Happy Thanksgiving from Historic Boston!

Happy Thanksgiving from Historic Boston!

Each year at Thanksgiving, staff at Historic Boston share their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. But this year we changed it up a little; we asked our new friend Phyllis Tobin of Newton to share one of her favorites.

Mrs. Tobin grew up in Mattapan just down the street from the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm. When she saw the announcement of HBI’s plans for the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm she reached out to us and we invited her to join us for lunch at the Eustis Street Firehouse, along with members of TPL and UFI, so she could tell us her stories of growing up in Mattapan. She was an enormous font of memory.

Phyllis remembers the Epstein Family, who owned the historic property from 1941 until HBI purchased it this year. She remembers Jorge and Gertrude (Ida) Epstein and their two sons. She told us about Ida’s work in support of the Mattapan State Hospital, and Jorge’s salvage business on Blue Hill Avenue, and his lesser-known skill in jewelry making.

Phyllis also brought with her to HBI a beautiful gold ring crafted by Jorge Epstein, commissioned for her mother – Rae — to celebrate Phyllis’ birth 73 years ago that Rae has since given to her daughter. Rae is today 101 years old.

So when we asked Phyllis, who for many years was a caterer, for a family recipe that might have been on the table in Mattapan of her youth, she produced “Rae’s French Coffee Cake,” a popular recipe among family and friends.

In this season of Thanksgiving, we extend our gratitude to Rae and her daughter Phyllis, and thank you, our reader, for your support of HBI?s work.

Rae’s French Coffee Cake

Ingredients One Cake Two Cakes Four Cakes
Margarine ? lb ? lb 1 lb
Sugar 1 cup 2 cups 4 cups
Flour 2 cups 4 cups 8 cups
Baking Soda 1 tsp 2 tsp 4 tsp
Baking Powder 1 tsp 2 tsp 4 tsp
Eggs 2 4 8
Salt ? tsp ? tsp 1 tsp
Sour Cream 1 cup 2 cups 4 cups
Vanilla 1 tsp 2 tsp 4 tsp
Cinnamon ? tsp 1 tsp 2 tsp
Sugar ? cup ? cup 1 cup



  1. Grease and sugar tube pan
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Cream together margarine and sugar
  4. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together
  5. Add eggs to sugar mixture one at a time
  6. Add vanilla and sour cream to sugar mixture
  7. Add flour mixture to the rest of mixture
  8. Place ? of batter into the pan, add ? of the topping
  9. Add remainder of batter and then remainder of topping
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, test to see if dry and let cool for 15-20 minutes in pan before removing and serving