What's in a Name? The Boston Cream Pie

While it's not a technically a pie, we couldn't let our Best Pie Bake Off go by without at least giving a nod to this New England classic! Check it out...

If you haven't had the pleasure of being introduced, a Boston Cream Pie consists of a layer of vanilla custard sandwiched between two rounds of airy sponge cake, all of which is then coated in a rich chocolate ganache.

The dessert dates back to the late 1800's and is typically credited to Chef Sanzian of the Parker House Hotel (the present-day Omni Parker House) right in downtown Boston. Other recipes for pudding cakes existed at the time, but this particular version somehow rose above the rest to become a classic.

Why it's called a pie instead of a cake is anybody's guess. One of the more likely theories is that cookware-deprived colonists used shallow "pie" tins for cakes as well as pies and didn't get too fussy about what they called the resulting dishes!

If you can't make it to Boston for the real deal, you can certainly make your own! Take a look at these recipes:

The Original Boston Cream Pie from Omni Parker House (opens to a .pdf)
Boston Cream Pie from Epicurious
Boston Cream Cupcakes from How to Eat a Cupcake

Are you a fan? (P.S. Can you guess what else the Parker House is famous for?!)

Related: Sense of Place: The Food of New England

(Image: Flickr member naturalkinds licensed under Creative Commons)

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