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Mar 12, 2008 07:31 AM

Two questions re: Boston Cream Pie

Hi all!

I just saw a delicious looking Boston Cream pie on TV last night, and I'm thinking of attempting the recipe this weekend. So, two questions.

The show featured the Parker House Hotel's Boston Cream Pie, which is supposedly the creator of the Boston Cream Pie. In looking up recipes, it looks like this is the recipe.
also on Food Network
(looks to be the same recipe).

Anyhow my two questions are:
1. Has anyone tried the Parker House Hotel recipe - any feedback? Do you have any other recipes you'd recommend?

2. Does the Boston Cream pie hold up well? I'm going to have to travel (about 2 hours). It's winter, so it's not terribly warm, but it's not refrigerated either. Do you think the pastry cream will go bad?

Thanks in advance for your help!

My blog:

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  1. I haven't used the Parker House recipe. I've used other recipes but found the best is just using sponge cake from the Cake Bible, pastry cream from whatever looks good (it's forgiving), and a chocolate ganache topping w/ a little corn syrup. I'd worry about the pastry cream on a two hour car ride, unles it's on ice. If you do decide to do it, I'd probably make it in a springform pan so the edges will hold the cake upright for the trip. If the pastry cream gets warm, the top layer of the cake could slide off.

    1. I've made the Cook's Illustrated Boston Cream Pie from The Best Recipe with success. The pastry cream was good and held up well. I made the pastry cream and assembled the cake a couple days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. It held up great during a 1 hour ride.

      One thing I would recommend is making a well in the bottom layer to hold the pastry cream in place for better transportation. Don't make it real deep but just enough to keep the cream in place while still providing a layer affect. It will also make a nice presentation and you won't have pastry cream oozing out the sides when you cut it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dee S

        Hi all - thanks for the feedback! I'll look into the recipes and compare them to the parker house recipe. I was just alarmed at how many eggs they use - I think it came out to a total of 13 eggs!!

        Also - you're right - I think it's a bad idea to travel with the cake as I realized I'll be traveling for a total of over 3 hours, not just the 2 hrs I originally thought.

        I think I'll do some cookies instead and make the cake for a brunch that I'll be hosting soon!

      2. My mom makes Boston Cream Pie all the time (it's my brother's favorite), and if she is bringing it to a family function, she will frequently assemble it there. Cake layers travel snuggly in their original pans, pastry cream in a tupperware and ganache in another tupperware--pack it all in a cooler. You'll have to reheat the ganache a little, so that it flows smoothly, but the pastry cream turns out fine every time.

        1. I'm originally from Massachisetts, and have made Boston Cream Pie since I was a kid. There are many variations out there even by Boston standards.

          Personally, I find the Parker House recipe absurd on its face.

          No self-respecting frugal Yankee is going to use 13 eggs in a cake. And there really is no need. Also, you don't ice the sides of the cake with pastry cream. There is no icing on the sides, just on the top. (It can drizzle down a little if you like.)

          Basically, Boston Cream Pie has a white cake-type base (trust me I have the cookbooks from days gone by, and sponge cake is not the traditional base, but make sponge if you like), a custard filling (if you use pastry cream or even whipped cream, I wouldn't complain) and chocolate icing. (Although some die hard purists will say vanilla icing is traditional, they would be correct, but we love chocolate.)

          A HUGE key to Boston Cream Pie is using one layer cut in half for the cake. Using two full-sized layers makes the cake too thick and dense. Also, it will not likely hold the filling well and will slipslide away. One modern change I make--- I use ganache for the chcoolate icing.

