Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie and I have a long and happy history. I’ve mentioned before that my family used to rent a cottage in Vermont. Way back in the day, we would head over the to Grand Union in Newport for our weekend groceries. To be honest, I don’t really remember enjoying grocery shopping as a kid, probably because my parents wouldn’t buy the variety pack cereal. That’s not to say they never bought me treats. This particular Grand Union had an in store bakery, and in that bakery were the greatest Boston Cream doughnuts I have ever had. Those doughnuts were the highlights of many weekends. The Grand Union closed years ago, but Boston Cream is still my first choice when a selection of doughnuts is around.

Since my doughnut experience is pretty limited, I decided to try the original Boston Cream Pie for my friend Frank’s birthday. Frank is one of the few people I know who loves custard/pastry cream as much as I do. Clearly we were meant to be friends. This was my first attempt at it, but all of the elements were familiar to me. It’s just sponge cake, pastry cream, and ganache. I used this recipe from Gale Gand. It tasted wonderful. I really liked the sponge cake, it had a great texture to it. I did have some issues though, the biggest being the cream oozing out of my cake. I could tell it was going to be a problem as soon as I poured the chocolate on. I snapped a picture as fast as I could, then watched in horror as I lost about half the cream. I’m not sure if there was anything I could do to prevent it, other than adding gelatin to the cream. The other issue I had with the recipe was the quantity of ganache it made. I had at least a cup left over, 8 ounces of chocolate is much too much to cover a 9 inch cake, so in the recipe below I cut the quantity down.

Boston Cream Pie

Recipe by Gail Gand

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, melted (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier  (optional)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream, boiling
  1. Make the pastry cream. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla to boil. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, mix in the cornstarch making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the warm milk to temper the eggs. Stir in the remaining milk. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan. With heat on medium, whisk until the cream has thickened. Mix in the butter, white chocolate, and Grand Marnier. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cooled ( at least one hour)
  2. Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour the milk, egg yolks, and vanilla in the well. Beat until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Fold the flour/egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Pour into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Make the ganache. Cut the chocolates into chunks. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is shinny and smooth.
  4. Assemble. Slice the cake in half. Spread the pastry cream on the bottom half of the cake. Put the top half of the cake on, then pour the ganache over the top. Cool in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set.



24 thoughts on “Boston Cream Pie

  1. I’m not a sweet tooth myself. But this Boston Cream Pie looks amazingly delicious. I will give it a go in the future and thank you for sharing this great post. :)

  2. Hi Lynn, Gorgeous Boston Cream Pie! The first time I went to Boston I knew that I had to find a slice of this delicacy and ended up ordering it with hot chocolate piled with whipped cream from room service at my hotel. Oh those were the days,lol. I was thinking about your pastry cream running out and am wondering if you boiled it long enough to thicken enough, should be really thick when taken off the stove. Also should be put over ice bath to cool quickly and thickens even more, before put in fridge. Don’t know if that will help;-)

  3. Wow – that is gorgeous! I’m not even usually a fan of Boston Cream Pie, but yours looks soooo delicious! I’m sorry you had trouble with the cream — but I bet it was still fabulous. :)

  4. I make Boston Cream cupcakes (from Martha Stewart’s cupcake book), and I use Nigella Lawson’s recipe for the pastry cream. It is by far the best recipe I’ve found for the cream- it’s rich and thick and doesn’t ooze at all. I actually have a problem getting the cream into the cakes, because I want to eat it all myself.

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