Boston Cream Pie

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Boston cream pie is a two-layer sponge cake filled with a rich pastry cream and topped with a chocolate glaze. This icon of American cookery was proclaimed the official Massachusetts State Dessert on 12 December 1996. Boston’s Parker House (today’s Omni Parker House hotel) claims to be the birthplace of Boston cream pie, but what the hotel restaurant serves is a completely different creation.

When the Parker House opened in 1856, an Armenian French chef by the name of Sanzian is said to have created a dessert called Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie, a two-layer butter sponge cake brushed with rum syrup and filled with a classic crème patissière. More crème patissière was spread on the sides of the cake, which were then coated with toasted sliced almonds. The cake’s top was decorated with a layer of chocolate fondant and squiggles of white fondant. The recipe is classically French.