Baking this Yellow Sponge Cake with Earl Grey Pastry Cream was a bit of a stretch for me as a new recipe. New chocolate cake recipes I’ll try in a heartbeat unless there are weird ingredients required. When I think of sponge cakes I think of Twinkies. Nothing wrong with them, they’re just not my cup of tea. Speaking of cup of tea; I love to start my day with a hot cup of Earl Grey. But Earl Grey in a pastry cream? I guess if I can love milk chocolate lavender mousse Earl Grey pastry cream shouldn’t be a big deal.
Tiptoeing across the fine line of moderate indulgence often requires balance, a tad bit of willpower and quality ingredients. Hodgson Mill came along at the perfect time with an offer to use some of their whole grain products for a post.
Hodgson Mill has also generously offered a coupon for a dollar off any 5 pound package of flour or cornmeal as part of their Have a Grain Holiday campaign. Wait there’s more! In addition, you may enter to win a Holiday Gift Package featuring whole grains and baking mixes. US residents only and winners will be notified on December 10, 2012. Hold on to your hats here it truly is the season for giving. At the end of this post there’s another giveaway for a $25.00 prize pack of Hodgson Mill products.
This hybrid dessert satisfied my sweet tooth and a small serving was plenty for one setting. The crust is made with Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, ground walnuts and baked in a tart pan with removable bottom. I filled it with a white chocolate pastry cream; everybody say ‘yum”, and garnished it with candied pistachios. OK, so I kind of nullified most of the healthy part but you could easily leave them out. There’s lots of nuttiness going on in this one, just trust me, it’s good.
Nutty Tart Dough
2 cups Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
¼ cup ground walnuts
1/3 cup superfine sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ -inch cubes
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 TBS cold water
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
White Chocolate Pastry Cream
Place the flour, walnuts, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. PULSE 3 to 4 times to blend. Distribute the butter around the bowl and PULSE 7-8 times, then process for 8 to 10 seconds. The crumbs should be about the size of coarse meal. Making any type of dough in a food processor gives me the heebie jeebies but I do it anyway.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg, egg yolk, water, and vanilla with a fork. Pour the egg mixture into the crumbs and PULSE 5-6 times, then process for 8-10 seconds or until mixture just begins to form a ball. Empty on to a lightly floured surface and knead 6-8 times or until the dough is just smooth and malleable. Shape into a disk and cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes or longer. If desired, this dough may be frozen for up to 1 month.
Spray 9 inch tart pan with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350°. Roll chilled dough on lightly floured surface to ¼” thickness and a little larger than the diameter of the tart pan. Carefully fit the rolled out dough inside the pan. It’s very forgiving and any tears are easily patched up. Place foil or parchment paper on top of dough and then place pie weights or beans on top to keep it from puffing up.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust looks slightly dry. Due to the color of the flour you won’t necessarily be able to tell by the color when it’s done. Let cool completely and them add the filling.
White Chocolate Pastry Cream – adapted from Wilde in the Kitchen
1 ¼ cups whole milk
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
3 large egg yolks
¼ granulated sugar
1/8 cup flour
3 tbsp corn starch
½ cup white chocolate
In a medium bowl mix together the sugar and eggs. Sift flour and cornstarch into the bowl and mix until you have a paste. Set this aside. Place white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on half power until melted, set aside. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat milk to boiling. Slowly add hot milk to the egg mixture. Pour it down the side of the bowl and whisk continuously. Once all the milk is added, pour the whole mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk continuously until it is very thick (like pudding), this should only take 30-60 seconds once it starts to boil. Finally, add white chocolate and vanilla, almond extract and stir.
Pour into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the top of the pastry cream. This will prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Place this in the fridge until it is cooled.
½ cup whole pistachios
1/8 cup of water
¼ cup of brown sugar
½ tsp cardamom
Bring water and sugar to a boil. Add pistachios and cook stirring often until nuts are covered in a syrupy liquid. Add cardamom and stir until well coated. Pour onto silpat or parchment lined sheet to cool.
Assembly: Spoon then spread white chocolate pastry cream into cooled crust. Chop or leave nuts whole and sprinkle on top. I left mine whole and also found out it’s best to sprinkle with nuts at serving time. They slightly discolored the top. Did that stop us from eating it? Not a chance!!!
Disclosure: I received a variety of Hodgson Mill products courtesy of the company, but the opinions stated in this post are my own. I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.
Now for the giveaway. Follow along with raffle copter. The contest ends on Wednesday December 5, 2012 and the winner will be notified by Thursday the 6th.