Sunday, May 5, 2013

If Boston Cream Pie met Tiramisu and Cheesecake in a dark alley ...

Sometimes you just have to take an idea and run with it, right? I wanted a layered dessert. I knew that chocolate had to play a role. I thought about banana pudding as a layer, but I used my last banana in a smoothie. So forget the banana, but keep the creamy vanilla.

And then what?

I wanted different textures, too. So I went into the kitchen and got a little crazy. Because that's how I roll.

This has the vanilla and chocolate of Boston Cream Pie, But I was thinking about Tiramisu, too. I didn't add coffee, but I stole the ladyfinger concept and used Nilla Wafers instead. It's also a little reminiscent of cheesecake, with a graham cracker topping. And the secret ingredient is saltines, for that extra little salty crunchy "what is this?" taste.

Yeah, I'm a little mad. But it works for me.

This dessert is best made a day ahead, so the Nilla Wafers have time to soften to a cake-like consistency.

Boston Cre-amisu

For the bottom crust:
15 Oreos
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For assembly and topping:
4 Honey Maid graham crackers
8 Premium saltines
25 Nilla Wafers
For the vanilla cream:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Put the Oreos in your food processor and process until the cookies are fine crumbs. Add the butter and continue processing until the crumbs hold together if pressed. It's possible to over-process and turn the Oreos into a paste - so keep an eye on them. You want them to stick together, but still be crumbly. Dump the mixture into a 8-inch square pan and press down to make a firm crust. (You can use a round pan or different size, if you prefer, but you might need a different number of Nilla Wafers.

Remove the Oreo crumbs from the food processor (or, if you don't mind a few chocolate crumbs in your topping, leave them be.) Add the graham crackers and saltines to the food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Heat on medium heat, whisking as needed, until the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a simmer. Turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. It will be a thick paste. 

A little bit at a time, add hot milk the the egg mixture, whisking as you go, until you've added about a cup of the hot milk to the eggs, then whisk the milk in the pan as you add the egg mixture to the pan. Bring the heat back to medium and whisk until the mixture thickens. Add the vanilla extract and whisk it in.

Pour the mixture through a find strainer to remove any lumps or curdled bits.

Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the pan on top of the crushed Oreos, and smooth the mixture. Add a layer of the Nilla Wafers and press them down a bit so they're even. In the pan I used, they fit perfectly in 5 rows of 5 cookies.

Dollop the remaining vanilla mixture over the cookies (if you've taken your time, the mixture might be starting to set and may look lumpy when you stir it. Just whisk it smooth, then pour it over the cookies. Smooth the top (a small offset spatula is a great tool for this) then sprinkle the graham cracker-saltine crumbs over the top.

Refrigerate until the vanilla cream has set and the Nilla Wafers have softened. Overnight is great. This is also good while the Nilla Wafers are still a little crunchy, but it's harder to cut and serve.

If you like, garnish with some whipped cream and/or chocolate shavings.

This post was written for a little competition for SnackWorks, which represents the brands mentioned. I did not receive any compensation or products from them.