Celebrate Boston Cream Pie Day with this fantastic recipe! (and a little history lesson)

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(Source: JBS BOX via Allrecipes.com) (Source: JBS BOX via Allrecipes.com)
(Source: Jon Rivas via Allrecipes.com) (Source: Jon Rivas via Allrecipes.com)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Happy National Boston Cream Pie Day! We hope your sweet tooth is in working order, because after short (but fascinating) history lesson, there's a fantastic recipe for the dessert we celebrate every Oct. 23.

[Click here to jump right to the recipe.]

"Pie lovers move along. Cake lovers, pull up a chair," says NationalDayCalendar.com. "Let’s celebrate the cake with an identity crisis! Boston Cream Pie is a chocolate-frosted, custard-filled cake that is loved by millions."

So is it a pie, as the name suggests -- make that flat-out states -- is it or a cake?

The Omni Parker House Hotel, which used to be simply the Parker House Hotel, says it has been serving Boston Cream Pie since Monsieur Sanzian, a pastry chef, created it in 1856. Parker's Restaurant now ships its world-famous Boston Cream Pie, originally called Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie, all over the country. Even better, the original recipe is posted on the #AtTheOmni blog.

But. Is it a pie? Or is it a cake?

"Cooks in New England and Pennsylvania Dutch regions were known for their cakes and pies and the dividing line between them was very thin," explains What's Cooking America. "This cake was probably called a pie because in the mid-19th century, pie tins were more common than cake pans. The first versions might have been baked in pie tins."

Still, not really an answer. But I can tell you that the proper way to serve this pie... um, cake ... uh, super yummy dessert ... is in wedges. Does that make it a pie? Being cut into wedges is sort of a defining characteristic of pie.

Fun fact: Boston Cream Pie has been the official dessert of the Commonwealth of Massachusettes since Dec. 12, 1996, according to the fact page on the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website. The runners-up were Toll House cookies and Indian pudding, which is a baked custard of cornmeal, milk, eggs and sweetened molasses.

We're not quite sure how this day of celebrating the beloved Boston Cream Pie came into being, but we certainly are glad it did. 

Here endeth the history less. Let's get to the good stuff -- the recipe!

Ingredients for cake
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for cream filling
1/3 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for chocolate glaze
2 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate
3 Tbsp. butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. hot water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9-inch round cake pan.

Beat the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, 3/4 cup milk, shortening, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla at low speed, scraping bowl constantly for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally for 3 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

To make the cream filling: In a 2-quart saucepan, mix 1/3 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Stir in the milk gradually and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir at least 1/2 of the mixture slowly into the egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.

To make chocolate glaze: Heat the chocolate and butter or margarine over low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Stir in the water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is of desired consistency.

To assemble the cake ... er, pie: Split the cooled cake in half to make 2 thin layers. Fill the layers with the filling. Then spread the chocolate glaze over the top. Refrigerate any leftover cake.

Prep time: 45 m | Cook time: 35 m | Ready in: 1 h 20 m

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