Finally. A quarter of a century or so after his first Academy Award nomination and several subsequent nominations later, Martin Scorsese, probably the greatest American filmmaker of the past half century, finally won the Academy Award. The Departed is not his best movie by far; I think that one is probably Goodfellas or Raging Bull or Casino or Taxi Driver or even The Aviator (my personal fave: I abhor violence). But beggars can’t be choosers: Do you think John Ford thought that How Green Was My Valley, 1941’s best picture, was his best picture? Probably not. And it’s odd to me that this Martin Scorsese film that won wasn’t set in New York and Robert DeNiro wasn’t anywhere to be seen. The Departed is set in Boston. And the lack of DeNiro does not really matter; this movie is lousy with top drawer actors: Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen. Certainly a murderers row if there ever was one for acting.
It was a great moment at the Oscar ceremony when a bunch of his peers presented him with the award.
One of the best things about a Martin Scorsese film is his use of music. Did you know that Bernard Herrmann, Citizen Kane’s and also Alfred Hitchcock’s great composer’s last movie scored was Taxi Driver? I absolutley flove the soundtrack to Scorsese’s New York, New York (and not because of the ubiquitous title song, the New York, New York soundtrack is a great big band jazzy kind of record–Liza Minnelli never sounded better and Robert DeNiro can’t sing). The Departed soundtrack is great, too. Scorsese sagely added that great Boston band Dropkick Murphys to the soundtrack. We saw them open for Offspring this summer. ( I know what your thinking: yes, the Oscars in Order team does have some rather eclectic tastes. You’re right, we do! ) And Dropkick Murphys rock. You gotta love an Irish American Celtic punk band that, yes, has a bagpipe player.
For dinner we did all things Boston.
Boston Baked Beans (of course)
For our dinner entree we went somewhat Italian for Marty and had a lobster ravioli with a lobster cream sauce. I was lucky to have some lobster shells in my freezer. Paid off nicely.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pastry cream, recipe follows
- Ganache, recipe follows
- Pastry Cream Filling:
- 2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream, boiling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour the batter into a 9-inch greased pie pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely.
Pastry Cream Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)
Ganache: In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.
To assemble pie, remove the cake from the pan. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on a serving plate or board, and spread with the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Store in refrigerator.