Ina Garten's Game-Changing Boston Cream Pie Additions

When it comes time to end a meal, few desserts can compare to the illustrious invention known as the Boston cream pie. Per the Omni Hotel, Boston cream pie first entered our gastronomic sphere in 1856 when Boston's Park House, AKA Omni Parker House, served up this creamy creation. It has beaten out the beloved Toll House cookie, claiming Massachusetts' heart for the title of "official state dessert." And it has layers to it.

Omni Hotel notes that "Boston cream pie" a pie is a misnomer. The dessert is actually a cake with vanilla cream sandwiched between the layers and dripping with chocolate icing. Not only have the people of Massachusetts claimed the Boston cream pie as their own, but Ina Garten has made the dessert her own, according to NPR.

During her interview with NPR, Garten talked about her Boston cream pie recipe. It also appears in her cookbook, "Modern Comfort Food," written during the height of COVID. It was one of the decadent dishes she planned to share with her family and friends when gatherings resumed. The Barefoot Contessa went on to explain she adds some game-changing ingredients to this classic.

Garten's go-to flavors are citrusy

According to NPR, Ina Garten likes to add a citrus element to her Boston cream pie. She described the classic "vanilla cake with vanilla cream filling and chocolate" as "OK," but she wanted to elevate it by "[infusing] each of the layers with something that was either orange zest, Grand Marnier, or cognac." The celebrity chef said these additions "really added to the layers of chocolate and vanilla, orange and cognac. They just kind of made it really, really special." Indeed. These flavors definitely sound a little reminiscent of a Dreamsicle covered in chocolate ganache.

Garten spent six years developing and fine-tuning her citrusy Boston cream pie (via Twitter), and it appears to have paid off. One fan of the recipe raved, "I made your Boston Cream Pie and it is not just a dessert, it is an experience!" They found the combined layers of flavor "unforgettable." Creating that experience requires a bath of orange juice and Grand Marnier syrup for the cake layers.

You can actually turn it into a "make ahead" dish by making the pastry cream and the cake and refrigerating them prior to putting everything together. However, Garten doesn't recommend preparing the chocolate ganache more than an hour ahead of serving. And if you want to keep moisture from accumulating, don't put it back in the fridge once you have completed assembling your Instagram-worthy dessert.