Boston Cream Pie with American Heritage Chocolate Glaze

 Today I made a Massachusetts famous dessert, Boston cream pie with American Heritage Chocolate Glaze.   Did you know that on December 12, 1996 the Boston cream pie was proclaimed the official State Dessert of Massachusetts beating out other candidates including the toll house cookie and Indian pudding?

Boston cream pie (really a cake – not a pie!) is two layers of sponge cake filled with thick vanilla custard and topped with a chocolate glaze. The dessert was first served at the Parker House Hotel located in Historic Downtown Boston. The Parker House Hotel (now the Omni Parker House Hotel) has been severing Boston cream pies since their opening in 1856. French chef Sanzian, who was hired for the opening of the hotel, is credited with creating Boston cream pie. This cake was originally served at the hotel with the names Chocolate Cream Pie or Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie.

I like to simplify things as much as possible so I’ll be using a yellow cake mix, vanilla instant pudding & pie filling mix with a chocolate glaze made from American Heritage Chocolate drink to create our Boston cream pie.

Ingredients

1 Yellow Cake Mix (prepare as instructed)

1 Instant Vanilla Pudding and Pie Mix (5.1oz)

½ cup American Heritage Chocolate Drink

2 ½ cups half and half cream

½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup confectionary sugar

3 tablespoon butter

Prepare the yellow cake mix as directed. Bake using two 9” pans. Start the vanilla pudding, whisking in 2 ½ cups of half and half to give the pudding a thicker consistency, then refrigerate pudding to set-up

While the cake is cooling prepare the Chocolate Glaze.

American Heritage Chocolate Glaze

½ cup American Heritage Finely Grated Chocolate Drink

½ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons butter

¾ cup powdered sugar

Bring the heavy cream and butter to a simmer, add powdered sugar and stir quickly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate mixing until it is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Let glaze stand for 5 minutes to thicken.

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To assemble your cake place one of the 9” cakes layers upside down on a plate, flat side is up, add a thick layer of the pudding mix and top with the other 9” cake layer. Generously spread the American Heritage Glaze on the top of the cake and refrigerate at least ½ hour before serving.

 

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In just over an hour you’ll have a delectable dessert based on a historic Massachusetts recipe. Enjoy!

 

 

 

May I suggest another cure for a dreary November, Ishmael?

Wreck of the Essex. Detail of "Whaling Voyage Round the World," ca.1848, a panorama by Benjamin Russell (1804-1885) and Caleb P. Purrington (1812-1876). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Wreck of the Essex. Detail of “Whaling Voyage Round the World,” ca.1848, a panorama by Benjamin Russell (1804-1885) and Caleb P. Purrington (1812-1876). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet . . . then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”  –Moby-Dick

Though Ishmael’s November was metaphorical, our literal November here in Boston has seen a good share of damp and drizzle, as well. And while Ishmael sought to counteract his melancholy by heading to sea on the whaling ship Pequod, I wouldn’t recommend that same course for us – maybe sipping on some drinking chocolate would more safely lift the mood instead? But really, you may be wondering, what has chocolate got to do with whaling?  Read More

Pumpkin Muffins with American Heritage Cream Cheese Frosting

I’m always looking for a new recipe to try to impress my family during holidays. We recently received recipe cards for Pumpkin Muffins with American Heritage Cream Cheese Frosting from American Heritage at Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop. Perfect, just what I wanted, something sweet and delicious.

I ran out to the store and picked up a pumpkin bread and muffin mix. Yes, I could have made the muffins from scratch, but why would I do that when I can have the mix whipped together and in and out of the oven in less than a half an hour!

While the muffins were cooking, I started the frosting

American Heritage Chocolate Cream Cheese FrostingIMG_2587

Ingredients:

8 oz. Cream Cheese

2 1/2 Cups Sugar

3/4 stick butter

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 Cup American Heritage Drink Mix

In a mixer, blend the butter, sugar and cream cheese until smooth. I like to remove the bowl from the mixer and scrap the frosting mix back down to the bottom of the bowl a couple of times to get the sugar, butter and cream cheese a nice creamy consistency . Blend in the vanilla and add the American Heritage Chocolate Drink. Frost muffins once they are cool.

The oversweet frosting with the American Heritage deep chocolate flavor plus the pumpkin undertones is a delicious combination.

To your family, from ours at Captain Jackson’s, set a place for gratitude, serve up smiles, and share memories with the people you love!

Happy Thanksgiving

Blood and Chocolate

A possible Maya lord forbids a person to touch a container of chocolate. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A possible Maya lord forbids a person to touch a container of chocolate. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Happy Halloween! Only a few days left until that spookiest of holidays, though how we celebrate today would be very unfamiliar to those used to experiencing a colonial All Hallow’s Eve. But in the spirit (pun intended) of how we celebrate today, we’re going to take a look at the somewhat creepy – even disturbing – symbolism of chocolate for the ancient Mesoamericans. You have been warned…

Read More

Are These Almonds?

"The Landing of Columbus," from the Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Landing of Columbus,” from the Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons.

