Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pastel de Natas y Crema-Cream Cake With Caramel-Gourmet Magazine April 1972

I return to the stack of ancient Gourmet magazines for this interesting cake. I browned the caramel under my oven broiler as directed-the results were less than perfect. Burnt in some spots, undercooked in others, the topping while still edible, isn't as nice as it could have been. A kitchen blowtorch might have been an odd item in 1972, but I do recommend using one if possible. Otherwise, keep rotating the pan under the broiler and hope for the best. I do wonder if the inexpensive beet sugar I used contributed to the problems-it doesn't seem impossible.
(See? I dressed it up with whipped cream. Is there anything high-fat dairy can't do?)

But hey, I made a cake midweek-so shut up and grab a seat. The cake layers and filling are still delicious, and I covered the over-browned (read, "burnt") spots with sweetened whipped cream, which might throw the complaining types. Come on, I made cake-midweek, they aren't going to complain.
(A detail of the burnt caramelised sugar)

As this is a recipe of the vintage sort, I'll go ahead and post it as written. I have no doubt this would be a stunning dessert in the hands of someone...well, anyone other than myself.

Hey everybody, look at the cake!

Butter two 8 inch round cake tins, 2 inches deep and line the bottoms with wax paper. Butter the paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat 6 egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar until the mixture ribbons when the beater is lifted. In another bowl, beat 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff and beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind, and 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice. Add one Fourth of the whites to the yolk mixture folding them gently but thoroughly. Pour the yolk mixture over the remaining whites and sift 1/2 cup of flour over. Fold the mixture together gently until there are no traces of white. Pour batter into pans, spread evenly with a spatula and bake in a moderate 350 degree F. oven for 25 minutes (mine took 20). Loosen layers from sides of pans and turn out onto wire racks to cool. Sprinkle the top of one layer with 1/4 cup sugar, transfer it to a baking sheet, and put it under the broiler until it is carmelised. If the edges of the cake brown too quickly, cover them with a ring of foil. While the caramel is still hot, mark off portions with a knife dipped in hot water.

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (cornflour). Beat the mixture until it ribbons. Scald 1 cup of milk with 2 strips of orange peel and pour it gently into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Transfer the custard to a heavy saucepan and cook it over low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spatula. Cook until it coats the spatula (around 170 degrees F.) but do not let the mixture come to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons gelatin softened in 3 tablespoons water. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour through a sieve into a bowl and chill until almost set.

In a bowl, whip 1 cup heavy cream until it is stiff. Fold in 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar) and 1-2 tablespoons of rum. Fold the custard into the cream and chill until it is almost set. Spread the mixture on the plain cake layer, cover it with the carmelised layer, and chill the cake.

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