          Here is my recipe, but keep in mind you will get two layers so you can make two Boston Cream Pies out of them:



          1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
          1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I use Crisco with no trans fats)
          1 tablespoon baking powder
          1 3/4 cups sugar, preferably superfine
          3/4 teaspoon salt
          2 teaspoons vanilla extract
          1 teaspoon almond extract
          5 large egg whites
          2 3/4 cups bleached cake flour
          1 cup milk

          Vanilla Cream Filling:
          2/3 cup sugar
          1/3 cup flour, all purpose
          1/8 tsp salt
          2 cups hot, scalded milk
          2 eggs, slightly beaten
          1 tsp vanilla extract or other flavoring

          Chocolate Icing (Ganache):
          1 cup heavy cream
          1 cup semi sweet chocolate
          1 TBS unsalted butter



          1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease & flour the cake pans, or line with greased parchment paper.
          2. Cream together the butter, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt, vanilla & almond extracts for about 5 minutes, until fluffy & light.
          3. Add the egg whites to the creamed butter mixture, one at a time & beat well after each addition.
          4. Add the flour in 3 portions, alternating with the milk, beginning & ending with the flour. Stop the mixer & scrape the sides & bottom of the bowl when necessary.
          5. Pour the batter into your prepared pans & bake until a tester comes out clean.
          Approx. 25 minutes in 8 inch pans, 25 to 30 in 9 inch pans, & 35 in a 9x13 pan.

          Remove the pans & let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the layers out, but let it cool upright. Be careful, this is a delicate cake when warm!

          This recipe yields two to three 8-inch rounds, two 9-inch rounds, or one 9 x 13-inch cake.

          Vanilla Cream Filling:
          1. In top of double boiler, over boiling water, mix sugar, flour and salt.
          2. Add hot milk.
          3. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring with a whisk, until mixture thickens.
          4. Add eggs and cook 2 more minutes.
          5. Stir in vanilla.
          6. Cover with plastic wrap touching the top of the filling, and refrigerate till needed.

          Chocolate Icing (Ganache):
          1. Put chocolate in a medium bowl.
          2. Bring heavy cream to a boil, pour over chocolate.
          3. Stir till soft and shiny, add butter, stir till blended.
          4. Refrigerate till ready to use.


          1. Cut one layer in half lengthwise.
          2. Put a thick layer of the chilled filling between the layers.
          3. Ice with a thick top layer of ganache

          Optional: Top in the center with a maraschino cherry.

          Refrigerate until ready to serve.

          NOTE: If you make your cake in a 10 inch springform cake, you can store it in the pan neatly and it is easy to transport.

          7 Replies
          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            Can you freeze Boston Cream Pie? I want to send some by mail, but I have no idea how to do that without it being a big mess.

            1. re: aoife

              Great question Aoife. Wish I had a great answer.

              I think it depends on the filling. The cake and icing should freeze brilliantly.... but some custard/pastry cream icings freeze well and others don't. Supermarkets sell Boston Cream Pies in their freezer sections... so obviously some manufacturers have come up with a frozen cream.

              I have never frozen mine, so I can't vouch for it.

              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                Hi aiofe - I don't think freezing is recommended as the pastry cream will lose its creamy texture

            2. re: TrishUntrapped

              Thanks for the recipe - I will give this a try!!

              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                Drat! The cake recipe should say UNBLEACHED flour...not bleached. It shouldn't make a difference. But I do always use King Arthur flour. I like it.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  Trish---thanks so much for this recipe---I cant wait to give it a try this weekend! Cheers.

                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                    wish i had read this before even considering the Parker House recipe. Two cakes later and i'm about to make the frosting but have a feeling this cake is going to be a disaster and
                    certainly not worth the dozens of eggs that i have gone through thinking this was going to be
                    a great cake. i have decided to use your recipe for the frosting. i was making this a

                  2. I recently made Boston Cream Pie (for the first time) using the recipe from "Cuisine at Home". It was very good, with a variation of a chocolate layer in the middle. I felt that some of the pastry cream soaked into the layers though, and would make a little more next time. I haven't tried any other recipes yet.


                    Recipe link and pics:

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Rubee

                      I wonder if anyone "out there" has the recipe from Thompson's Spa? That was the Famous version, on the Midnight Dreary.