In honor of Columbus Day–or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, depending on your location–we are going to reflect back on a classic historical misunderstanding between Christopher Columbus and indigenous Mesoamericans. We have previously remarked on Columbus’s misidentification of red chili pepper as a relative of black pepper, but he didn’t stop there, he also had some issues when identifying that vital ingredient of chocolate–the cocoa bean! Read More

Waking Up with Chocolate

You probably know someone (and maybe it’s yourself!) who can’t start his or her day without the help of a cup of coffee. Still others rely on a steaming cup of tea for a similar energizing wake-up. But would you ever consider kicking off your day with a cup of drinking chocolate? Read More

Colonial Chocolate Spices: Annatto

Visitors to Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop are often surprised to discover that our colonial drinking chocolate is seasoned with eight different spices. American Heritage Historic Chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, chili pepper, anise, orange zest, salt, and annatto, as well as a small amount of sugar. We will be taking a closer look at each of these spices to explore their origins and uses in colonial American cooking.

Unlike other spices added to our colonial drinking chocolate, annatto is not used as a flavoring.  Instead, it is added as a natural food coloring, giving our chocolate a rich reddish brown color. Without the addition of annatto, our chocolate would be a much darker brown similar to the natural color of roasted cocoa beans. Annatto grows as the surrounding outer layer of the seeds within the fruit of the Bixa Orellana plant. Commonly known as achiote, this evergreen plant can be pruned into a shrub or grow into a small tree. The achiote fruits are red spiny bivalve pods containing 10-50 seeds each. Once ripe, these pods are harvested and immediately dried. When they are dry, the pods are easily opened, and the seeds are removed. The seeds are sold whole, ground into a powder, or infused into an extract.

Annatto is native to Central and South America. Long before the arrival of the Spanish, the people of this region used annatto as a food additive, a dye, and a cosmetic product. Annatto was frequently grown alongside cacao trees and was added to drinking chocolate by the Mayans and Aztecs. Annatto was also made into a paste that was applied to the body as a decorative paint, which also helped to repel insects. Annatto was first brought to Europe by Spanish expeditions returning from Central America and was enthusiastically received throughout Europe as a new source of red pigment for food and textile dyes. The Spanish and Portuguese introduced annatto to Asia and India, and today it grows throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions.

Annatto was used in Colonial America as a red coloring agent for a wide range of goods. Annatto was a popular and accessible textile dye, which could be used to dye yarn and fabric shades of yellow, orange, or red. Shortly after annatto was introduced to Europe, dairy farmers began to add it to cheese and butter to artificially reproduce the natural yellow and orange colors that were associated with high quality dairy products at the time. This practice spread to colonial America, and several varieties of cheese became associated with an orange color that did not occur naturally as part of the cheese making process but was due to the addition of annatto as a food coloring. Colonists also continued the tradition of adding annatto to chocolate to give it a richer, more appetizing color. This ancient practice was brought to Europe from Central America with the introduction of chocolate and was carried back across the Atlantic as American colonists began to produce chocolate of their own. Even before the 18th century, chocolate makers were coloring, as well as flavoring, their chocolate to make it more appealing to their consumers.

Colonial Chocolate Spices: Salt

Visitors to Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop are often surprised to discover that our colonial drinking chocolate is seasoned with eight different spices. American Heritage Historic Chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, chili pepper, anise, orange zest, salt, and annatto, as well as a small amount of sugar. We will be taking a closer look at each of these spices to explore their origins and uses in colonial American cooking.

Salt enhances all the flavors in our colonial drinking chocolate and lessens the natural bitterness of the cocoa. It makes our chocolate taste better all around, as it does with countless foods we eat. Pure salt is the mineral sodium chloride, a naturally occurring compound that humans and animals require for survival. Salt is mined from deposits in the earth or collected from salt water sources. It is sold in varying crystal sizes and textures and is available with or without additives.

People have been gathering and eating salt since before the beginning of written history. As human societies transitioned to agriculture, their new vegetable and grain based diet lacked the salt content of the hunter-gatherer’s meat based diet. These earliest farmers began to gather salt to supplement their diets as well as those of their livestock. Salt was a highly valuable commodity for much of human history because it was often difficult to obtain before the invention of modern mining and refining technology. Early American colonists imported most of their salt from Europe until the establishment of salt works on the British islands of the Caribbean in the late 1600s. Salt production in the Caribbean made the mineral much more accessible to the colonists, whose demand steadily increased through the beginning of the American Revolution. The disruption in trade caused by the war made shipping salt difficult and put pressure on the colonies to begin domestic production. In 1776, the Continental Congress offered a bounty of ⅓ of a dollar for each bushel of salt produced. This push for domestic salt spurred the development of salt works across Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, which quickly became the primary source of salt for the new nation.

Salt was a vital and readily available ingredient in colonial America. Before the invention of modern refrigeration, salt was essential to the preservation and storage of meat and seafood. Fish and meats were salted immediately after being caught or butchered and were often smoked after salting to add flavor and aroma. Properly salted meat could last for several years and was eaten much more frequently in the colonies than fresh meat. In addition to aiding in food preservation, salt was also used as a common seasoning in cooking. Salt was added to the same wide variety of dishes that we find it in today, enhancing the flavor of everything from breakfast meats to baked desserts. Salt was also available on the dining table for seasoning foods to personal preference, often alongside pepper, oil, and vinegar. As it was so common, it is no surprise that a pinch of salt was also added to drinking chocolate to bring all the flavors together and make everything taste better.

