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What Is a Boston Creme Donut?

Dan Harkins
Updated May 16, 2024
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When a Boston creme pie is out of the question, some turn to a donut with the same vanilla-cream pudding inside and chocolate frosting on the top. The Boston creme donut is made like many stuffed donuts, with sweet dough rounds that are fried, then stuffed with creme. After cooling, the final touch is the iconic shield of chocolate frosting on the top, combining all the flavors in every bite.

Boston, Massachusetts, is not just the official home of the Boston creme pie. That century-old treat was named the state dessert in 1996 after a bill was introduced by a high school citizenship class. The Boston creme donut, which some call the baby Boston creme pie, became the official state donut in 2003. The only difference between the two is the size and, of course the preparation, which requires a baking period for the cake before assembly and a quick frying and injection for the donut.

The Boston creme donut is made with almost the same proportion of ingredients as the cake, though fewer of them. Creme filling for the donut is very much like a vanilla pudding, with vanilla bean or extract, sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter and cornstarch. Some just purchase vanilla pudding at the store, then mix it with some milk and whipped cream before cramming it into a cone-tipped pastry bag.

While the creme filling cools, the dough is made with a traditional combination of milk, sugar, flour, yeast, egg yolks, salt, butter and perhaps some spices like nutmeg or cardamom. After several bouts of room-temperature rising, the rolled-out dough is cut into discs and fried in oil. Some avoid this step too by purchasing plain dinner biscuits at the store, which already are formed into skillet-ready circles.

After cooling completely, the Boston creme donut is ready to be stuffed with the vanilla creme in the refrigerator. Bakers can usually tell just by sight and touch when the donuts are suitably filled to overflowing. The finishing touch is a glaze of chocolate frosting that is made from corn syrup, sugar, water, butter and some melted semi-sweet chocolate. Once that layer has hardened, the donuts are ready for inspection.

Several types of treats can be stuffed like the Boston creme donut. Perhaps the most iconic example of this is the jelly donut, which is injected with some form of fruit jelly and dusted with powdered sugar. A specialty version of this follows the jelly with some sweet cream cheese. Other fanatics just use a different type of pudding inside, like chocolate or banana.

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Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.
Discussion Comments
By fBoyle — On Sep 03, 2013

I'm not very fond of very sweet donuts. I like a simple donut with some fruit jelly inside and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. I don't want an entire dessert inside my donut. That's why I've never really liked Boston creme donuts. It's way too rich and sweet for my taste.

By candyquilt — On Sep 02, 2013

@ZipLine-- I think most chain donut shops sells Boston creme donuts now. You might want to try Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme. I've even bought them from regular grocery stores and bulk groceries like Harris Teeter, Safeway, Trader Joe's and Costco. Just keep an eye out for it in the bakery section.

If there are any small donut shops in your area though, you will probably get the best Boston creme donuts from there. Boston creme donuts are great but they're not always well made. Sometimes they're not as moist as they should be and the custard is not always made well. So if you end up not liking it the first time you try them, don't give up. Try some other ones.

By ZipLine — On Sep 01, 2013

I've never had a Boston creme donut before. But I love Boston creme pie so I think I will love the donut too. Where can I get it outside of Boston?

Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
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