The Boston Cream Pie
New England is not only the birthplace of the diner but also of Boston Cream Pie. Originating in the early nineteenth century, Boston Pie, as it was then called, was a plain two layer sponge cake or butter cake filled with a vanilla custard or pastry cream. A chocolate glaze is then poured over the top of the cake and allowed to drip down the sides.
Cake or Pie?
The Pie is a cake and not a pie at all. The idea of it being a pie most likely stems from the easier availability of pie tins over cake pans during the time the dish originated. (It might also originate from the use of the custard cream filling which is usually associated with pies rather than cakes.) Also, cooks in New England and Pennsylvania Dutch regions were known for their cakes and pies and the dividing line between them was very thin.
Boston Cream Pie History
As far as where the name originated from, the story began when a New York newspaper in 1855 published a recipe for a 'Pudding Pie Cake'. This recipe was similar to the desert recipe of today except that it had a powdered sugar topping. From there we go to Boston where a man named Harvey D. Parker opened a restaurant called the Parker House Restaurant. On the menu was a 'Parker House Chocolate Pie', now know as the Boston Cream Pie. It was very similar to the New York newspaper recipe except a chocolate glaze had replaced the powdered sugar topping. Created by French chef M. Sanzian who worked at Parkers Parker House Restaurant, this pudding/cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla custard. The cake is topped with a chocolate glaze. It is cut in wedges like a pie.
The Pie was proclaimed the official Massachusetts State Dessert on December 12, 1996 after a civics class from Norton High School sponsored the bill. The pie beat out other candidates, including the toll house cookie and Indian pudding for the honour. After reading about this delicious treat I bet there may be a strong desire to cook one of your own. You can go to our Boston cream pie recipe page which will have all the ingredients and cooking instructions.
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