REAL witches.

My post is starting to resemble a Discworld novel - rambling and disconnected and who knows where it's going but yes it does have a point and I'll get there and you'll see how all of it fits together.

Nanny Ogg owns the most horribly fascinating cat ever conceived. Greebo is a cat among cats. He lives by one rule: everything exists either for eating, mating, or killing. Things that don't fit in those three categories are scenery. Nanny Ogg loves the beast. He grows on you. Nanny Ogg also has lots of sons who exist to provide her with daughters-in-law who exist to cook and clean and provide grandchildren for her to spoil.

Nanny Ogg is a very British woman. She knows the words to all of the suggestive ditties. She cooks suggestive dishes. And she has a heart as big as her stomach.

Since I try to keep this blog at a PG rating, I won't post my favorite recipes from her cookbook (Bananana Surprise and Strawberry Wobblers, anyone?). I'll post my husband's favorite dessert instead. Valentine's Day is coming up and what's that special day without a special dessert?


Boston Cream Pie (as close as I can get to my mother-in-law's version)

1 yellow cake, made according to the box directions
1 6 oz box instant vanilla pudding
3 c. milk
1 c. chocolate chips
1 t. butter

Bake cake according to directions. If you have a serving plate that holds a 9x13 cake, do it as a rectangle. If you're like me and don't own one, do it as two rounds. Each round will make one cake. Let it cool completely before assembling the pie. In fact, refrigerate the cake layers for at least an hour before you start.
Mix pudding with milk. Whisk until thick and smooth.
Carefully split the cake layers in half horizontally. Place one half on a plate. Spread half the pudding over the cake. Put the other half of the cake on top. Repeat with the other round.
Put chocolate chips and butter into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir. If it isn't completely melted and smooth, microwave it for another ten seconds. Don't overcook! It will go nasty and grainy. You want it just melted and smooth and shiny. Pour it over the top of the cake and pudding layers.
Refrigerate the whole thing for at least three hours before serving.

Since I can't make this right no matter how hard I try (ask my husband, it's okay, though, I'd have to be his mom to make it right), I came up with lots of my own variations. This dessert can go from basic and simple to elegant and elaborate.

Try these:
Black Forest - use a dark chocolate cake mix, fill it with whipped cream cheese and cherry pie filling. Top with the chocolate glaze.
Strawberry Bliss - use a vanilla cake mix. Fill with sliced fresh strawberries and chocolate pudding. Top with whipped topping.
Pineapple Pistachio - Use a white cake. Use pistachio pudding, but use 1 18 oz can of crushed pineapple to mix up the pudding. You can add 1/2 c. of shredded coconut if you want. Reserve 1/2 c. of the filling to spread on top. Decorate with maraschino cherries and whipped topping.
Death by Chocolate - use a chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding, and add 1/2 c. chopped chocolate candy bars or chocolate chips to the filling. Top with the chocolate glaze and more chocolate bits.
Snickers cake - Use a chocolate cake mix. For the filling, melt 2 c. caramels over low heat until until spreadable. Spread 1/2 c. whipped cream cheese over the bottom layer, then 2/3 of the caramel. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Spread the rest of the caramel over the top and sprinkle on more nuts.

Have fun and don't be afraid to be creative and try something new. If the cake gets soggy or crumbles, just serve it as a crumble - scoop a serving into a bowl and add whipped topping. Pretend that's the way you intended it to turn out.

Here's pictures of my version:
Ingredients, minus the eggs, oil, and milk. So simple.

Grease and flour the pans so your cake will look like this:

See? Pretty. And filled with chocolate pudding.

Frost with whipped topping and decorate with chocolate chips.

Delicious!


Then drop the cake while putting it in the fridge.
Not delicious. *sigh*