Before I went on mat leave, my wonderful group of colleagues took me for a farewell lunch. When it came time for a celebratory dessert, I was heartily encouraged to try the feature dessert: Shmoo. At first, I thought the waiter was kidding around; I’d never heard of such a thing. Well, it’s real, it’s delicious, and you guessed it, it’s a Winnipeg thing!
What is Shmoo (or Schmoo), you ask? It’s a decadent cake/torte layered with whipped cream, nuts and caramel. I had my first taste at Chamberlyn’s, but my dining companions that fateful day speculated it was popularized by the legendary Baked Expectations.
A quick survey of Winnipeg bakeries reveals it’s a popular cake: Gunn’s, Goodies, Baked Expectations, and Pastry Castle all list it on their websites. Where does the whimsical-sounding name come from? This article from the Globe & Mail mentions that many believe it has Jewish roots, and this article from the Boston Globe (written by a former Winnipegger) says indeed, Shmoo torte is a staple dessert of Bar Mitzvahs.
Want to make your own Shmoo? Check out this recipe for Shmoo, from an Ontario food blogger who says, “I feel like a bad Canadian for never having heard of Shmoo Torte. I stumbled upon a recipe recently and discovered that this decadent cake is a Winnipeg classic and after I read the recipe, I thought I should bring a little Shmoo to Ontario, too!” Atta girl!
Where’s your favourite place to get Shmoo’ed?