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.
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: 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 recipe below.
I. BOSTON CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp 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 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, boiling
oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar,
baking powder, and salt. Make well in center of flour 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
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.)
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