It’s almost Halloween which means within the next 36 hours, thousands, if not millions, of people are going to ask, “What can I make with pumpkin?” Might I suggest the pretty little delicacy pictured above– the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie. Whatever you do, don’t use the pumpkin guts from your Jack-o-Lantern. It’s too stringy. You want a nice, fleshy pumpkin for this.
I had never heard of Whoopie Pies, but was immediately intrigued by the recipe for them in Bob and Melinda Blanchard’s book Cook What You Love. And I LOVE pumpkin, especially in desserts.
I’ve adapted their recipe to use fresh pumpkin or butternut squash (which is in the same genus as pumpkins) instead of canned pumpkin. I also found a different recipe for the filling than the one in their book. It was in a review of the chocolate whoopie pie recipe on Epicurious, and I picked it because everyone who knew whoopie pies said THAT was the filling they remembered from when they were kids.
So, without further ado, a recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies, quite possibly the most perfect treat for autumn there ever was.
1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs or so)
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 425. Cut the butternut squash in half and place each half cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes until it is very tender and easy to mash. Take squash out of the oven and turn heat down to 350.
Scoop flesh out of the squash and puree it until it’s smooth. You should have about 2 cups or 1 pound of puree, which is the same as a can of pumpkin. Set this aside.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the pureed squash or pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until blended. Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, and mix just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Place heaping tablespoons of the batter about 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. You may want to take a spatula to “smooth” the cakes so the tops flatten a bit when they bake so the whoopie pies will sit evenly when you assemble them.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops spring back when you touch them with your finger. Cool on wire racks.
For the filling:
1 cup milk
5 Tbsp. flour
1 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
In a small saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk. Cook on medium heat until it thickens. Remove from heat and let mixture cool a bit.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening together, then beat in salt, powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the cooled milk and flour mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is fluffy and creamy. You may not need to add all the milk and flour mixture.
Spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the flat side of half the cakes and top with the other halves.
Makes about 24.