A few years ago we visited New Hampshire and I discovered, for the first time, whoopee pies.
Once again, America brings you a delicious (albeit decadent and dubiously named) baked good.
When I was a child I used to be mortified by that old song, Makin' Whoopee.
(Did they think that kids couldn't figure out what that meant?)
If you can remember the lyrics, you will also recall that the direct result of makin' whoopee is marriage. (It was a different time, of course.)
In Maine, the state which has made them its offical state "treat," they are spelled whoopie pie . . . so maybe it's only in England that they have gotten confused with sex. I really don't know. Maybe no one in America has that association; just me.
At any rate, they are definitely something to get excited about. And as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew that they would be the perfect treat for our Royal Wedding tea party last Friday.
Was it only a week ago that we were glued to our television screens . . . happily mocking Princess Beatrice's hat, and cooing over the perfection of Kate Middleton, and singing along with all of the hymns?
We were also drinking tea and eating whoopee pies . . . and believe me, the wedding coverage lasted a lot longer than the whoopee pies did.
While whoopee pies have been common fare on America's East Coast for a while now -- and East Coasters love their doughnuts, too -- they are just starting to catch up with the rest of the foodie world. In the last few months I've spotted a whoopee pie cookbook . . . AND they have been added to the Starbucks menu.
Clearly, their moment has arrived.
This is an English version of the recipe -- and much improved for it, in my opinion.
They are miniature, instead of fist-sized. And instead of a sickly sweet filling (containing vegetable shortening, no doubt), you add clotted cream and jam.
They are perfectly proportioned for snacking -- and they are lighter than a scone and much less sweet than a cupcake. I predict that they are going to be our preferred treat all summer long.
with clotted cream and jam
(from the Waitrose weekly newsletter)
50 grams of softened butter
50 grams of caster sugar
1 medium egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125 grams of self-raising flour (or, the same quantity of plain flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder)
50 ml whole milk
clotted cream and jam (raspberry or strawberry)
icing sugar for dusting
Note: this quantity will make 20 halves -- or 10 miniature whoopee pies. It would, and could, easily double.
That would probably be a good thing as they are very MOREISH.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and light -- at least 3 minutes.
Beat in the egg and vanilla. Fold in the flour in 2 batches, alternating with the milk to form a soft mixture.
Drop the dough, with two teaspoons, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Slightly level the surface of each blob with the blade of a knife or the back of a spoon.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until risen and firm to touch. Remove carefully!
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
** I made these night before and kept them in a sealed plastic bag. Once cool, they aren't very delicate.
Just before serving, slather them with the cream (you could substitute thick whipped cream) and jam and sandwich the two halves together. A dusting of icing (powdered) sugar makes them look nice.
Lemon curd would also be delicious, I'm sure. Next time I make these, I'm going to try that variation.
Also on the tea party menu: sugar cookies, chocolate covered strawberries and miniature "wedding cakes."
The cakelet tin was purchased from Williams-Sonoma (as was the wire cupcake stand).
There were also finger sandwiches, and meringues with fresh berries and cream.
Instead of champagne, the girls drank elderflower cordial and sparkling water.
Taking the party out into the garden . . .
Like the Queen, my daughter wanted a blanket for her lap. (It was a rather chilly day, but at least -- big sigh of relief! -- it didn't rain.) Unfortunately, you can't see her strapless white lace dress . . . as it is covered by her gray hoodie. The first rule of eating al fresco in England: bring a "cardie."
CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of the Mad about Bread giveaway.
To Michelle in Madison: We are giving the official title of Bread Baker back to you!