This recipe was sent to me by my grandma, ripped from the pages of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. I knew I would want to make it immediately when I saw the words ‘Boston Cream Pie’ in the title of the recipe. Love Boston Cream Pie anything. (The Cheesecake Factory used to have an awesome Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake that they 86’ed a few years ago. Sniff.)
Though the original title for this recipe contains the word ‘Strata,’ per Merriam-Webster.com, the definition of Torte is a cake made with many eggs and often grated nuts or dry bread crumbs and usually covered with a rich frosting. I think the wort ‘Torte’ more aptly describes this dessert.
- About 2 sleeves of graham crackers
- 4 c. half-and-half
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 T. cornstarch
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 5 + 4 T. butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 + 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
- 1/4 c. milk
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- Line bottom of an 8×8-inch glass baking dish with graham crackers, breaking in half if necessary.
- To make custard, place cornstarch in a small bowl. In a second small bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks.
- In a deep heavy saucepan, melt the 5 tablespoons butter over medium heat and stir in the granulated sugar. Add salt and half-and-half and stir. Heat over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the liquid. Do not let it boil. When half-and-half mixture is hot, turn off heat.
- Pour a ladle of the hot half-and-half mixture into the small bowl holding the cornstarch. Whisk vigorously to combine. There should be no lumps. Add more liquid and whisk to get rid of any lumps. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the beaten eggs. Whisk vigorously to combine.
- Pour egg mixture into the saucepan and turn heat to medium. Cook mixture, whisking constantly and vigorously working all angles of the pot, and scrape the bottom for about five minutes or until the custard is very thick and starts to boil. Large bubbles should be rising to the surface. Turn off heat and stir in two teaspoons of vanilla.
- Spread custard mixture over graham crackers, cover with another layer of graham crackers and repeat layers ending in graham crackers.
- To make the frosting, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter with cocoa powder in a small saucepan. Bring to a light simmer over medium-low heat and let it bubble 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook three more minutes, letting the mixture bubble up around the edges. Remove from the heat and beat in the powdered sugar with a whisk or hand beater. When mixture is smooth, beat in vanilla. While frosting is still quite hot, pour over the top of graham crackers and smooth with a hot knife or spatula dipped in hot water.
- Cover with lid or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least four hours or up to 2 days. Serve chilled.
I diverged from the recipe by making this dessert in an 8×8-inch glass dish instead of a 9×13-inch dish, the original recipe calls for. I love layers – the more layers the better! Being as such, I used just under two sleeves of graham crackers (original recipe called for four). The rest of the ingredients I kept the same.
It’s my opinion that the longer the dish sits in the fridge, the better. The graham crackers become cake-like in texture. My first thought when I bit into this was that it would taste better with peanut butter. Ironically my coworker Cody said the same thing when I had him try it Monday at work. Monique and I both agreed there needed to be less graham cracker in the layers, but this could be our personal preference. We wanted more custard less cracker.
The most impressive part of this recipe (in my opinion) is that it looks complicated but in fact is a snap to put together.
On tap next: the peanut butter variety of this recipe. Stay tuned!