Chef’s View: The Original Boston Cream Pie Recipe

BostonCreamPieRecipeA quick Google search for a Boston Cream Pie recipe will yield hundreds of results. Folks have clamored to recreate this timeless dessert, and to vary its original greatness to fit their personal cravings.

But many don’t realize that the true, original Boston Cream Pie is a culinary creation of Boston’s Parker House, now widely known as Omni Parker House. The recipe below was originally called the Parker House “Chocolate Cream Pie”, and was created and served at Parker’s Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856. It became so popular that in 1958 it was fashioned into a Betty Crocker boxed mix and sold nationally well into the 1990s.

What made the dessert so special was its chocolate icing. When the Parker House opened, chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings. So the Parker House cake might have become well known for its rather innovative use of chocolate. In fact, the Boston Cream Pie is not a pie at all, but a two layer golden cake filled with pastry cream. The Boston Cream Pie has been distinguished as Massachusetts’ official state dessert over Toll House Cookies and the Fig Newton.

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Boston Cream Pie Recipe

One 10” round sponge cake
Pastry cream
4 oz. toasted almonds
Chocolate icing

Sponge Cake (for 1 10-inch pan)

7 Eggs, separated
8oz. Sugar
1 Cup Flour
1 oz. Melted butter


In two bowls, separate egg yolks and whites. Add ½ of the sugar to each bowl. Beat both until peaked. When stiff, fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Gradually add flour, mixing with a wooden spatula. Mix in the butter. Pour this mixture into a 10-inch greased cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until spongy and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool fully.

Pastry Cream

1 tbsp. Butter
2 cups Milk
2 cups Light Cream
½ cup Sugar
3 ½ tbsp. Cornstarch
6 Eggs
1 tsp. Dark rum


Bring to a boil in a saucepan the butter, milk and light cream. While this mixture is cooking, combine the sugar, cornstarch and eggs in a bowl and whip until ribbons form. When the cream, milk, butter mixture reaches the boiling point, whisk in the egg mixture and cook to boiling. Boil for one minute. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Chill overnight if possible. When chilled, whisk to smooth out and flavor with 1 tsp. dark rum.

Chocolate Icing for Boston Cream Pie

6 oz. Fondant
3 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Warm 6 oz. of white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105 degrees. Add melted chocolate. Thin to spreading consistency with water.

White Fondant Icing

5 oz. Fondant

Warm 5 oz. of white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105 degrees. Thin with water if necessary. Place in a piping bag with a 1/8-inch tip.


Spread a thin layer of chocolate fondant icing on the top of the cake. Follow immediately with spiral lines starting from the center of the cake, using the white fondant in the pastry bag. Score the white lines with the point of a paring knife, starting at the center and pulling outward to the edge.

Substitution for Fondant Icing

Chocolate Icing

6 oz Semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 oz. Warm water

Melt the chocolate. Combine with warm water.

White Icing

1 cup 10X Sugar (Confectioner’s)
1 tsp. Corn syrup
1 tsp. Water

Combine ingredients and warm to approximately 105 degrees. Adjust the consistency with water. It should flow freely from the pastry bag.

Assembly Procedures

Level the sponge cake off at the top using a slicing knife. Cut the cake into two layers. Spread the flavored pastry cream over one layer. Top with the second cake layer. Reserve a small amount of the pastry cream to spread on sides to adhere to almonds. Top the cake with the chocolate icing as described. Spread sides of cake with a thin coating of the reserved pastry cream. Press on toasted almonds.

Best of luck to all of you in recreating this piece of culinary history. Of course, if you’d rather leave the creation and experience to Parker’s Restaurant, JFK and Jackie’s table awaits. (Omni Parker House Room Packages)

Jay CooneyEdited by Jay Cooney, Omni Hotels & Resorts.
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