Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are cute as can be and make a wonderful few-bite dessert.  You know what makes them even better?  Filling them with my favorite (rich, smooth, beloved) vanilla pastry cream.  There isn’t much I can resist when this pastry cream is involved and these sweet little treats are no exception.  I first saw the idea for Boston cream whoopie pies on a blog ages ago.  While the picture looked appealing, the recipe was a somewhat odd vegan version that called for all sorts of ingredients I don’t keep on hand and didn’t sound as good as they looked.  I have been hemming and hawing over the idea ever since, trying to think of the best way to accomplish these when wouldn’t you know, a different version popped up in another blog and took care of it for me.  Problem solved!  A vanilla cake cookie topped with ganache and filled with pastry cream – perfect.

These are just as easy as any other whoopie pie, though it is best to make the pastry cream one day in advance so everything will be ready to assemble once the cookies are baked.  One of my favorite things about this recipe?  You’ll have left over pastry cream for…you know, eating with a spoon.  (Shhh, don’t tell.)

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies
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For the pastry cream:
2 cups half-and-half
½ cup sugar, divided
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

Yield: about 32 sandwich cookies

For the cookies:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup milk

For the ganache:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream

To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a  fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Fit a pastry bag with a wide round tip (I used Ateco 809).  Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl, alternating with with the milk, and beating each addition just until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the piping bag.  Pipe 1½-2 inch circles onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing an inch or two apart.  Bake 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are set (they should not brown.)  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with any remaining batter as necessary.

Once all the cookies have cooled, match them up in pairs by size.  To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a small heatproof bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in small circular motions until the chocolate is completely blended and the ganache is smooth.  Dip the rounded side of one cookie of each pair into the ganache and coat with an even layer.  Return to the cooling rack, flat side down, and let the ganache set before proceeding.

Transfer the pastry cream another piping bag fitted with a smaller plain round tip.  Pipe a dollop of pastry cream onto the flat side of the plain cookie of each pair.  Press the flat side of the other cookie to the pastry cream, sandwiching the two together.

Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Source: adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen, originally from King Arthur Flour and The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard; pastry cream from Baking Illustrated

42 Responses

  1. Oh my, dear me. This is just my kind of dessert/cookie/sweet treat. I like the small size to minimize guilt–if I can keep from eating the whole batch.

  2. Wow. These look so yummy! Love the photo, too!

  3. Love Boston Cream Pie! Yum! I like the small sized treats too, except that I end up eating about 5 in one sitting! 🙂

  4. I grew up in Boston and on this delectable cake. You just made my day that I can make a mini version of my childhood favorite!

  5. these looks WAY delicious.

  6. MMM! I have a brand new whoppie pia pan just waiting to be used! And I LOVE Boston Cream! Thanks for sharing!

  7. These are PERFECT for our holiday party. I always struggle with the desserts because I’m just not a big dessert eater. But, all year I’m on the lookout for small bites desserts that are different and taste great. With 150 people wandering in and out of the house, it’s a challenge to come up with enough different stuff. So, these’ll go in the PARTY envelope. Thanks Annie!! Kate

  8. Complete with the cherry on top! You’ve done it again, Annie – these are just gorgeous.

  9. These are such a great idea! I loved your cake (I did them in cupcake form) but these are just too cute! But the vegan recipe, do you happened to have it on hand? A good friend of mine is vegan and I would love to serve these at our next get together. Thanks!

  10. I have never tried Boston whoopie pie but I am soooo excited to make these, they look delish!

  11. Yay for leftover vanilla cream…haha we always need some of that around the house! These pies look perfect!

  12. These are too cute for words. And boston cream pie is one of my favorite cakes. Definitely will have to try this sometime.

  13. Those look so good! I do have one question, what type of baking pan do you use? A regular one, or one of those airbake ones?

  14. Those look amazing! I’m putting these on my list.

  15. Boston cream pies and doughnuts are my absolute favorite, and this is yet another way I’m sure I’d love them… They look delicious, but I’m plagued with question about how you got that cherry to stay perfectly in place!

    • Haha! I just balanced it very carefully, no special trick. I knew someone would ask that!

      • I actually thought you may have stuck a toothpick up through one of the pies and into the cherry! It’s impressive that it just stayed put, but maybe you can try a toothpick if you have food balancing problems in the future! 🙂

      • Yes, I had thought of the toothpick too but just got lucky in this case and didn’t need to use it.

  16. These are lovely! I’m a total sucker for your photos – pretty!

  17. Whoa, these look GREAT! My cousin would love these, Boston Cream Pie is his fave. Now I know what I’ll suggest for his Birthday : )

  18. Love this idea! And, they are so pretty!!

  19. These are so adorable! I feel like we have identical taste, because everything you post is something I’d love to make!

  20. Aww they look so cute! Not to mention unbelievably tasty

  21. SO cute!!! These look way more awesome than an actual boston cream pie.

  22. Aww….with the cherry on top! ♥ LOVE that!

  23. These look so great! We’re big fans of boston cream pies on my house, and this is such a great way to serve a mini version of it. I have to try these!

  24. OMGarlic! You have my hubby coveting these. He demanded them to be placed on my to-bake immediately list. 🙂

  25. outdoing yourself as usually! I love anything Boston Cream…yum!

  26. This is genius!! I can’t wait to make them!

  27. Annie, these are definitely cute and delicious looking! Love how your collecting a good variety of whoopie pie recipes!

  28. you made the cutest dessert even cuter!! well done!!!

  29. All I’m gonna need is the recipe for the cream filling and a big spoon.

    …Maybe a cherry to make it more healthy.

  30. Annie – I tried making these and my pastry cream never thickened. Any ideas what I did wrong?

    • Did you add the cornstarch? If you did, it should thicken up very quickly and noticably shortly after you return the mixture to the heat.

  31. Just an FYI- the cookie part of the recipe doesn’t tell you when to add the vanilla. It occurred to me right before I put the batter into the piping bag that this wasn’t a vanilla cookie yet!

  32. Do you think that these would freeze ok? I am planning on starting my christmas baking soon and we usually store everything in the garage and its usually below freezing here this time of year.


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