Boston’s Parker House Hotel, currently named Omni Parker House, opened in October 1856. Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian was the original chef at Parker’s Restaurant. He created the wonderful confectionery delight “Boston Cream Pie.” This dessert is still being served at Parker’s restaurant. Wouldn’t it be fun to enjoy some while seated at Table 40, where JFK proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier?
When the Parker House opened, chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings. I for one am very grateful that chef Sanzian envisioned a chocolate icing for his new dessert. This may have contributed to its quickly spreading popularity. Of course it has a few other great features! Boston Cream Pie is not a pie at all, but a two layer golden cake filled with pastry cream.
Here is the recipe for Parker House Boston Cream Pie. Enjoy!
- 1/3 cup butter, plus more for pans
- 1 cup sugar, plus more for pans
- 1 egg
- 2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups scalded milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 7 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, and line with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and sprinkle with sugar, tapping out excess; set aside.
- Cream 1/3 cup butter; beat in 1 cup sugar. When this is well incorporated, beat in 1 egg until the mixture is very light.
- Sift together twice: 2 cups sifted cake flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Mix 3/4 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating them a few times, until all of both have been incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two 8- or 9-inch greased cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven about 25 minutes, or until the cakes spring back from light finger pressure in the center.
- Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes; then loosen the edges with a knife, and turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Beat 2 eggs lightly with a fork. Add them to a saucepan.
- Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups scalded milk.
- Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture has boiled for 1 minute.
- Let cool slightly; stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon butter.
- Cool thoroughly.
- In a small, heavy saucepan, add the cream and bring just to a boil; immediately remove from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate, stirring with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth.
- Use the Chocolate Icing while still warm.
- Spread the Cream Filling between the cake layers.
- Top the cake with the Chocolate Icing. Note: If the Chocolate Icing has cooled, gently re-warm before using.