Occupying a bustling corner in Cincinnati’s resurgent Over-the-Rhine neighborhood a charming restaurant cranks out gourmet waffles, but also something more commonly associated with the Amish: whoopie pies.
These beautiful confections are turned out by head pastry chef, Tammy Knock. With whoopie pies, Knock has a knack. Look at the gorgeous whoopies, the decorative dollops of frosting on the exterior of the cookie is a novel touch! Chocolate with a Swiss buttercreme filling is their most popular year-round offering. But in the fall, Taste of Belgium offers a pumpkin whoopie pie (yum) and during the heat-heavy doldrums of,summer a lemon whoopie pie (double yum!). Knock has also experimented with strawberry whoopie pies.
Knock has worked in the restaurant business for over 24 years. She spent time honing her craft working in restaurants in Charlottesville, Virginia before returning to Cincinnati and working in noted local restaurants Bonbonerie and Viva Vite.
The whoopie pie is commonly associated with the Amish who turn out these legendary treats. But bakers in Maine have also claimed the whoopie pie as their culinary legacy. Either way, the whoopie pie has gone gourmet and that is why Knock likes them.
“The whoopie pie is a dessert that lets you be a kid at heart,” Knock says. She hopes to make it to one of the Amish bakeries outside of Cincinnati at some point to see how their whoopie pies compare. Meanwhile,she’ll keep turning out Taste of Belgium’s with an eye on detail.
“With baking and pastry, you have to be a perfectionist. Watch your attention to detail because there are so many variables that can be screwed up. Baking is chemistry. Forget one little ingredient and everything can go wrong. I watch detail to the point where I drive people crazy. In this job you have to be creative, clean and organized,” Knock says.
PHOTO: Whoopie pies being made at Taste of Belgium
Meanwhile, if you want to get one of Taste of Belgium’s whoopie pies, get there early. They make only about six dozen for each weekend (such perfectionism doesn’t lend itself well to massive volume).
“And there are never any leftover on Monday,” Knock says.
Visit the Taste of Belgium at 1133-1135 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH or online here.
Next stop: Thistle Confections in Dayton, Ohio