Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Food Trend #3 - Whoopie Pies!

What is a Whoopie Pie: The best way to describe a whoopie pie is a cross between a soft biscuit, a cake, sandwiched together like a macaroon! They have a sweet filling in the middle and are often 2inches across. The perfect size to have alongside a cup of tea!

History: My favourite story about how Whoopie Pie’s came about comes from which suggests Amish women in Pennsylvania used to bake these sweet treats for their husbands and children who would shout Whoopie when they found one in their lunchbox at lunchtime.  Traditionally the cake part is flavoured with cocoa powder and made with brown sugar resulting in a dark brown finish, whilst the filling is very light and fluffy, often made with marshmallow fluff or marshmallow crème and flavoured with vanilla.
According to Matthias Kiehm the food director of Harrods, his store were responsible for bringing the whoopie pie over the the UK. Chris Seaby who is in charge of cakes at M&S originally launched the products in metropolitan areas but has now rolled them out across the country so everyone can buy whoopie pies! You can even find them in coffee shops such as Costa Coffee. No ones quite sure why it took so long for the whoopie pie to find its way to England, and no one knows just how long they are here to stay! (see: “Thebun fight”)
Essential tools: There are no specific tools needed to make whoopie pies, but a flat baking sheet and an icing bag will make your life a little easier!

Method: Using the basic recipe below you can make 10 large whoopie pies or 12-14 small whoopie pies. This ingredient list is very similar to that of a cake, but the added flour gives it a more dense texture.
100g Butter or Margarine
100g Caster sugar
2 Eggs
225g Self Raising Flour
Cream together the butter and sugar. (You will know when this is done as it will have gone a very pale yellow, and if you place a spoon/knife into the bowl it will sink into the mix) Next, slowly add the egg until creamy.
Finally stir in the flour. Doing this all in one go is fine. And mix until all combined! (If you want to make a chocolate whoopie pie (as is traditional) add 50g of cocoa powder and take 50g of flour out of the mix)
Next line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, and either spoon, or pipe roughly 1.5inches of mix into circles. Leave about half a centimetre between the rounds, as they will expand!
Cook for 20 minutes at Gas mark 4.
Once they are out of the oven leave to cool. Once cool they can be removed from the greaseproof and filled with a filling of your choice!!!
I made a white chocolate ganache.
230g chocolate (milk or dark whatever you prefer)
250g double cream
60g unsalted butter
Next make the filling.

Bring the cream to the boil. Take off the heat and stir the chocolate in until it is melted. Then add the butter a little at a time.

Allow to chill (doing this is the fridge is a good idea but keep stirring it.)

When it is at a "squeezable" consistency pop it in the icing bag and fill the whoopie pies!
Tips and Tricks: I have two main tips to help when making whoopie pies. 1) These will rise like cakes so make sure you leave a good distance between each round so they don’t end up all stuck together! 2) The best way to tell that they are done is to give them a tap. You don’t want them sponge-y like cakes, more a hollow sound like when you tap bread.
If you want something slightly easier then macaroons these are probably for you, but they look just as cute, are just as yummy, and can be coloured and flavoured in a million different ways just like their French cousins, so give them a go and let me know how they turn out!

Come back soon for a post on the latest trend sweeping America, which I’m sure will follow over here soon...Miniature Pies!

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