Boston Cream Pie (Page 2 of 2)
Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover and let boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and dip a pastry brush in cold water to wash down the sides of the pot; boil until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (238°F (114°C)), about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour onto the damp cookie sheet. Let it cool for 10 minutes, or until lukewarm.
Using a metal spatula, spread the sugar mixture out and turn it over on itself until it starts to thicken and whiten. (It may be easier to knead the mixture with your hands.) Continue kneading the sugar mixture until it is very stiff. Scrape it off the sheet, place in an airtight container, and refrigerate for several hours.
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in one medium bowl and the yolks in another. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to each bowl. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks; beat the egg yolks until they are thick and pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Gently fold the stiff egg white mixture into the yolk mixture. Gradually fold in the flour and then fold in the melted butter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Let cool.
To assemble, heat 3/4 cup of the fondant and the chocolate in a double boiler until warm. Stir to a spreading consistency, adding a little water as necessary.
Using a long serrated knife, slice the cake into 2 layers. Spread the pastry cream over the bottom layer, reserving approximately 1 cup of pastry cream to spread around the sides of the cake (to help the almonds adhere). Place the second layer of cake over the pastry cream and spread the reserved pastry cream around the sides of the cake. Top with the chocolate icing (work rapidly, since the icing sets very quickly) and press the almonds around the sides. Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to 2 days and bring to room temperature before serving. (When refrigerated, the fudge-like icing becomes quite stiff.)