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It’s no secret that Season 2 of Next Great Baker has had it’s share of drama. With the sad passing of Sgt. Wesley Durden to Minerva challenging Buddy. Here we talk with Minerva Vázquez who we quickly found out was full of passion, grace and fire!

As an added bonus, she shared one of her favorite recipes with us.

1. Why did you decide to become a pastry chef?
Actually, I’m not a pastry chef; I’m a personal chef and a cake artist. It all started seven years ago when I decided to move from San Juan, PR to Miami, FL. My friends and family were always paying me compliments about my food and desserts; and they would suggest that I should make a career out of it. So, I decided to go for a culinary program at a vocational school in Miami. Soon after that, the word started spreading around. I started as a personal chef doing brunches for small corporations, then private dinners. Desserts were always a hit and suddenly, my customers were asking for birthday cakes. That got me very motivated! I went ahead and took the cake decorating Wilton Method; and that’s how I became a cake artist.
 
2. If not a Personal Chef, or Cake Artist what would you be doing right now?
I love the food industry with a passion! So if I’m not cooking or baking for a specific client; I would be on TV, teaching how to cook and bake for an audience of thousands 🙂
 
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A BAKER’S DOZEN COMPETE TO BE TLC’S NEXT GREAT BAKER

Read exclusive interviews on The Bakery Network: http://www.thebakerynetwork.com/next-great-baker-season-2-contestants

13 Contestants vying for $100,000 prize and chance to work at Carlo’s Bakery. 

Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro is looking for the NEXT GREAT BAKER and 13 aspiring cake artists are entering the kitchen to see if can bake their way to the top. At stake: the sweet prize of $100,000, a four page feature in Brides Magazine, and a chance to work side-by-side with Buddy and his team at Carlo’s Bakery.

The 10-episode season kicks off with a special 90-minute premiere on Monday, November 28 at 9pm ET/PT. The season one finale – which crowned Dana Hebert the winner – averaged 2.34 million viewers, up +67% from its series debut.

“This season is bigger and better – we’ve doubled the prize, the challenges are tougher, and there’s a seasoned ‘bakers dozen’ fighting it out to prove to me they have what it takes to hang with the Carlo’s crew,” said Buddy Valastro.

This season’s contestants include: 

Ryan Cimorelli, Providence, RI
30 years old; Owner, The Bakery Boutique in Smithfield, RI. 

Wesley Durden, Fayetteville NC
29 years old; Active serviceman with 82nd Airborn Division, based at Fort Bragg. 

Chad Fitzgerald, Duncanville, TX
44 years old; Owner of THE CAKE GUYS in Dallas and Duncanville, TX; also a High School Math Teacher. 

Jasmine Frank, Los Angeles, CA
20 years old; Owner of Jazzy Cakes 

Tony Frys, Forth Worth, TX
23 years old; a co-owner of “The Sugar Art” 

Heather Grubb, Knoxville, TN
31 years old; owner of Cake of Knoxville.

Megan Hart, Pittsburgh PA
38 years old; works as a paramedic for the city of Pittsburgh. 

Marissa Lopez, Pompton Lakes NJ
24 years old; Cake decorator at the Brownstone in Patterson NJ and small business owner.

Heather Macia, Las Vegas, NV
32 years old; a culinary school graduate, she currently works as an exotic dancer.

Carmelo Oquendo, Worcester, MA
43 years old; a retired Gang Unit Police Officer and now the “Cakefather of Worcester.” 

Nadine Reibeling, New York, NY
28 years old; owner of Lolly Love, LLC, and also works in catering sales for a hotel.

Minerva Vazquez, Miami, FL
46 years old; a personal chef and cake artist 

Sara Williams, Cedartown, GA
39 years old; owner of a bakery, Crickette’s Cakes 

Contacts: Dustin Smith, (310) 975-1640, dustin_smith@discovery.com
Press materials: http://press.discovery.com/us/tlc/programs/next-great-baker-2/

The series fan site can be found at http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/next-great-baker.  

NEXT GREAT BAKER is produced for TLC by High Noon Entertainment.

About TLC TLC is a global brand that celebrates extraordinary people and relatable life moments through innovative nonfiction programming. A top 10 cable network for women, TLC has built successful franchises around the Cake Boss, Say Yes to the Dress and Police Women brands. In the first half of 2011, TLC had 23 series averaging 1.0 million viewers or more including Extreme Couponing, Sister Wives, 19 Kids and Counting, What Not To Wear, and Kate Plus 8.

