Is Boston Cream Pie really a cake - not a pie! Two layers of sponge cake are filled with thick vanilla
custard and topped with a chocolate glaze or a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar. It is
cut in wedges like a pie.
Boston Cream Pie History:
Cooks in New England and Pennsylvania Dutch regions were
known for their cakes and pies and the dividing line between them was very thin. This cake
was probably called a pie because in the mid-nineteenth century, pie tins were more common
than cake pans. The first versions might have been baked in pie tins. Boston
Cream Pie is a remake of the early American"Pudding-cake pie."
1856 - The Parker House Hotel (now the
Omni Parker House Hotel), claims to have served Boston cream pies since their opening in
1856. French chef Sanzian, who was hired for the opening of the hotel, is credited with
creating Boston cream pie. This cake was originally served at the hotel with the names
Chocolate Cream Pie or Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie. This was the first hotel in Boston to have hot-and-cold
running water, and the first to have an elevator.
1879 - In the cookbook,
Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree, has the following recipe for
Boston Cream Cakes:
Boston Cream Cakes:
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup butter
Boil the butter and water
together, stir in the flour while boiling; after it is cool, add the
eggs, well beaten. Put a large spoonful in muffin rings, and bake twenty minutes in a hot oven.
The cream for them is
made as follows: Put over the fire one cup of milk and not quite a cup
of sugar, one egg, mixed with three teaspoonfuls of corn starch and one
tablespoonful of butter. Boil a few moments only. When cool, add vanilla to the taste.
Open the cakes and fill them with this cream.
1996 - The Boston Cream Pie was
proclaimed the official Massachusetts State Dessert on December 12, 1996. A civics class
from Norton High School sponsored the bill. The pie beat out other
candidates, including the toll house cookie and Indian pudding.
Boston Cream Pie Recipe:
This recipe requires some advance planning,
as the cake has to cool completely before it is filled and frosted.
Yields: 10 to 12 servings
Prep time: 60 min
Cake cook time: 25 min
Custard cook time: 15 min
Chocolate Ganache cook time: 5 min
Yellow Cake (see recipe below)
Custard Filling (see recipe below)
Chocolate Ganache (Icing) (see recipe below)
Prepare the Yellow Cake according to directions below.
Prepare Custard Filling according to directions below.
Prepare Chocolate Ganache according to directions below.
Assemble the Boston Cream Pie:
Top the bottom half of the cake with the custard,
spreading the custard to the edge.
Carefully place the remaining cake half, cut side down, on top of the custard; gently
If you think it is necessary,
refrigerate for 1 hour to help keep the cake together.
Spread the Chocolate Ganache on top of the the cake,
spreading the Ganache to the edge and down the side of the cake.
Some people like to let the Chocolate Ganache drip down the sides of the cake (your choice).
Refrigerate the finished Boston Cream
Pie approximately 1 to 2 hours before cutting and serving.
The Boston cream pie may be made 1 day in advance and
kept covered loosely and chilled.
To cut the cake, wet a sharp knife in hot water, and shake
off any excess water before making each cut. Let the cut portions stand at
room temperature for approximately 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
The finished Boston Cream Pie may be made 1 day in advance,
covered loosely, and refrigerated.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
If you don't want to take the
time to make your own cake from scratch, Use a purchased yellow cake mix instead.
2 cups sifted cake
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
* It is important
that you sift the cake flour before measuring as the weight will change. The
weight after sifting will be approximately 7 ounces for the sifted two (2) cups.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round
springform pan. NOTE: You may use 2 (8-inch cake pans instead, but it
is a lot easier to use a springform pan. Adjust oven rack to the center position of your oven.
In a medium-size bowl, sift cake flour again with baking
powder and salt; set aside.
In a bowl of your electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla
extract until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sifted flour mixture to the butter
mixture in three (3) batches alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for
approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center
comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched; remove from oven. NOTE: It will take less time
if using 2 cake pans. Let the cake cool in the springform pan on a wire rack for 10 minute. After 10
minutes, remove sides of springform pan and let cake cool completely.
When cake is
completely cool, carefully remove cake from springform bottom. If your cake
is slightly domed, level it with a long-bladed serrated knife. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally, and arrange the bottom
half, cut side up, on a plate.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
egg yolk, beaten
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and split
vanilla bean; heat to just below boiling and then remove immediately remove
from heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. After the infusing time, remove
the vanilla bean and, using a sharp knife, scrape
the seeds from the vanilla bean, reserving the pod for another use.
n the top of a double boiler over simmering water, place
sugar, flour, and egg yolks; stir until mixture is smooth. Add warm milk and
scrapings from inside of vanilla bean. Continue cooking, stirring
constantly, until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir. Let
mixture cool completely.
Chocolate Ganache (Icing)
1/3 cup heavy or whipping
7 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet
In a small, heavy saucepan, add the cream
and bring just to a boil; immediately remove from the heat. Add the chopped
chocolate, stirring with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and the
mixture is completely smooth.
Use the Chocolate Ganache while still warm. If your Chocolate Ganache has cooled, gently re-warm