Yankee magazine features a recipe for the classic Boston Creme Pie.
Did you know that this delicious confection was created at a Boston hotel? Here is a history as it appears in Yankee Magazine.
Boston’s Parker House Hotel (now the Omni Parker House) is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of what today we call Boston cream pie, and its first chef, by the name of Sanzian, its creator. Starting with a rich butter sponge cake filled with a rum-infused pastry cream, he coated the sides with toasted sliced almonds and spread a layer of chocolate fondant on top, embellishing it with a delicate spiderweb of white fondant. At that time, pie and cake tins were often considered interchangeable, as were the words themselves. This lax approach to labeling is likely why Sanzian’s French-inspired concoction débuted as “Chocolate Cream Pie” in 1856, and why subsequent versions continued to be called pies rather than cakes.
Boston Creme Pie
For the Pastry Cream:
1-1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 heaping teaspoon plain gelatin
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 large egg yolks
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bring 1-1/4 cups of the milk, along with the sugar, gelatin, and salt, to barely a simmer over medium heat, whisking well to dissolve the sugar and gelatin completely.
Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together the yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup of milk.
Pour 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk to combine; then strain this mixture back into the remaining hot milk.
Whisk the egg/milk mixture continuously over medium heat until thickened and bubbling in the center, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and strain again into a medium-size bowl; then add the butter and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth; then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin forming.Chill the pastry cream thoroughly, preferably overnight.</strong></div>
For the Sponge Cake:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for pan.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour, plus extra for pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture and stir until just moistened; then add one-third (¼ cup) of the milk. Repeat until all ingredients are combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Rotating halfway through, bake until tops are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let the layers cool 10 minutes in their pans; then remove them from their pans and transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
To assemble, place one layer top side down onto a large cake plate. (If the cake has a domed top, use a serrated knife to gently remove the dome first so that the cake will sit flat on the plate.) Spoon the chilled pastry cream onto the center of the cake and spread evenly until the cream just barely reaches the edge of the cake.
Gently place the other cake, dome side up, on top of the pastry cream. Store the cake in the refrigerator while you make the glaze.
For the Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3–4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons of cream (use more for a thinner glaze), and corn syrup, stirring occasionally.
When the chocolate is completely melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour over the top of the chilled cake, letting the glaze drizzle down the sides.
Let the glaze firm up; then serve immediately. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.