TLC is available in more than 99 million homes in the US and 75 million households in 34 countries internationally. A

destination online, TLC.com offers in-depth fan sites, exclusive video content, and original editorial covering style, home, food, and more. Fans can also interact with TLC via On Demand services, on mobile platforms, including an iPhone App, and through social media such as Facebook or @TLC on Twitter. TLC is part of Discovery

Communications (NASDAQ:
DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 210 countries and territories.

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After doing much research on what make a winner at county baking fairs, I came across this post by Lisa Kivirist on Hobby Farns website. It’s a great, helpful article and if you haven’t read it, check it out. It just may help you win your first ‘Blue-Ribbon’

By Lisa Kivirist – Original Article – http://www.hobbyfarms.com/food-and-kitchen/baking-tips-win-prizes.aspx

 Follow these blue-ribbon baking tips to take the top prize at your county fair.

When I entered my first culinary competition at the Wisconsin State Fair last summer, I confess I walked in with a dash of inflated attitude about my carrot cake entry. 

This cake rocked, at least according to my family of taste testers. I‘ve made it so many times, I assembled the batter on autopilot. I started mulling over where I would hang my blue ribbon as I pulled out of the driveway heading to the fair, my cake jiggling in the trunk.

What happened at the fair?
Do you remember that toddler game, “one of these things is not like the other,” where you pick out the item that clearly doesn’t belong with the rest of the group? That was my carrot cake; sitting amongst the table of beautiful, show-stopping, perfect-cake masterpieces.

At first, I felt like the ugly stepsister who tagged along to the ball, hiding in the crowd of onlookers as the judges started tasting and commenting on the cakes.

But something funny happened on the way to the awarding of the blue ribbon. No, my cake didn’t win, but I had a ball.

I learned so much from the judges’ comments, drew inspiration from the other entrants and felt part of a homespun community of cooking enthusiasts like I had never felt before.

Am I going to enter again this year? You bet. But this time, I’ll be well-seasoned with a toolbox of experiences and tips.

Agricultural Fairs in America
The first American agricultural fair dates back to the early 1800s with the Berkshire County Fair in Massachusetts, with a goal of creating a venue for farmers to come together, share information and educate each other.

This revolutionary idea fully sparked during the mid-1800s with fairs flourishing on both the state and county levels.

While the emphasis remained on celebrating and improving American agriculture, these fairs also quickly became a valuable social outlet and anticipated annual event for farmers in isolated rural areas.

The culinary divisions during these early fairs focused on the practical aspects of home farm life, such as preserving food and making butter and cheese.

As modern times evolved in the 1900s, “table luxury” categories such as cakes started appearing at fairs, indicating how rural life no longer needed to focus on just the basic necessities.

Today, more than 3,000 state and regional fairs take place annually, but the culinary competitions have taken on new roles and perspectives.

With the growth of fast food and convenience outlets, most folks today cook as a hobby and for personal interests rather than out of necessity.

This growing group of people who are passionate about cooking—perhaps fueled by popular cooking competitions on the Food Network—adds a healthy dose of renewed enthusiasm to these culinary competitions.

Top 10 Entry Tips
Tempted to enter your best recipe? Here are 10 tips to help make your experience a success.

While these tips and my experience at the Wisconsin State Fair focus on the baked-goods categories in the culinary competitions, remember there’s a wide range of other categories to enter, from jams and preserved foods to appetizers and casseroles.

1) Start With Research
The culinary arena at the Wisconsin State Fair was not only my first baking competition, it was my first state fair. Bad idea.

Try to visit and check out your county or state fairs the year before you plan to enter, and study the food items on display.

What makes the winning entries special? See if you can identify a “hidden gem” category—one that maybe doesn’t receive that many entries and therefore will be a good entry point for you.

Study cookbooks dedicated to blue-ribbon winners, as they’ll showcase a range of winning recipes across the country. While perspectives and interests vary geographically, study the recipes for commonalities and ideas that you can use in your entry.

2) Register Early and Read the Rules
Most culinary competitions require you to register several weeks or even months before the competition date, with many now offering easy-to-use online registration applications.

