Classic Boston Cream Pie Recipe

A wicked awesome Boston cream pie that's actually a pie.

Digging into a slice of Boston cream pie with a fork.

Serious Eats / Lauren Weisenthal

Why It Works

  • A golden pastry crust replaces the slightly dried-out edges and soggy middle of sponge cake in "traditional" Boston cream pie.
  • The crisp shell provides a textural contrast to the soft filling and glaze.
  • The slightly savory flavor of the pie crust balances the sweetness of the other components.

Nobody seems to be able to tell me why Boston cream pie, which is so obviously not a pie, has that name. Yet despite the troublesome moniker, Boston cream pie (and its counterpart, the Boston cream doughnut), with its layers of sponge cake, vanilla pudding, and a slick of sweet dark chocolate glaze, is awesome, or "wicked awesome", as the locals might say. So it stands to reason, wouldn't making an actual pie version be all the more awesome?

Since the weakest part of the traditional Boston cream pie is usually the sponge cake—the exposed layers tend to dry out on the edges and get soggy in the middle— I propose that we swap it out for something better. This pie ditches the sponge in favor of a crisp, slightly savory pie crust. The crust is filled with rich vanilla pudding and covered with the traditional dark chocolate glaze. It provides great texture and a bit of salty contrast against the sweetness of the pudding, and it's blind-baked to a golden brown to stand up to the creamy filling.

Celebrate this classic dessert with a pie-itized version. It's a great early spring pie to tide you over until the local fruit comes in, and it's a home run treat while watching baseball, whether you're rooting for the Sox or the Yankees.

May 2012

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 5 hrs
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

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Ingredients

  • One half recipe easy pie dough, shaped and chilled in a pie plate

  • 1 quart whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 10 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar, divided

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 egg

  • 7 egg yolks

  • 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) cornstarch

  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 4 ounces heavy cream (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). When oven is ready, line chilled pie shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with weights (I reuse dried beans for this), and bake on lowest rack of oven for 15 minutes. Remove weights and liner, turn pie, and bake until bottom crust is a light golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Remove pie shell from oven and allow to cool completely.

  2. In a large saucepan, stir together milk, vanilla, half of sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolks. Add starch and remaining sugar and whisk until very pale yellow in color, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Place saucepan with milk mixture over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. When it starts to bubble, remove from heat. Temper eggs with the hot liquid in small amounts, whisking constantly with each addition. Once all of the liquid has been poured into eggs, pour the mixture back into pot and whisk constantly over low heat until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. From the point you see the first bubble, whisk for 2 additional minutes, then pour the custard into pie shell and press plastic wrap against the top. Allow custard to cool at room temperature, then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

  3. When you are ready to serve, place chopped chocolate in a bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine cream and corn syrup and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once cream begins to simmer, pour cream over chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Stir mixture until chocolate is smooth. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the chilled pie and smooth with an offset spatula, and serve immediately.

Special Equipment

9-inch pie plate

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
614 Calories
29g Fat
77g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 614
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 14g 69%
Cholesterol 192mg 64%
Sodium 291mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 77g 28%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 49g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 162mg 12%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 361mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)