This month' s installment of Sugar High Friday is hosted by Simply Recipes and featured Custard as the theme. I have never done much with custard aside from the typical flan and even that was **gasp** from a box.... what can I say.... I am a cheater in the kitchen. At least I use to be... I make it all from scratch these days... down to the whipped cream. Homemade whipped cream is very very very delicious and sooooooo much better than the squirt can you get from the supermarket. And easy too... If I can make it anyone can! I had no idea what I wanted to do with custard this month. I scoured through all my cookbooks and found nothing I thought I could pull off. So as I type this I am wondering what sort of delirious state I was in when I decided on The Beehive Cake. This has definitely been the most challenging recipe thus far....
I have literally been working on this thing all afternoon/night long ( and edit: saturday morning, too!)!! I have had to make the cake dough THREE times in order to get it right. The custard part of it was pretty easy.. Although I did let it get too hot too quick and the bottom STARTED to burn so I have a few little brown burnt bits strewn throughout an otherwise beautiful (and quite tasty) vanilla custard. The cake is FINALLY in the oven with 3 minutes to go. I am going to go ahead and post this without pictures, which kills me. I am a highly visual person so I know it is hard to sometimes read through a cooking experience without pictures to connect to your minds eye. I promise I will post them in the morning after I assemble the cake....This has turned into a 2 day cake-a-thon.Take a look at the recipe.... You'll see why it took me so long.
Honey Almond Praline:
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
2 ounces (1/3 cup) sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) honey
3/4 cup (2 ounces) almonds
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 envelope, plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Rich Yeast Dough
3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
In large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast. Heat together milk, butter, sugar and salt just until warm (115-120 deg F), stirring occasionally to melt butter. Add to dry mixture in mixer bowl; add egg. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1-1/2 hours. Turn out on lightly floured surface. Divide in half and form each part into a ball. Use half the dough for Beehive Cake.
1/3 jar caramel or chocolate topping
To make the honey almond praline:
Melt the butter, add sugar and honey, cook until bubbly and ingredients marry. Remove from the heat and stir in the almonds. Let this mixture cool.
To make the custard filling:
First place the sugar and cornstarch in a small to medium pan. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and milk together. Whisk them into the sugar and starch mixture in the pan. Cook this over low heat and gradually increase to a medium heat bringing the mixture to a boil. The mixture will bubble slowly. Whisk this bubbling mixture for 3 to 4 minutes and remove from heat. Soak the gelatin in a 1/4 cup of warm water for 5 minutes. Add gelatin mixture to hot custard and whisk. Set aside to cool in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic to keep mixture from crusting and refrigerate until cool.
After mixture has cooled, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla to medium peaks. Fold whipped cream into cooled custard. Make sure to whisk custard to creamy stage before gradually folding in whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to fill split cake layers. Pat out to fit bottom of 9” round cake pan. Prick dough all over. Spread cooled Almond Syrup over dough. Cover; let rise in warm place until almost double, about 1 hour. Bake in 375 deg F oven, 15-20 minutes. Almond Syrup should look caramelized and liquid, not crumbly.
To assemble the cake: Cut cooled cake in half to make 2 layers. Drizzle 1/3 jar caramel over bottom layer. Top with the custard mixture. Place the top layer over the custard and refrigerate or freeze for several hours to firm up custard before cutting.
This recipe can be doubled and made into a half sheet cake the size of a jellyroll pan, this is wonderful to serve for breakfast gatherings, this cake will not be too sweet. If baking in half sheet, use a piece of cardboard to lift off top half of cake, you can use a flattened paper plate on round cake layers.