Published March 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
This triple-component dessert would deserve a revival—if only we could make the filling foolproof and keep the glaze from cracking off.
There’s the opportunity for failure in every component of a Boston cream pie. From the base to the glaze, every part of a Boston cream pie is challenging to prepare at home. The sponge cake can turn out dry and crumbly, the pastry cream can curdle or fail to thicken, and the chocolate glaze can seize.
When a Boston cream pie hits all the marks, it’s a superstar dessert. So we wanted to lead the dessert’s revival with a fail-safe recipe.
Boston cream pie is traditionally made from a genoise-like sponge cake, but we found that fussy and temperamental. Instead, we opted for cake that was trendy during Boston cream pie’s heyday and didn’t require any finicky folding or separating of eggs: the hot-milk sponge cake. Tasters supported our decision. Not only was the cake supremely easy to prepare, but its light texture and subtle flavor were the perfect platform for a creamy filling. Baking the batter in two pans eliminated the need to slice a single cake horizontally before adding the filling.
Next up: pastry cream. If its texture is too loose, the cream will squish out when the cake is sliced, so we needed to find a way to firm it up. We turned to butter to do the job. We mixed some into the cooked mixture of yolks, sugar, half-and-half, and flour. The butter reinforced the richness of the pastry cream, enhancing its luxurious flavor. And once the butter-enriched cream was spread on the cake and refrigerated, it sliced cleanly and held fast between the layers while still maintaining a silky smoothness.
Finally, it was time to address the glaze. Adding corn syrup to a mixture of heavy cream and melted chocolate gave our ganache glaze a smooth consistency that would cling to the top of the cake and drip artistically down its sides.list of recipes