By now you've probably figured out that Boston Cream Pie isn't a pie at all. Invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston - and now the official dessert of Massachusetts - the dessert is so named because it was more common back in the day to bake a cake in a pie tin rather than a cake pan. Honestly, it's hard to find a good piece of Boston Cream Pie - even in Boston. Like the whoopie pie, there are a lot of terrible reproductions.
A good piece of Boston Cream Pie should be light, almost cloud-like, with a fluffy cake, a creamy but airy filling and topped with fine bittersweet chocolate. (I think I need another piece).
I made this cake for our wedding anniversary. We're generally not into buying each other cards or expensive gifts. We'd rather spend time together doing things that we find fun and meaningful. For example, a few years ago my husband designed and planted an anniversary garden for me. It was beautiful. Roses, peonies, lavender....unfortunately, we lost it when we moved.
This year, we decided to plan a new anniversary garden. For inspiration, we spent a day at the Beacon Hill Garden Tour and had a great time.
And then there's the cake. To us, a homemade dessert is such a wonderful expression of caring and love.
So tell me, whether you're married or not, what does your ideal anniversary look like? Does it involve dessert?
This is by far the best recipe I've tested. I've adapted it a bit, so that it's more authentic to the region. I know you'll love it as much as we do.
Boston Cream Pie (Adapted from Chef Bo Friberg)
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) half and half
455 g cake flour
455 g sugar
16 g baking powder
2.5 g salt
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
340 g melted unsalted butter
1 whole egg
1. Grease and flour two 10" pie pans. You can use any size pans you want. I happened to use square pans because I wanted individual square slices. I also usually make the cake a day or two in advance to make the process easier.
2. Stir together the egg whites and one third of the half and half.
3. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the vanilla, melted butter, remaining 2/3 of half and half and the whole egg. Beat at high speed for a 2-3 minutes. Gradually stir in the egg white mixture and mix until combined. Divide between cake pans.
4. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until the cake springs back when you press it lightly with your finger.
5. When cake cools, cut of all crust and brush the base layer with rum syrup.
1/4 c (60 ml) dark rum or Grand Marnier
1/4 c (60 ml) water
2 tbs. sugar
Combine all ingredients. Cook until dissolved.
1 pint whole milk
30 g cornstarch
115 g. sugar
1 g. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
55 g unsalted butter
1/2 c. heavy cream (120 ml)
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the cornstarch, sugar and salt together with a fork until well-blended. Using the whisk attachment, add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.
2. Boil the milk.
3. Slowly add about 1/3 of the hot milk to the egg mixture while whisking rapidly. Pour the tempered mixture back into the pan and stir.
4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in the vanilla and the butter.
5. Pour into a bowl to cool and cover with waxed paper to prevent skin from forming.
6. When completely cool, whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream and fold into the pastry cream. Refrigerate.
455 g dark chocolate
140 g unsalted butter
40 grams cocoa powder
1/4 c (60 ml) rum or grand marinier
3/4 c (180 ml) corn syrup
1. Chop and melt the chocolate. Add the butter and stir until blended.
2. Stir in the cocoa powder. Stir in the corn syrup and alcohol.
3. If glaze hardens, heat in microwave until desired consistency is achieved.
Trim cake crusts.
Brush base layer of cake with rum syrup.
Place pastry cream filling between the cake layers.
Press down gently so that the cream comes to the sides.
Top with chocolate.
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