Each competition will provide detailed entry instructions, often posted online.

Bottom line: Read the rules carefully and follow them to the inch, ounce, minute. While there’s plenty of opportunity for creativity (see tip 4), interpretation of the rules and regulations is not one of them.

For example, the rules might specifically state that the item must be presented on a certain-sized white paper plate.

“Don’t be concerned if this seems very plain because the plate is not taken into consideration during the judging,” explains Linda Amendt, winner of more than 600 first-place ribbons and currently a competition judge and cookbook author. “In this case, the judges will be focused on the taste and appearance of the item.”

Professional chefs are ineligible to enter. While Amendt amassed her blue-ribbon collection during her culinary competition years, once her Blue Ribbon Preserves cookbook came out, she no longer qualified as an “amateur” and shifted instead to judging competitions.

Some culinary competitions are sponsored by specific companies and require you to use certain brand ingredients in your recipe. King Arthur Flour sponsored the cake competition I entered, and I was required to bring in the empty flour bag to prove I used their flour.

Once you officially enter, the fair organizers will provide you with detailed instructions on the exact time and location to bring your entry, right down to convenient parking recommendations.

With many fairs lasting a week or more, the judging schedule is quite detailed with different categories being judged on different days.

Make sure you read all of this ahead of time and call the fair organizers if you have any questions.

Organizational mistakes can be made, so double check the judging time you’re given with the master schedule that’s usually posted on the fair’s website. During my cake competition day at the fair, a woman walked in with a beautiful appetizer tray. Unfortunately, the appetizer judging took place the day before.

3) Choose Categories Carefully
There are many baked-goods category options for you to contemplate, from the classics like chocolate chip cookies to newer categories based on modern trends, like gluten-free baking.

Pick your category carefully, sticking to something that you feel comfortable and are experienced in making.

“Remember, the simpler a recipe, the more perfect the end product needs to be,” advises Jeanie Jung, a seasoned home economist who has judged Wisconsin state and county fairs for more than 40 years. “Baking-powder biscuits are a good example, as the ingredients don’t really vary; therefore, they need to be made absolutely perfect.”

4) Season With Creativity
What personal, unique touch can you add to the recipe to give it that special something the judges glow over?

Here are some ideas:

  • Add an unexpected ingredient to a classic recipe, like dried cranberries to chocolate chip cookies.
  • Use common ingredients in new ways, like adding puréed beets to muffin batter.
  • Create a healthier version of recipe favorites by cutting back on fats or increasing fiber.

5) Write a Perfect Recipe
Make sure your recipe is perfectly written.

  • Add extra description and spell out abbreviations for words such as “teaspoon” just to be perfectly clear.
  • Give detailed measurements for pan size
  • Describe how the item should look when it’s done, such as: “Golden brown on top with a lighter brown along the edges.”

Your recipe title should be both engaging and descriptive, pulling the judges in to take a closer look at your entry.

Consider using a rhyme or alliteration for the title, still focused on communicating the entry, such as “Crunchy Cranberry Cobbler.”

6) Add Organization
Entering a culinary competition is different than everyday home cooking.

Take extra care getting organized.

  • Test your oven temperature beforehand with an oven thermometer to make sure it’s accurate.
  • Don’t clean your oven the day before you make something for the competition because the cleaning odors may still be lingering.
  • Use the absolute best-quality ingredients you can find.
  • Open a fresh box of baking staples such as baking soda or powder to ensure freshness.
  • Use room temperature eggs and flour.

7) Attend to Details
If you take your usual home cooking up a notch when company comes over, think of baking your fair entry as if the president of the United States was stopping by.

  • Practice baking your entry several times first, adding notes to your recipe text on subtle details.
  • Don’t rush when creating your final entry.
  • Block out more time than you typically need to prepare the item so you can make it more mindfully.
  • Measure accurately, and never measure the salt over the mixing bowl to ensure extra granules don’t taint your recipe.
  • Crack the eggs in a small cup before adding to your batter to make sure no eggshells fall in. As fate would have it, the one bite the judge takes would be the one with that tiny shell chip.

“Remember that people—judges included—eat with their eyes, so take particular care that everything looks just right,” advises Jung. “If you’re making multiples of something, such as cookies or rolls, aim to form them as uniform in shape and size as possible.”

