Boston Cream Pie
The French pastry chef who invented the Boston cream pie at the city's Parker House Hotel probably didn't anticipate that, well over a century later, the cake would still be around, sold in supermarkets, interpreted as cupcakes, as ice cream, even finding prominence as a doughnut flavor. But there's an unwavering appeal to those two layers of golden sponge cake sandwiching thick custard, all topped with a glossy layer of chocolate—technically, it's not a pie at all. We're not surprised by its popularity, or its staying power. In fact, we'd rather not imagine a world without it.
Enlarge Image Credit: Penny de los SantosSERVES 10
INGREDIENTSFOR THE CAKE
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1½ cups flour, plus more for pan
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
⅔ cup buttermilk
FOR THE FILLING AND GLAZE
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
6 egg yolks
1½ cups milk
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. 60-percent bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
INSTRUCTIONS1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9″ round cake pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, until smooth. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; beat until just combined. Pour into pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack; let cool completely.
2. Make the filling: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla seeds in a 4-qt. saucepan; add yolks, and whisk until smooth. Stir in milk, and place pan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add butter one cube at a time, whisking until smooth; stir in vanilla extract. Transfer pudding to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; chill until firmed, at least 2 hours.
3. Make the glaze and assemble cake: Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over high heat; pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Slowly stir chocolate and cream until smooth and shiny; set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, split cake horizontally into two layers so that the top layer is slightly smaller than the bottom. Spread chilled pudding over cut side of bottom layer and cover with top layer; pour chocolate glaze evenly over cake, letting it drip down the side of the cake. Refrigerate cake until glaze is set, at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
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