Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Edible nostalgia (redux).

There is nothing new under the sun, says the author of Ecclesiastes (Eccelesiastes 1:9).  That is certainly true as it seems that what was once considered dated or old-fashioned is rebooted as cool and fresh, possibly hipster.  Lately design aesthetics often favor a retro (sometimes '80s) look, whether it's electronics or the latest fall fashion; and while camera companies have invested heavily to improve digital photo image quality, apps like Instagram can make digital photos look like they were taken in the days of film.   

And of course I've pretty much bought into this whole vintage/retro trend.  I bought an old Olympus film camera from the '70s on eBay so I could authentically take real "vintage-looking" photos.  I'm also digging the resurgence of the shift dress (thanks to Mad Men) and the Peter Pan collar (for women's clothing)--though I think some '80s fashion should not be revisited.  

On another level, though, I think there is something to taking a step back and celebrating the past and what was once considered antiquated or outmoded.  It's a nice counterbalance to the constant drive of continual advancement and perfection.  I will never be able to fully keep up with the pace of change in thinking, styles and technology, but I can sometimes romanticize the way things used to be and embrace what was out-of-date for what it was, because those things will never change.

So for a recent birthday party potluck (for a hipster-ish friend), I reached into the past and made an updated version of the old-fashioned classic whoopie pie.  Though not as ubiquitous as the cupcake (at least where I live), they still made for a cute and yummy tribute to a time gone by.  


Raspberry-Lemon Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes approximately 15 three inch pies 

Preheat oven to 350F.

1.  Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy:
- 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 T. lemon zest

2.  Mix in to #1 until combined:
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 large egg

3.  In a separate bowl, mix together:
- 2-1/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
- 3/4 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. salt

4.  Add the flour mixture in #3 to the butter mixture, alternating with:
- 1 c. milk (I used 2% lowfat)

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spoon out 1-1/2" mounds of batter (about 2 T. each), spaced 2" apart.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until puffy and springy and light brown around the edges.  Cool cakes on a wire rack completely.

6.  To make the filling, whip together:
- 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
- 3 T. brown sugar

7.  Gently fold into the whipped cream:
- 1 cup fresh raspberries which have been mashed with a fork

8.  Assemble the pies by spreading whipped cream on the bottom of half the cakes and sandwiching with the remaining cakes.  Dust the tops with powdered sugar for a finished look.

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