8) Transport With Care
Remember how I confessed that my cake was “jiggling in the trunk”?

Avoid that and craft a perfect arrival of your entry with a dash of strategic preparation.

“Stop by a cake-supply store [party-supply store] and pick up a cake box,” Amendt recommends. “These inexpensive cardboard boxes work well to transport your item, and then you can simply carry the box into the judging area. Add twisted towels as needed in your trunk to hold the box in place so it doesn’t slide around.”

9) Learn from the Judges
“Remember that every judge brings their own personal preferences and biases to the judging session, such as some like crunchy cookies while others prefer chewy varieties,” Amendt explains.

“The key for you as an entrant is to not focus on the winning, but to simply relax, have a good time and learn from the process.”

From my experience, the judging session, which is typically open to the public, proved to be the most interesting part of the process.

When I first saw Jung on stage “eating with her eyes” and staring at my entry, I felt self-conscious, but this quickly melted away as she started talking to the audience about successful baking, cake tips and savvy insight based on her years as a trained home economist.

Judges, like Jung, aim to be constructive and positive. Judging is anonymous, so no one, including the judges, knows which entry belongs to whom until after the awarding of the ribbons. Even though I came out of that session sans blue ribbon, I took home a bushel of tips and left itching to get back in the kitchen.

If your entry wins a ribbon, it typically will be held for display throughout the rest of the fair, at which point it will be thrown out for food safety issues.

Remember to bring some Tupperware or other containers to bring your item back home if you don’t win. Non-winning items usually need to be picked up immediately after the judging session.

10) Have Fun and Return
Bottom line: Culinary competitions at fairs create reasons to gather together as a community to celebrate the joys and pleasures of home cooking.

“But be forewarned: Entering county- and state-fair culinary competitions can be addictive,” Amendt says with a smile. “Folks may enter one item their first year and come back the following with entries in multiple categories.”

Amendt accurately recaped my experience: I started plotting what I would enter next year as I sat in the audience watching the judging.

Think about involving friends and family and coming to the fair together, each entering items in the same category.

I’m planning to recruit my mother, another enthusiastic cook, to come next year and we’ll both take on another favorite category of ours—appetizers—and share a fun day together at the fair.

“The spirit of these competitions remains enjoyable and encouraging to everyone to further develop their love of cooking,” sums up Jung. “I remember I once had two loaves of bread in one category that were totally different bread recipes but were identical in shape and size and must have come out of the same pan. Turns out the entries were from a husband and wife who each entered their own bread version.”

In addition to all the personal benefits of entering culinary competitions, such as fun and learning, you’re also helping to keep this agriculture-rooted fair tradition alive and vibrant.

While the exhibits might have changed over the years, the fair’s roots remain true to celebrating and enhancing American agriculture. Who knows—you or I may someday claim the title of “Queen of the Fair,” an honorary distinction many fairs give to the person winning the most ribbons each year.

About the Author: Lisa Kivirist is the co-author of ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance and is a W.K. Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow. You can find her dreaming about her blue-ribbon winner for next year’s Wisconsin State Fair on her Wisconsin farm and B&B, Inn Serendipity.

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Recently, Rudi’s Gluten-Free started a contest called the Rudi’s Unbelievably Good Gluten-Free Recipe Contest. It was featured on their Facebook page and fans voted on more than 75 gluten-free recipe submissions featuring Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery products to determine the top ten finalists.

After Facebook fans chose their favorites, a panel of judges (Chef Jeffrey Barbour of Restaurant 4580, Martin Hammer, owner of Restaurant 4580, Chef Dan Kohler from Renegade Kitchen and Alternative Appetites, and Jane Miller, CEO of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery) chose the top three finalists…and here they are:

  • Annalyn Varalla Wills from Phoenix, AZ
    Prickly Pear Rudi-fied Goat and Rhubarb Treats
  • John Inderdohnen from Centereach, NY
    Rudi’s Unbelievably Good Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Pesto
  • Terra Fox from Conover, NC
    Rudi’s Pocket Pies

Keep tuned to see who becomes the winner!

