There’s a lot about my New England roots I’m really proud of. It’s where I was born and spent much of my formative years. I love the Atlantic Ocean and the rocky beaches of the Long Island Sound. I love the fall season, which is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. And though I know this will endanger my relationship with many of you out there, I also love the New England Patriots*. Haters gonna hate. Since the Pats are heading to their 10th Super Bowl, I am honoring them today with yet another East coast love of mine – Boston Cream Pie.
*For those of you who may not know, the New England Patriots have been the dominant American football franchise in the new millennium. They are arguably the most hated sports franchise in American history. Go Pats.
Although it’s likely the Boston Cream Pie existed prior to 1856, the Parker House Hotel in Boston, MA claims that’s when the dessert was first created, by Chef Sanzian (first name seemingly unknown. Leave a comment if you think you’ve found it!). The word “pie” was interchangeable with “cake” back then, and the original version featured rum syrup and almonds in addition to the yellow cake, pastry cream, and chocolate glaze. The Boston Cream donut is a similar combination, with a pastry cream filling and chocolate fondant glaze. It’s also my favorite donut ever.
I call for pastry cream powder in the recipe for pastry cream, and this is just a modified starch that can be substituted with cornstarch. The pastry cream recipe also calls for a vanilla bean, which is worth its weight in gold these days, so feel free to sub it with 6g vanilla extract.
When a recipe calls for combining eggs and sugar, especially egg yolks, the process has to be done quickly or the yolks could “burn.” This occurs when the sugar pulls the moisture out of the egg yolk, causing the remaining protein to premature bind. I don’t want to get too nerdy here, but it’s something that can’t be undone. To prevent this from happening, simply whisk eggs and sugar together thoroughly as soon as you combine them.
Bring the pastry cream up to a boil (it is too thick to ever rolling boil), while whisking constantly to cook any starch flavor out.
To avoid overcooking the pastry cream, remove it from the heat when it is nearly thick enough, and continue to whisk off of the heat for 2-3min. The carry over heat will finish cooking the pastry cream and whisking will prevent thick curds from forming.
boston cream pie
245g butter unsalted
175g egg yolks
192g whole milk
9g vanilla extract
292g cake flour
8g baking powder
Bring the butter, egg yolks and whole milk to room temp. before getting started, then combine and sift the cake flour and baking powder and reserve it to use later.
Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and cream the mixture, mixing for 3-4min.
Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture in two additions, allowing full emulsification with each addition. Scrape the bowl well halfway through additions.
Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the whole milk in three additions.
For a 9″ cake pan I add between 900-1000g of batter.
Bake at 330F for 40-60min. or until a cake tester comes out almost clean, rotating the pan and covering it in tinfoil halfway through baking.
Let cool, and cut into two even layers.
250g whole milk
60g egg yolks
17g pastry cream powder
1 vanilla bean
15g butter unsalted
Split and scrape the vanilla bean and add it to the whole milk in a sauce pot.
Bring the whole milk and vanilla to a simmer.
While the milk is heating, combine the egg yolks, starch, and sugar, and quickly whisk them together until well combined.
Temper the egg yolks into the steaming milk while whisking rapidly.
Cook the custard over medium heat until it thickens.
Remove the custard from the heat, and continue to whisk while adding the butter.
Spread the pastry cream out over a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap, and add a second layer of plastic wrap to touch.
Cool the pastry cream in the refrigerator until well set.
165g chocolate 58% Guittard La Permiere Etoile
175g heavy cream
30g butter unsalted
Combine the glucose and heavy cream in a sauce pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. *Because this recipe is so small, I actually just add the glucose and heavy cream to a small plastic deli and microwave it until boiling.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit 3min.
Whisk or hand blend the mixture until smooth and shiny.
Let the ganache cool for 5min. at room temp. Add the butter and salt and whisk or hand blend once more.
Spread an even layer of pastry cream over the first layer of yellow sponge. I prefer to pipe the pastry cream on using a pastry bag, because it creates a very even layer of filling that needs little to no further spreading.
Add the second layer of yellow sponge, pressing evenly to adhere it to the pastry cream.
Chill the cake for 30min. – 1hr.
Warm the chocolate glaze until fluid.
Pour the glaze into the center of the cake, and using a turn table and offset spatula, gently spread the glaze out to the edge of the cake.
Cut and serve. The Pats may win, they may lose, but at least I’ll be eating well while it happens.