It’s long been claimed as the official dessert of Boston, but it was created by a French chef — so even if you’ve never actually eaten one, you know the Boston cream pie has more to do with an appreciation for the sinfully decadent than, say, providing a sensible after-dinner complement for corned beef. It’s a circular monument to gluttony, a layered celebration of all things lacking in serious nutritional value. It’s irresponsibility on a plate, and it’s all kinds of awesome.
If you’ve ever tried to make a Boston cream pie, you know they’re also a pain in the ass to put together. I looked up a random recipe at AllRecipes, and counted over 20 ingredients and seven steps; unless you’ve got an afternoon to kill, or are specifically seeking out a dessert so labor-intensive that you earn it by making it, you’re liable to seek out something simpler.
For instance, a Boston cream pie you make in your toaster.
Ah, yes, the Toaster Strudel. For kids of my generation, who thought Cookie Crisp was the apex of the dessert-as-breakfast food subgenre, Toaster Strudels represented a new frontier. Of course, Toaster Strudels aren’t really strudels at all — they’re more like flakier, even less nutritious Pop-Tarts — but only the most annoying 10-year-old on the planet cares about stuff like that. The bottom line is that Toaster Strudels are stupidly delicious, even if you don’t squirt the pack of crack-laced icing that Pillsbury thoughtfully includes for each Strudel.
So who better to turn the Boston cream pie from pain-in-the-ass dessert into damn-near-instant breakfast treat? Nobody, that’s who. Those d-bags at Yoplait think they’re all clever because they started making yogurt that tastes vaguely like strawberry shortcake? Ha! Here’s some Doughboy foot in your ass!
Well, okay, so maybe Boston Cream Pie Toaster Strudels don’t really taste anything like a Boston cream pie. Or look like one:
Not that I really expected these things to live up to their billing. I mean, I ate Strawberry Cream Cheese Toaster Strudels for years, and they don’t taste like strawberry or cream cheese; if Pillsbury can’t get two relatively simple ingredients right, I see no reason to believe they’d be able to distill something messy and complicated. Really, I’m not sure I’d give Pillsbury credit for getting much of anything right — anything, that is, besides taking false advertising to delicious new heights.
What do Boston Cream Pie Toaster Strudels taste like? I don’t know. A little like chocolate, I guess, with a touch of something else, and a delicate bouquet of flaky pastry-like substance. It is not, strictly speaking, very good, and yet I have somehow eaten an entire box in less than the time it would have taken for me to make my own actual Boston cream pie — which means that Pillsbury has somehow simultaneously engineered a terrible defeat for real flavor and honest food and scored a victory for my breakfast. Much like a toaster-derived Boston cream pie, this should not be possible — and yet it clearly is. Bravo, Pillsbury. Bravo!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go brush my teeth over and over again.