Welcome to National Boston Cream Pie Day. The very first time I made a Boston Cream Pie for my family was as a part of our President’s Day Feast. Think about it, when celebrating the birth and rebirth of America, what dessert could possibly capture the sentiment than a Boston Cream Pie.
It really isn’t so much the Cream Pie that made this a fitting dessert. After all, the Boston Cream Pie isn’t a part of the founding of America but Boston sure is. Parker House, the famous Boston hotel and restaurant that once hosted the likes of JFK and Jackie O, didn’t begin serving their signature dessert until French Chef Raelyn came onboard to lead the hotel’s culinary staff sometime around 1865. All indications are that Raelyn didn’t create the Boston Cream Pie as we know it until perhaps 1881, at the end of his career with Parker House. Even then, his Boston Cream Pie is simply an interpretation of the Chocolate Cream Pie that had been a part of Parker House’s menu from the opening of the hotel in 1856. Chef Raelyn added rum, toasted almonds and replaced the customary chocolate glaze with a chocolate fondant. Yeah, I think I like the original Chocolate Cream Pie better. I’d much rather enjoy a chocolate glaze finish, although the rum is a nice touch.
Oh, and just for the record, this cake was called a pie simply because cakes and pies were once baked in the same tin. So you could say that all cakes can trace their roots pies. Only the Boston Cream, for whatever reason, retained the name Pie.
Today’s recipe is about as basic as you can get. Sometimes simple is best, don’t you think?
Boston Cream Pie
3 large Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
Pinch kosher Salt
1 cup Whole Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Separate eggs, reserve whites for another purpose or discard.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk in cornstarch and salt. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in milk followed by the cream. Add butter. Place saucepan over medium-low heat; cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture just starts to thicken. Immediately begin to whisk until mixture is smooth. Switch back to spoon, continue to cook, stirring custard for about 7 minutes or until it has come to a very low boil. Cook for an additional 2 minutes once low boil has been reached,
Strain custard through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl, pushing it through with a small spatula. Stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface. Chill for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
3 large Eggs, at room temperature
1-3/4 cups Flour
Butter as needed for pan
1-3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
8 tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup Whole Milk
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Bring eggs to room temperature.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-2-inch round baking pan, generously greasing the sides. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper. Set prepared pan aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cut 8 tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Place butter in a small saucepan. Add milk, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove pan from heat.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running on low, add the milk mixture and beat until combined. Add flour mixture followed by the vanilla; beat until combined.
Transfer batter to the prepared pan. With an off-set spatula, smooth the top. Bake in heated oven until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Transfer pan to a rack and let cool 10 minutes. With a very thin knife, cut around the edge to release the cake from the side of the pan. Carefully flip the cake onto the rack, then turn it right-side-up. Cool completely.
Assemble the cake: Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the cake into two layers and place the bottom layer on a serving plate. Stir custard, and spread it onto the cut side of the bottom half of the cake. Replace the top half of the cake, cut side down. Set cake aside to make glaze.
4 oz Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1 teaspoon Shortening
Pinch Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
In a heat-poof bowl, mix chocolate chips with shortening. Add a pinch of salt and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium-low, heat the cream to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and pour cream over the chocolate chips; let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Spread the glaze evenly over the top of the cake.
Serve and enjoy or cover and let chill until ready to serve. Let cake warm on the counter for about 20 minutes before slicing.