Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NATIONAL BOSTON CREAM PIE DAY

Today is National Boston Cream Pie Day. A Boston Cream Pie is a round cake that is split and filled with a custard or cream filling and frosted with chocolate. Not exactly your standard pie, but it's been around since 1855 or 1856 (two different sources with different dates).

According to Wikipedia, Boston Cream Pies were created by French Chef M. Sanzian at Boston's Parker House Hotel, opened in 1855. This pudding/cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla custard or crème pâtissière. The cake was topped with a chocolate glaze (such as ganache) and sometimes confectioner's sugar or a cherry. The cherry and sugar topping is rarely used any more.

The real question is why this is called a pie? It's a cake, after all -- two layers of yellow cake filled with custard and topped with chocolate frosting. Suggestions on why it's called pie are welcome. And here's an esoteric fact: The Boston cream pie is the official desert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

This Retro Ad (3/29/68) from Jello-O Pudding has a quick and easy recipe for Boston Cream Pie. I really prefer making the cake, filling and ganache from scratch. You know I'm a sucker for good chocolate which for me will make or break the taste of a good Boston Cream Pie. However, if you don't have time, I've posted the Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie below.

I. BOSTON CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH

Ingredients
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pastry cream, recipe follows
Ganache, recipe follows

Pastry Cream Filling
2 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon sweet butter

Ganache
8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, boiling

Directions
Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make well in center of lour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.

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

Pastry Cream Filling
In medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean to boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In bowl, whisk egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in remaining hot milk mixture, reserving empty saucepan.

Pour mixture through strainer back into 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  plastic against surface to prevent skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (Custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)

Ganache
In medium bowl, pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

To assemble pie
Remove cake from pan. Cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on serving plate or board, and spread with pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down sides of cake. Store in refrigerator.

II. Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie

2 comments:

yummychunklet said...

It's been awhile since I've had Boston cream pie. Looks delicious.

Gloria said...

what lovely post and nice recipe!