(WWTI) – It’s too good not to have its own special day, today is National Boston Cream Pie Day.
The Boston cream pie was first invented in 1856, by an Armenian-French chef named Sanzian. At the time, chocolate frosting was a relatively new idea, so the delicious dessert became popular quickly. Originally, the dish consisted of French butter sponge cake filled with custard and brushed with rum syrup. The custard overlaid with toasted sliced almonds on the sides and chocolate fondant topped it all off. Today, it remains a popular menu selection and is even the official dessert of Massachusetts.
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour — spooned and leveled
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Make the pastry cream:
- Heat half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt together in a bowl until smooth. Add flour and whisk until combined. The mixture will be thick. Whisk about 1/2 cup half-and-half into the yolk mixture to temper, then slowly whisk the tempered yolk mixture into half-and-half in the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes as the mixture thickens.
- Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on the surface, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until combined. Pastry cream will be thick. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press plastic wraps directly on the surface of pastry cream and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease two round 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.
Make the cake:
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. In the microwave or on the stove, heat milk and butter together until the butter has melted. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover loosely to keep warm. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs and granulated sugar together on high speed until light and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until combined, then whisk in the dry ingredients. The batter will be bubbly on top and somewhat thick, like pancake batter.
- Divide batter evenly between 2 pans. Bake until the tops of the cakes are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and set them on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan. As the cakes cool, check the pastry cream in the refrigerator. If it’s too thick, it won’t easily spread and could tear the cake. I removed the pastry cream from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before assembling the cake.
Assemble the cake:
- Once the cakes are cool, run a thin knife around the edges to release them from the pans. Place the bottom cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Spread pastry cream evenly on top. Place the second cake layer on top and gently press down to adhere to the pastry cream. Refrigerate the cake while preparing the chocolate glaze.
Make the glaze:
- Heat heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. As it heats up, place the chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl with a pouring spout (I use this 2-cup liquid measuring cup). Once simmering, remove the cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Gently whisk until smooth.
- Pour glaze into the center of the cake. Spread glaze to the edges of the cake allowing it to gently drip down the sides. Refrigerate the cake, uncovered, for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours) before slicing and serving. If chilling for longer than 2 hours, allow the cake to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Happy National Boston Cream Pie Day!