A Maine classic: the Whoopie pie
This week’s installment of the Dana Cookbook leaves the beloved dining hall and forays into the Joseph Family’s Spa to sample the special made-to-order whoopie pies.
The incredible staff at the Spa graciously hooked up editors Michael Brophy, Qainat Khan and me with two of these delicious, Maine-made treats.
The whoopie pie is a Maine tradition with contested Amish roots. Originally known as the “Hucklebuck,” Amish women would pack two chocolate cakes sandwiching cream frosting in between them, for their husbands’ lunches.
The members of the Amish community who migrated from Pennsylvania to Maine are credited with bringing the delicacy to New England.
Since those first pies way back when, the whoopie pie has become a hallmark of Maine culinary culture and was even proposed as the state dessert.
I digress…back to the Spa’s rendition of the local favorite. The Spa is running a special on made-to-order whoopie pies that would literally rock those Amish women’s world; these aren’t your everyday run of the mill whoopie pies.
Manager David Hartley presented us with two of the variations that they have to offer at the Spa.
The first was a decadent pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting topped with caramel sauce. The second, a luscious classic chocolate cake with original frosting and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
The original chocolate whoopie pie was literally death by chocolate. The cake was moist and rich and the chocolate syrup was the perfect complement to the fluffy frosting. Brophy said, “The chocolate is attacking my throat, but I don’t hate it.”
As for the pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese filling, I was a little skeptical to say the least.
I’m not a big pumpkin guy, and cream cheese in a whoopie pie was cause for concern. My first bite left my taste buds a little underwhelmed as I sunk my teeth into a very large, sort of dry pumpkin cake. That first bite was far from an indicator of the rest of the pie.
The cream cheese filling was a cross between Philadelphia® Cream Cheese and manna from heaven.
When mixed with the caramel sauce, the magical reaction between cream, cake and sauce rendered the pie more than edible: it was incredible. The combination was simply sensational; my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
As the three of us sat back in our seats at the Spa to really take in the experience, I spoke with my mouth full (charming, I know), and was compelled to eat the remnants of whoopie pie right off my arm for fear of wasting something so tasty.
Fortunately, as we finished up our whoopie pie sampling session, my fear of there not being enough was put to rest. Not only, did I not need to worry about wasting any of the pie, there were leftovers.
Yes, that’s right Colby College; I encountered a dessert so rich and delicious that I couldn’t finish it. It is definitely a dessert for two.
If you find yourself looking for something sweet and want to take part in a true Maine tradition, or reconnect with your Amish roots, I recommend you mosey down to the Spa with a friend or two for one of their whoopie pies.
As usual Colby, what doesn’t kill you makes you fatter–and these are definitely going to help!