October 22, 2010

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie was invented in 1856 by French Chef Sanzian, who was hired at the opening of the Parker House Hotel (now Omni Parker House) in Boston. 154 years ago, The Parker House was the first hotel in Boston to have hot and cold running water and an elevator! Today, they still serve this signature dish, as well as their  Parker House Rolls.

As you know, this isn't a pie as we know it, but a tender sponge cake split horizontally, filled with vanilla custard and topped with chocolate ganache.  

To me, this is comfort food. I was born near Boston and lived there until I was a young teen. My Mom made Boston Cream Pies often, using a yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding for the filling and chocolate frosting for the topping and it was still delicious!
I made this from scratch a few weeks back (my birthday cake!) It's just a little bit of work because you have to make the cake, the custard and the ganache, but it's so worth it!

Boston Cream Pie - from The Food Network
Ingredients for cake:
1 c plus 2 T sifted cake flour
2/3 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1/4 c cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Ingredients for Pastry Cream
2 c whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
2/3 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1 T butter

Ingredients for Ganache
8 oz semisweet chocolate
1 c heavy cream, boiling

Preheat oven to 350. In 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 electric mixer on low until combined. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg white mixture and fold in. Pour batter into a 9-inch greased cake pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Pastry cream filling: In medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 c 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 heat and stir in butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least two hours.

Ganace: In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

To assemble: remove the cake from the pan. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on a serving plate and spread the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Store in refrigerator.


  1. yuummm.. I love Boston creme pies, and I could eat the custard filling by the gallon lol I love it! Awesome recipe!!

    Have a great day, and happy belated birthday!

  2. I'd love to have a piece, or two of this....I have made it with a cake mix years ago, so I know homemade would be 100 times better!
    Such a great photo too Karen!

  3. I was born in Boston, where were you from? My mom made Boston cream pie but it was actually a chocolate cream pie with whipped cream on top- I don't know why she called it a Boston Cream when she knew they were not, maybe to get me and my bro to eat them because we were from there???

  4. Oh my... just oh my! That looks fantastic Karen!

    And a belated happy birthday to you girl!

  5. this sound so yummy, Happy belated birthday to you.

  6. It certainly looks like comfort food and definitely worth the work!

    Happy Birthday to you!

  7. I love Boston Cream Pie. This looks sooo delicious! - mary

  8. I looovveee Boston cream pie donuts but I bet they don't even compare to this beauty. WHat a glorious cake.

  9. Boston cream--my fave dessert! Yours looks wonderful Karen. You just can't stop with one slice ;) Happy belated birthday gf. Hope it was a very special one for you! xo

  10. Love it! We were in Somerville visiting our daughter a couple weeks ago. Took a trolley tour, and one "pass by" was the hotel. Isn't Boston a great city!!

  11. I've never had a bite of Boston Cream Pie and it most certainly looks like I've been missing out. I also never stopped to think about where the name of Parker rolls came from. Beautiful photos Karen.

  12. I can't believe I've never tasted this - it looks divine. Your birthday must have been great with a birthday cake like that!

  13. I love boston cream pie...yours looks wonderful! I made Martha's version some time back and wanted to pull my hair out! It was a half-day endeavor.

  14. Boston Cream Pie (one must always capitalize it!) is one of my two favorite desserts, eclairs being the other (many similarities, of course.)

    I never miss an opportunity to give out this bit of trivia, and since you left me such an opening... An ancestor of mine invented the Parker House Roll. He was from my father's side of the family, but one of the French who mixed with our Irish. "Rose" was his surname, as I recall family lore.

  15. It looks so good. Beautiful pics and it makes me want to go make a Boston Cream Pie right now.


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