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 is 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 dessert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
I've posted traditional recipes for Boston Cream Pie--from scratch and from mixes--and I've posted Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake (a favorite!). So for today's holiday I thought I'd post a really easy recipe for Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake. What's a Poke Cake, you ask? A poke cake is usually made with a boxed cake mix and a pudding mix. You poke holes in the cake after it's been baked, but still warm, and you pour the pudding over it. How easy is that? And Boston Cream Pie lends itself to this easy cake. Very Retro!
Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake
1 (18 ounce) box yellow cake mix
2 (5.1-oz) packs of instant French vanilla pudding
4 cups cold milk
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 9-x-13” pan and sprinkle with flour.
Prepare cake mix according to box instructions. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cake.
When cake is cool-ish, poke big holes across entire surface of cake using rounded end of wooden spoon.
Combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl and whisk until mixture just begins to thicken. Pour over cake and spread with spatula to make sure pudding pours into holes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
After cake has been refrigerated for 2 hours, make ganache. Put chopped chocolate in medium glass bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, bring heavy cream to simmer in small saucepan. When bubbles start to break surface, pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour ganache over the pudding layer of the cake and serve.