Colonial Chocolate Spices: Anise

Visitors to Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop are often surprised to discover that our colonial drinking chocolate is seasoned with eight different spices. American Heritage Historic Chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, chili pepper, anise, orange zest, salt, and annatto, as well as a small amount of sugar. We will be taking a closer look at each of these spices to explore their origins and uses in colonial American cooking.

Anise rounds out the flavor of our colonial drinking chocolate by adding just a hint of aromatic sweetness. Anise grows as the small, hard fruit of the Pimpinella anisum plant, a small flowering annual. When the anise is ready to be harvested, some or all of the plant is cut from the ground and allowed to dry. The fruits, which are commonly referred to as anise seeds, are easily extracted from the plant once it has dried. The seeds are sold whole, ground into a powder, or used to produce anise oil. The leaves of the plant are also eaten fresh in salads and other dishes.

Anise originated in the eastern Mediterranean region of Europe, the Middle East and Egypt. The plant has been cultivated and used for medicinal and culinary purposes since antiquity. Anise spread throughout Europe during the middle ages and was grown in England by the 16th century. Records indicate that anise was being planted, harvested, and used in Colonial America by the early 1700s. Today, anise is grown worldwide wherever there is a long enough growing season to allow the anise to fully mature and ripen, which takes about four months.

Anise was grown and harvested throughout the colonies, and the seeds and oil were both called for in a wide variety of 18th century recipes. Anise and other seeds were commonly used whole to give texture to breads and cakes. They were also used to flavor drinks, such as black cherry water.   In addition to flavoring food and beverages, anise was called for in many medicinal and cosmetic recipes. One recipe to make “Lozenges for a Cold” required “a little oil of anise-seed” to be added to a powdered sugar paste, while a recipe for face wash called for “two penny-worth of oil of anise-seed” to be mixed into a quart of milk. The earliest known English recipe for chocolate included anise seed in its list of ingredients alongside sugar, chili pepper, cloves, almonds, and orange flower water. In the English tradition, our colonial drinking chocolate includes just a hint of anise to finish off the beverage’s spiced bittersweet flavor.

Colonial Chocolate Spices: Orange Zest

Visitors to Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop are often surprised to discover that our colonial drinking chocolate is seasoned with eight different spices. American Heritage Historic Chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, chili pepper, anise, orange zest, salt, and annatto, as well as a small amount of sugar. We will be taking a closer look at each of these spices to explore their origins and uses in colonial American cooking.

Orange zest sweetens our colonial drinking chocolate and adds a subtle fruity flavor to the bittersweet beverage. Orange zest is the grated outer layer of the skin of the sweet orange, the world’s most popular fruit.  Sweet oranges are the fruits of the Citrus Sinensis plant, a relatively small, spiny, evergreen tree.  The fruit’s flesh is eaten fresh or squeezed into juice, and the fruit’s skin is dried, candied, or grated to make zest. Fragrant oil is extracted from the fruit’s skin and used for its scent, and it’s this oil that makes orange zest so flavorful.

Oranges originated in Southern China, where they were cultivated for centuries before they were first introduced to Europe. While it is not known exactly when oranges were first brought to Europe, Orange trees were being grown in the Mediterranean region by the early 16th century. As oranges grew in popularity, very wealthy Europeans began to build orangeries, which allowed orange trees to survive the cold winter weather of Northern Europe and be grown throughout the continent. The most well-known of these greenhouses is the orangery at Kensington Palace, which was built by Queen Anne in 1704.  Christopher Columbus brought the first orange trees to the Americas to be planted in Haiti during his second voyage, and by the Early 17th century, orange trees were being grown throughout the Caribbean and Central America. Today, they grow worldwide in tropical, subtropical, and some warm temperate regions.

With orange trees being grown in Florida and the Caribbean during the 18th century, American colonists had relatively easy access to shipments of fresh oranges. Orange flesh, juice, and zest are called for in many colonial era recipes. For cooks seeking instruction on how to prepare orange zest at home, one 18th century cookbook offered the following advice: “To zest, (a Term of Art us’d by Confectioners) is to cut the Peel of Oranges, Lemons, or Citrons, from top to bottom, into small Slips or Zests, as thin as it can possibly be done.”  As sugar was a very expensive ingredient in colonial America, orange zest was a more affordable option for sweetening foods and beverages. In addition to playing a supporting role in flavoring chocolate and many baked goods, orange was also the main ingredient in a variety of recipes. Dessert recipes that took advantage of  the fruit’s natural sweetness included orange tarts, orange pudding, and orange cream.  Oranges were also transformed into condiments that could be used to easily sweeten other dishes, such as orange marmalade, orange butter, and orange cranberry relish. A unique recipe for “orange loaves” explained how to use hollowed and candied orange rinds as vessels for small sweet cakes, which sound like they would pair perfectly with a cup of chocolate sweetened with a bit of orange zest.