With my birthday coming up (yikes, way too fast), I thought I’d splurge and focus on my favorite dessert, Boston Cream Pie. The purported history of Boston Cream Pie makes for fascinating reading and includes red herrings such as cream puffs made in Boston and a type of cakey jelly roll. The foreshadowing of Boston Cream Pie appeared when cooks began to make layer cakes and cut them into pie shaped wedges for serving. Jam or jelly became the standard filling for these thin layers of sponge or butter cake. Around 1870 a variation commenced when custard was substituted for the jelly filling. Now we’re getting closer to Boston Cream Pie. Often the layer cakes were topped with sifted confectioner’s sugar and called Washington cakes or Washington pies. The 1950s saw the brilliant addition of chocolate icing. Now we’re talking Boston Cream Pie! Strangely enough, however, even as late as 1959 the Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook listed chocolate icing merely as an alternative for dusting with confectioner’s or powdered sugar. All I can say is WTH–give me chocolate! Here are 4 versions of this delicious beauty. If you make one of these, please send me a picture.
BOSTON CREAM PIE
Cream Filling: 2 large egg yolks, 1 ½ cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Place yolks in a small bowl and whisk. Stir in the milk. Set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir egg mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and comes to a boil. Boil one minute, stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24.
Cake: 1 ¼ cups plain flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup softened but not melted butter, ¾ cup milk, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 large egg.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Apply baking spray to bottom of 9-inch round cake pan. In large bowl, beat all ingredients with electric mixer until well mixed. Pour batter evenly into pan. Bake 35 minutes until golden brown and center passes toothpick test. Cool pan on a rack for 20 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and again place on rack for about 40 minutes or until completely cooled.
Chocolate Glaze: 3 tablespoons butter, 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, 3 tablespoons hot water, 1 cup powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon vanilla.
In a 1-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. When melted, remove from heat. Stir in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and hot water. If needed for thinning, more hot water may be added one teaspoon at a time.
Cut cake in half horizontally, using a long knife and toothpicks as a guide. On cake plate, place bottom layer with cut side up, and spread filling over it. Place top of cake with cut side down. Spread chocolate glaze over top of cake and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate at least an hour.
QUICKY BOSTON CREAM PIE
Cream Filling: 1 cup milk, 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding, 1 ½ cups whipped topping.
Cake: 1 box yellow cake mix and ingredients listed on back of box.
Chocolate Glaze: 1 (1 ounce) square coarsely chopped unsweetened baking chocolate, 1 tablespoon butter, ¾ cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk (Note: recipe can be doubled if you prefer a thicker glaze).
Preheat oven and prepare cake mix according to package directions. Prepare pans so that cake won’t stick by lining two 9-inch round pans with parchment paper or spraying thoroughly with cooking spray. Bake cake according to package directions, until golden brown and center passes toothpick test. Cool pan on a rack for 20 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and again place on rack for about 40 minutes or until completely cooled.
Beat 1 cup of milk and pudding mix with a whisk or mixer for 2 minutes. Gently fold in whipped cream. Let stand 5 minutes.
On cake plate place one layer and spread pudding mixture over it. Then place the second layer on top.
You will now make the glaze and immediately spread it over the cake. Microwave the chocolate and butter on high for one minute. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix until smooth. Spread chocolate glaze over top of cake and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate at least an hour.
BOSTON CREAM PIE POKE CAKE
1 box yellow cake mix, 2 (3.4 ounce) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix, 4 cups milk,
1 can chocolate frosting.
Make cake according to package instructions. Mix pudding mix with milk, and whisk until lumps are gone, about 2 minutes. While cake is still warm, poke holes in cake using the handle of a wooden spoon. Do not poke the holes all the way through. Pour pudding over cake and gently press as much as possible into the holes. Place in refrigerator to cool. After removing foil from canned frosting, microwave it about 10-15 seconds. Stir. Spread frosting glaze over cake. Cool and enjoy.
BOSTON CREAM PIE COOKIES
Custard Cream: ½ cup sugar divided in half, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 egg yolks, 6 tablespoons cornstarch.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with ¼ cup sugar and vanilla. Add cornstarch until completely mixed and smooth. Add 1 cup of the hot milk to the yolk mixture and stir well. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, and whisk continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens. Cool slightly in the pot. Stir and place in a bowl or plastic bag in the refrigerator to cool completely.
Cookies: 1 box yellow cake mix, 2 eggs, ½ cup oil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix, eggs and oil. Divide batter into 20 even pieces. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake 6-8 minutes or just until done. (Cookies will flatten) Cool completely.
Chocolate Glaze Icing: 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream.
Place chocolate chips in a bowl. In a separate glass cup or bowl, heat the heavy cream in the microwave just until boiling. Pour cream over the chocolate chips and stir to melt and combine.
Spread a generous amount of custard cream on each cooled cookie. Dip into the chocolate and place on a platter or tray to set.
Which Boston Cream Pie recipe will you try? Maybe you have your own special recipe.
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance