Boston Cream Pie
Boston Cream Pie, this is not your ordinary pie. How could it be when it comes from a not so ordinary town? Growing up near Boston, I have the inside scoop to share with you beginning with the flavor of this part of the world. Unlike okra, it is influenced by the cast of characters that call it home. Names like Boggs, Yastrzemski, Bird, McHale – played a huge part in my teenage conversations; witnessing the Red Sox, NY Yankees and their rivalry; spouting phrases like the Curse, Reverse the Curse, all the while learning about loyalty. Sports are a major part of the city’s culture, Bostonians are known for their fanatical devotion to their Red Sox, actually to all four major league sports, baseball, hockey, football, and basketball. Fair weather friends we are not! Rather, we stick through thick and thin, no matter how long the losing streak lasts. We are somehow connected having endured the seasons, a true labor of love, a devotion and loyalty, much like making a Boston Cream Pie. Aah, yes we are also known for being rebels…After all it was back in colonial days that the settlers threw tea into the harbor and set history in motion to create this great country. My hometown has a sweet side too. Please, pour yourself a hot cup of tea, sit back and enjoy a story about a summer adventure, a road trip to Boston with me and 5 teenagers.
We first need to make a stop at Gammy’s, the best part of going home! As you might guess, there is nothing ordinary about my family either, we dare to stand on our motto while blazing a trail of desire. We lucky adventurers are in for a bonus treat, as this happens to be a year the Sox win the World Series, adding another layer to our journey. Gammy fills us with hugs, food, and anticipation for that which awaits us in the city. We are prepared, including me- with a happy humming tune for those moody, expressive teenagers.
Arriving in Boston is easy, driving and parking are not. My traveling companions grew up in the South, where Nascar is King, and “rubbin’ is racin’, but street driving is not the contact sport that it is in Boston. Additionally, the orderly street layouts familiar in the rest of America does not really exist in Boston, here they just followed the trails constructed by tracing fox and raccoon paths through the woods. This is also an area of the world where your car’s horn function is far more important than your brakes, that’s what bumpers and fenders are for. I instinctively revert right back to my old New England driving habits which stirs quite the conversation from the little travelers. Quote of the day from the one riding shotgun “Whoa! This is better than any ride at Six Flags, wicked awesome!” The reply from the back seat,” Yeah, I might even throw-up on the next corner we swerve around.” The volume of the happy tune I’m humming tune increases in volume.
Safely parked in a central part of the city, we unload and set off to the waterfront. One of our travelers has never been north of the Mason Dixon Line, she is in awe of the charm that the fishing pier offers and excited to taste lobster. Down the docks we go, rumbles from grumpy teenagers are easily handled with another happy humming tune and food. They choose a restaurant, going for one with a view, we sit out on the patio. Whenever and wherever I am on an adventure it is expected that something out of the ordinary will happen around me. Sure enough, just like as if it were a scene from a movie, there in the harbor, loading up the Duck tour is a bunch of Red Sox baseball players. The air is buzzing! Lobster rolls are served! For the moment the teenagers are happy. Unable to resist, I stir things. The topic, how everyone has a favorite cake they expect for their birthday, and how it becomes family tradition. Well now, for me, on my 8th birthday I dared to be different and requested a Boston Cream Pie. Over the years my family has been loyal in tracking down the best tasting of these gems, making me feel special, important, loved.
Time for dessert, our final destination – The Omni-Parker House, where the origins of this pie were created. We stroll up Chestnut Hill, with a dash of history, and a handful of culture sprinkled along the way. Just as the teenagers begin to get restless, there before us in a glass case is the payoff. The elegance of this dessert alone has mouths drooling. Sure enough one taste in and they are hooked! Heaven on a fork. The delicate cake layered with a seductive vanilla custard and a silky chocolate coat has the most unique character. Aah, but this is why I adore it so, it is a bit rebellious itself – this cake masquerading as a pie.
To make this at home will be a true labor of love, yes there are easier ways to bake one, less authentic, certainly not as flavorful. It will test your spirit, commitment and sense of adventure much like the Red Sox during a pennant race. Be prepared, get a happy humming tune, and as you navigate through my recipe, remember those teens gained more than a lesson in the value of loyalty and history, they experienced the pleasure of extreme indulgence that often is best found by reaching for something out of the ordinary. Choosing the harder way, going that extra mile, makes the journey that much sweeter.