Here is a list of the Top Ten Recipe Finalists:

John Inderdohnen – Rudi’s Unbelievably Good Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Pesto

Jennifer Daskevich – Rudi’s Milanese – Better Than Any Chicken Finger Ever Hoped to Be

Annalyn Varalla Willis – Prickly Pear Rudi-fied Goat and Rhubarb Treats

Merry Graham –Fan-RUDI-astic Yammy Quiche

Laurie Lufkin – Cinnamon Spiced Apple & Bread Pudding Parfaits

Melissa Mostowy – Rudi’s Fruit Spring Delight

Terra Fox – Rudi’s Pocket Pies

Elizabeth DeHart – Rudi’s Easy Caprese Sammy

Dorothy Kieffer – Rudi’s Gluten-Free Olive Pepper Parsley Bruschetta

Lorin Young Cook – Rudi-Tudi Filled French Toasty

Visit Rudi’s Website: www.rudisglutenfree.com/

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Thanks to the hard work of Willie Prejean for proving this information

Ingredient functions, pie doughs and pie fillings, plus mixing and make-up demonstrations.

INTRODUCTION

The average American has a wide choice of desserts, with pies undoubtedly being the number one choice. To qualify as the true favorite of American desserts, pie must be be of top quality. In order to be able to produce quality pies, it is essential tha the baker know what each ingredient does, why they are used and how they are used.  

 CLASSIFICATION OF PIES
Pies are generally classified into three main classifications as follows: Double Crust Pies such as Fruit Filled Pies, Baked Custard Pies, and Pre-Baked Shell Type Pies.

PIE CRUSTS:
Pie crusts are divided into three main classifications such as: 

  • LONG FLAKE:
    To produce a long flake, the flour and shortening are mixed only until the fat is about the size of walnuts.
  • SHORT FLAKE:
    To produce a short flake, the flour and shortening are mixed until the fat is the size of peas.
  • MEALY TENDER CRUST:
    To produce a mealy tender crust, the flour and fat are mixed until there are very few fat particles. 

Slight variations or combinations of the three mixing methods listed above are used by some bakers. Also, the dough may be mixed by hand or by using the Pastry Blender Attachment when using a mixing machine. If a Pastry Blender Attachment is not available the Mixing Paddle can be used. When using the mixing machine, extra care must be used to prevent overmixing the flour and fat together and also after the water has been added. 

PIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS: 

  • FLOUR:
    Flour is the main structure builder in pie doughs. Pastry flour generally produces superior pie doughs, however, a combination of 60 percent bread flour and 40 percIent cake flour can produce quality pies if the dough is mixed properly. If all bread flour is used, the dough will shrink excessively when baked and the crust will be tough.
    On the other hand, if all cake flour is used, the amount of shortening used must be reduced otherwise, the dough will be very difficult to handle during make-up.
  • SHORTENING:
    Shortening is responsible for flakiness, tenderness, taste, palatability and keeping quality of the crust. Shortening may be animal, vegetable or a blend of animal and vegetable. Butter, margarine, and lard produced from hog fat, are highly flavored. Many years ago, lard was the favorite of bakers. Today, bakers use a combination of lard and vegetable shortening. Too high a percentage of shortening in the formula will result in excessive tenderness of the crust and too low a percentage will produce a tough crust.
  • SALT:
    Salt enhances the flavor of other ingredients. Salt also has a strengthening effect upon the flour proteins which is desirable.
  • COLORING AGENTS:
    Coloring agents are generally used to to assist in developing the golden brown crust color during baking. For example when sugars and milk are used in pie dough, they carmelize during baking. The disadvantage of using these ingredients is that they tend to destroy the flake and increase moisture absorption in the crust after baking. Some bakers use a pie wash such as a mixture of equal parts of water and eggs which has been beaten slightly with a wire whip. Milk and eggs or melted butter can also be used. The wash is painted on or sprayed on the top of the pie just before loading them into the oven. The wash containing eggs produce a shiny glazed surface to the crust, but they tend to make the crust soggy. Butter produces a more tender crust, but the crust will not have a glaze, and will tend to be dull in color.
  • WATER:
    Water dissolves the salt, developes the flour proteins, and controls the consistency and temperature of the dough. Excessive water in the dough is undersible because it takes longer to bake the crust, and toughens the crust.
  • NOTE: WATER USED IN THE DOUGH SHOULD BE ICE COLD TO PREVENT SOFTENING THE FAT IN THE DOUGH. IF TIME PERMITS, THE MIXED DOUGH SHOULD BE CHILLED IN THE REFRIGERATOR SLIGHTLY. THIS WILL ASSIST IN KEEPING THE DOUGH FROM BEING STICKY DURING MAKE-UP. 

