The Amish migrated to the United States in the early 1700s to avoid religious persecution, although they are originally from Switzerland. They brought their recipes and eating customs with them, although these have lost a lot of their ethnic qualities after three hundred years of American life. Modern Amish recipes, both savory recipes and desserts, tend to be a reflection of the simple, work-focused Amish lifestyle and a lot of these recipes are based on locally grown produce and tasty home cooking.
The Amish are thrifty and hard-working. They dislike wastage and are able to live off the land. They tend to shun modern appliances such as television, cell phones, water heaters and computers and they also prefer horse-drawn buggies over cars. Not all Amish live quite like this but a lot of them find that the simple life works well for them and would not want to live any other way.
A lot of Amish meals consist of meats and vegetables, which are grown locally, and they also love desserts. Typical desserts include snitz pie (which is made with dried apples), apple pie, funnel cake, apple dumplings, and faschnachts, which are similar to donuts and made from sugar, butter, and lard. These are served on Fastnacht Day, which is the day before Lent starts. They were originally a means of using up ingredients in the pantry, which are prohibited during Lent.
Pies are very popular and other well loved varieties include pumpkin pie, whoopee pie which is made of peanut butter or vanilla frosting between two pumpkin or cake wafers, and shoefly pie, which is made with crumb and molasses.
Comparing Old Fashioned Desserts with Modern Ones
It is not possible to say that all old fashioned desserts are better than all modern ones or that all modern desserts are better than their predecessors, because dessert recipes vary so widely. You can, however, combine the best of two worlds.
Think of jello recipes, for example. You might like to make a homemade funnel cake and coat it with a layer of jello for an interesting flavor and fruity texture, or use jello pudding instead of frosting to sandwich a whoopee pie together.
Recipe for Amish Jello Dessert
The following recipe makes enough to serve twelve people and it is easy enough for kids to make if they have some supervision. You can adapt the recipe, using another flavor of jello if you prefer. Strawberry or cherry would be nice, to make a Valentine's Day jello recipe. You can use walnuts or pecans in this recipe. Mixed nuts would work too.