Boston Cream Pie

When I was a child, I refused to eat Boston Cream Pie because I was more of a “cake girl” than “pie person” (except for pies made by my grandma made from “scraps”–we’ll talk about that another time).  The first time I tasted a Boston Cream Pie I was surprised to find out it wasn’t pie at all, instead it was cake.  In truth, I wasn’t impressed by Boston Cream Pie and a little suspicious of the “cream” filling–probably wasn’t the pie’s fault. 

Fast forward…I’m watching the Food Network and I see a real Boston Cream Pie from the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts where the pie originated.  I look at the pie and think it’s beautiful and I can make that.  Of course, I always think I can make whatever I see on the Food Network that’s the whole point of watching the shows. 

So, I download the recipe here and decide I’ll make my own, how hard can it be.  The first thing I realize is making a Boston Cream Pie like the original recipe is going to take awhile. You have to make a sponge cake, then pastry cream, followed by chocolate and white fondants.  As much as I love to cook, I really don’t have time to make all the parts from “scratch”, not this time anyway.

Because sometimes making the sponge cake and pastry cream can be tricky, I come up with a plan to make it quick and easy.  Besides, I’ve never made homemade fondant, but I know store bought doesn’t  really taste too good.  Here was my plan: doctor a boxed yellow cake, make homemade pastry cream, homemade spreadable chocolate ganache and use a white frosting writing pen.  Add some nut topping (the kind for making sundaes) and call it a day.

I used a yellow cake that requires butter instead of vegetable oil and used milk instead of water.  Baked it in three 6 in. cake pans.  I used Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) pastry cream recipe, see below.  For the chocolate ganache, I used 3 parts bittersweet chocolate to 1 part heavy cream plus 1 tablespoon corn syrup for shine.  No double boiler for me for the ganache.  Just heat the cream in the microwave until it’s good and hot, add the chocolate, let it sit covered a few minutes then stir and add the corn syrup.   I spread the pastry cream in between the layers and up the sides of the cake then added the nuts.  I spread the ganache on top then swirled a circle pattern; I finished by taking toothpick and drawing lines through the frostings.  Voila! Boston Cream Pie made easy.

Boston Cream Pie

The boston cream pie came out great!  I shared it with a couple folks who gave it rave reviews.  In the future when I have more time, I’ll make the sponge cake from scratch.  I hope you’ll try this recipe and get great results.  Share your comments and enjoy.  Bon Appetit.

Pastry Cream (Ina Garten):

5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups scalded milk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon Cognac (I think I added 1 1/2-2 teaspoons, not a bad oops) 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.


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