Beiler's Bakery occupies a primo corner spot in the Reading Terminal Market. While all of the little booths and stalls have a certain theatre to the food preparation and presentation, Beiler's may very well take the cake (or the sticky bun, as it were) because right before your very eyes you can watch them prep enormous trays of all manner of buns--nutty, gooey, and just plain sticky right out of the oven. And if that's not enough, they make a mean whoopie pie...
Beiler's is a Pennsylvania Dutch-style baked goods paradise. Shoofly pie? Check! Hot homemade doughnuts? Check! Fresh baked bread? Check, again! Whoopie pies? Not one. Not two, but three flavors!
Alas, the early bird gets the doughnuts and I had no idea that hot doughnuts (hot cherry glazed doughnuts, in fact) were on offer until it was too late. Blast. Obviously a return trip is in order.
What I did get was:
a loaf of apple cinnamon bread
a half dozen sticky buns with pecans
one large sticky bun without nuts
a whoopie pie
The damage? $13.99. Score. I'm sorry there's no photo of the full haul, but we had places to go and people to see.
The gentleman at the counter said that the apple cinnamon bread is one of their best sellers and it was easy to see why. Super cinnamony with little ribbons of apple-y goodness, this toasted up nicely and can easily stand on it's own or with just a little bit of butter. I also imagine that it would make an awesome French Toast, though it's hard to imagine circumstances where the bread would last long enough to get stale.
Lawman thoroughly enjoyed the pecan-covered sticky bun reheated the next morning, but for me it was all about the whoopie pies.
If you believe the hype whoopie pies may very well be the new cupcake/pie/bacon. Consequently we're seeing bakers try to make their mark on whoopies and creating desserts that are not whoopies at all. Real whoopie pies do not have filling made with cream cheese. Ditto that for buttercream, whipped cream, crème fraîche, mascarpone and any other fancy dancy filling you might want to cram in there. The traditional whoopie pies are made with a shortening-based filling not unlike that white frosting crack that you get on grocery store birthday cakes. That's the way it's supposed to be and it is goooood. There was soo much win in these whoopies it's hard to know where to start. While many whoopies fail in the cake department (dry, flat cookie imposters need not apply!), Beiler's chocolate whoopies were light, perfectly domed and properly proportioned to the filling so that you can taste that sweet, sweet cream filling in every bite.
Thankfully we were there on a Friday because Beiler's is only open Wednesday through Saturday, that's a schedule I'll be keeping in mind for sure when I plan my next trip to Philly.