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Durgin Park Boston Baked Beans

Posted Oct 10 2009 10:02pm

Good Evening!

So we are still on our Boston Bonanza and have now made the world famous Durgin Park Boston Baked Beans (with a slight variation) and I have to say they are really good.  My husband is a bean man himself and I love his version of baked beans but he was intrigued by the cooking method of these beans (6+ hours) so he decided to give these a try.  The only concession he gave me was with using 1/4  pound  of pancetta instead of a pound of salt pork.   Thank you.  To be honest, he makes his baked beans vegetarian style and I think if you season properly you don't need to add any pork fat, but we are obviously excited about our trip to Boston so we thought we better try out some of the local fare.

Durgin Park Recipes  

Boston Baked Beans
2-quart bean pot 

2/3cup molasses 
2 pounds beans- California pea beans preferred of York State beans 
4 teaspoons salt 
1 pound salt pork 
½ teaspoon pepper 
8 tablespoons sugar 
1 medium-sized onion      

Soak beans overnight. In the morning parboil them for ten minutes with a teaspoon of baking soda. Then run cold water through the beans in a colander or strainer. Dice rind of salt pork in inch squares, cut in half. Put half on bottom of bean pot with whole onion. Put beans in pot. Put the rest of the pork on top. Mix other ingredients with hot water. Pour over beans. Put in 300-degree oven for six hours. This will make ten full portions.      

You can’t let the pot just set in the oven” explains Edward. “You’ve got to add water as necessary to keep the beans moist. And you can’t be impatient and add too much water at a time and flood the beans.”     Edward produces his Boston baked beans under the watchful eye of Albert Savage who has been the head chef at Durgin-Park for the past 35 years. Albert is probably the world’s leading specialist in Yankee cookery. He himself is an old Yankee who was born in Lithuania. He has one assistant who is a Bulgarian Yankee and another who is a Polish Yankee.      “The chief difference between Yankee cooking and most other kinds of cooking is that we make our food taste like what it’s supposed to be,” says Albert. In other kinds of cooking chefs seem determined to make the food taste like something else.”  

So dinner tonight was focused on the beans but we also served a rotisserie chicken and salad along with the star of the show.  The beans were tasty and the rest of the dinner was good as well. 

I need to back track just a bit and tell you how I started my day.  It began with waking up slightly later than usual and having the whole house to myself for a few brief moments.  I was able to meditate for 10 minutes and start the coffee and get mentally prepared to teach yoga.  Then the rest of the family woke up and the house became ALIVE!  I relish those few minutes of alone time and enjoy them while I can.

For breakfast I made a Greek Raspberry Blackberry Crunch Bowl.  It was quick and oh so good.  I am really into these jams right now and love adding them to my yogurt for a bit of sweetness.  Not so sure if this is a good habit or not but it has been mighty tasty.

Greek Raspberry Blackberry Crunch Bowl

3/4 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt
1/2 tablespoon Bon Maman Raspberry Jam
Fresh Raspberries and Blackberries
Sprinkle of Sliced Almonds and Heart to Heart Cereal

Yoga class went well this morning.  I am still finding my yoga voice and style and can always work on improving my teaching abilities but I am at least able to teach and learn and that makes me really happy.

I spent the afternoon Circling!  That is what my family and I call deliberating or talking through things.  I needed to nail down all the details for the Disney Cruise that my "very generous" mother is taking us on in December and it was time to pay the remaining balance and make reservations for fun things like swimming with dolphins and such.  Very Cool.  So it was fun because I pretty much got to talk to all the members of my family with several calls but I got most of it taken care of while attending to the cooking of the baked beans.

We are also going up to Fort Worth next weekend to visit my sister and celebrate her B-Day.  So I am circling about what to get her for her birthday but am definitely going to be making a double decker Boston Cream Pie and bringing that to her.  I can't wait.

Between all of my circling I did squeeze in a 30 minute run on the treadmill and then 20 minutes worth of abs, push ups, and  tri-dips.

Lunch was my favorite:  Almond Butter and Banana Blackberry on Ezekiel English Muffin.


I added a very thin layer of Bonne Maman Blackberry Preserves to my normal Almond Butter and Banana combo and it made it extra special today.   
Now for the best part of the day:  Dessert
I had mentioned a recipe that I was interested in making last week and am finally getting around to making the Ginger Chocolate Crunch Pumpkin Pie.   I actually made it yesterday but you need to chill it overnight so I had to hold out until today to enjoy it.  


Ginger Chocolate Crunch Pumpkin Pie
115-ounce can pumpkin
1/3cup sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 1/3 cup sugar
2tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
1 1/2teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1teaspoon vanilla
3/4cup evaporated fat-free milk

Ginger-Chocolate Crunch
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 1-1/2-quart souffle dish, 8-inch springform pan, or 8 4-ounce ramekins; set aside. For filling, in a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, honey, and pie spice. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly with a fork just until combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into prepared dish, pan, or ramekins. If using a springform pan, place on a foil-lined baking sheet. If using ramekins, place in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan.
2. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes for dish or pan or 30 to 35 minutes for ramekins or until center appears set when gently shaken. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.
3. Top with Ginger-Chocolate Crunch. Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for 4 to 6 minutes or just until chocolate is softened slightly. If using a springform pan, loosen pumpkin from sides of pan by running a thin metal spatula around the edge. Remove sides of pan. Cut into wedges to serve. If using souffle dish, spoon pumpkin out of the dish onto serving plates.

Ginger-Chocolate Crunch: Top chilled pumpkin mixture with 8 gingersnaps, broken. Then top evenly with 2 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70% cacao), chopped; and 2 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger. 

This stuff is killer!  I absolutely loved it.  It is basically a crustless pumpkin pie with a crunchy gingersnap topping, a touch of melted chocolate and spicy crystallized ginger.  Wow!   Super good and I admit that I had a few extra bites out of the pan itself.  I will definitely be making this one again.

Ah, I just got really tired all the sudden. I am going to go and get in my jammies and watch a little t.v. and then hit the hay early tonight.  Tomorrow we are going to go to church and then head downtown to eat lunch (probably Whole Foods) and then get in line to go to the Chef John Besh book signing at Book People.  I am really looking forward to that and after we get the cookbook we would like to take a look at it and make something out of it for dinner.  It is really a beautiful cookbook. check it out at

Have a great rest of your Saturday and I will check back with you tomorrow evening!

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