When I decided to go to college in Boston, I was excited. It’s the birthplace of Boston cream pie, the actual literal birthplace is right up the road from Emerson and Suffolk. For those of you who don’t already know, Boston cream pie isn’t actually pie.
I had to explain to my friend because she was very confused. It was a mess. After being in Boston about a week, I set out to find the best Boston cream pie in the city. And it was… Interesting to say the least.
First off, I can’t even look at another piece of Boston cream pie for at least the next week. Secondly, finding a decent Boston cream pie is hard. I tried at least 8 different incarnations of the dessert at 7 different bakeries. And honestly, I am disappointed in you Boston. I thought you were better than this.
So here are the best, and worst, Boston cream pies in the city of Boston.
In no particular order, for those who just didn’t make the cut. Can’t have you eating bad Boston cream pie, now can I?
This cupcake almost made the list, almost. The cake part was technically good, it was tender but didn’t fall apart. It just wasn’t crazy flavorful.
The problem was the ganache on top wasn’t all that chocolatey somehow and was slightly sticky, and the filling had no flavor whatsoever. If it wasn’t a different texture from the cake, you wouldn’t know it was there.
Modern is famous for their cannoli, and trust me, stick to the cannoli. The cake they used for their Boston cream pie cupcake was more of a bland yellow cake, not a sponge that would normally be used. The chocolate layer on this one wasn’t half bad, although their piping is hideous. And once again — bland, flavorless whipped cream for a filling.
This was probably the worst Boston cream pie I tried, I don’t even know where to begin. The cake was so dry it pulled every drop of moisture from my mouth and there was no flavor to it.
I’m almost entirely certain they used pudding to fill the cake instead of pastry cream, and yet somehow, even the gobs of overly-sweet filling did nothing to help the moisture problem. The chocolate ganache tasted alright, but it was so gummy and sticky, I took one bite and the entire layer came off.
And now, for the best of the best of Boston cream pies.
While this tartlet wasn’t the traditional Boston cream pie by any stretch of the imagination, it was still delicious. The crust was really buttery and sort of crumbly, it was closer to a shortbread than it was a pie crust.
The chocolate was sort of bitter which I was happy about, so it wasn’t a total sugar bomb. The ganache was really rich and smooth, and it didn’t melt right away, it lingered in your mouth.
The cream in the middle had a lot of vanilla flavor but it wasn’t pudding-like in texture, which was nice, and it didn’t soak into the crust either. It sort of reminded me of a cannoli filling since the texture was sort of dense and creamy.
Flour has created yet another masterpiece. Their pastry cream wasn’t insanely sweet nor was it pudding-like. It was very light and fluffy, it melted on your tongue like it was whipped cream, and it was packed with vanilla flavor.
The light as air pastry cream was contrasted by chocolate ganache that they poured all over the cake. It was slightly bitter and had a definite coffee flavor. It wasn’t too rich or sticky, and it didn’t overpower the other components. It even smelled like mocha, thanks to the coffee in the chocolate.
The cake was delicious. The sponge was light, fluffy, moist, and sweet without being sickly. It had such a delicate texture, but it didn’t fall apart or turn to mush. It was like biting into a cloud.
The only reason Flour isn’t 1st is because the coffee isn’t traditional and there is no hiding it.
As if you could have a top 3 of Boston cream pie and not mention the Omni. They are the ones who invented the dessert in 1856.
The original really is hard to beat. The chocolate ganache wasn’t too sweet or overbearing; it also wasn’t bitter at all, it just melted in your mouth.
The cake was very tender without falling apart, and their filling wasn’t overly sweet or eggy like some places. They weren’t shy with the vanilla either. This filling packed a lot of flavor and the toasted coconut on the sides gave it a nice texture and a slight nuttiness. It was fantastic; if you live in Boston, you need to have this at least once.