PIE FILLING INGREDIENTS:

Although an attractive, tender, flaky, golden brown crust with good flavor, taste and aroma is necessary, a quality, attractive and tasty filling will in the end determine the final quality of the pie.

NOTE:

Some well known bakery ingredient manufacturers make available to the baker high quality prepared fruit pie fillings and cream pie fillings. Bakers use these prepared mixes to save time and labor costs. For those bakers who prefer to prepare their own pie dough and pie filling formulas, the following information can be used as a guide.  

PIE DOUGH BAKER’S PERCENTAGE RANGE SHOWING MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF EACH INGREDIENT THAT SHOULD BE USED IN THE FORMULA 

Ingredients Minimum Maximum
Flour

100

100

Shortening

50

75

Salt

3

4

Sugar

0

10

Milk, Dry Nonfat

0

5

Ice Water

20

50

PIE DOUGH TRUE PERCENTAGE RANGE SHOWING MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF EACH INGREDIENT THAT SHOULD BE USED IN THE FORMULA

Ingredients Minimum Maximum
Flour

44

50

Shortening

24

32

Salt

0.5

1.0

Sugar

0

3

Milk, Dry Nonfat

0

2

Ice Water

15

24

FRUIT PIE FILLING TRUE PERCENTAGE RANGE SHOWING MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF EACH INGREDIENT THAT SHOULD BE USED IN THE FORMULA 

Ingredients Minimum Maximum
Sugar

15

25

Salt

0

0.25

Glucose Syrup

0

20

Cornstarch

3

4

Fruit

35

50

Juice or Water

30

45

Butter

0

1.5

CREAM PIE FILLING TRUE PERCENTAGE RANGE SHOWING MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF EACH INGREDIENT THAT SHOULD BE USED IN THE FORMULA 

Ingredients Minimum Maximum
Sugar

15

25

Salt

0.125

0.25

Eggs or Yolk

10

20

Milk, Nonfat Dry

0

10

Chocolate

5

7

Cocoa

3

4

Cornstarch

4

5

Fruit Juice & Rind

4.5

6.5

Butter

0

3

CREAM TYPE PIES

Cream for Cream Type Pies are generally poured into pre-baked pie shells and topped with Meringue. There are several methods of prepaing meringue, however the use of a cooked type meringue is recommended, because the meringue is more stable and will not break down or weep during storage or when chilled in the refrigerator. The meringue is made using a commercially prepared special stabalizer or with a cooked cornstarch mixture. 

THE FORMULA FOR THE COOKED MERINGUE INCLUDING INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PREPARE IT IS INCLUDED LATER ON IN THIS PAGE 

CUSTARD PIE FILLING TRUE PERCENTAGE RANGE SHOWING MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF EACH INGREDIENT THAT SHOULD BE USED IN THE FORMULA 

Ingredients Minimum Maximum
Sugar

16

20

Salt

0.125

0.25

Eggs or Yolk

10

20

Milk, Nonfat Dry

5

8

Spices

0.125

7

Cocoa

0.125

0.5

Cornstarch

0

1.5

Pumpkin

28

36

Butter

0

1.5

CORNSTARCHES

THERE ARE SEVERAL TYPES OF STARCHES AVAILABLE TO THE PIE BAKER FOR THICKENING THE FRUIT JUICES AND OR MILK AND WATER.

  • PURE FOOD POWDERED STARCH:
    A pure refined corn starch prepared from ordinary field corn. This type of starch is not as stable as the Waxy Maise Starch and will break down and become watery after long storage or when used to thicken fruit juices containing a high acid content such as cherry or pineapple juices. It contains amylase and amylopectin. It can be modified to increase it’s clarity and stability.
  • WAXY STARCH:
    This type of starch is refined and modified. It is prepared from waxy maise. This is an exceptionally clear, gel-producing starch with a short tender body and extreme stability. Waxy starches generally swell faster than other starches, but they also become thinner during cooking. The cooked filling will not get thicker when the pie cools as does that made with regular starch.
  • PRE-GELATINIZED STARCH (COLD WATER STARCH):
    This starch is generally know as INSTANT STARCH. It does not require cooking. The juice is drained from the fruit. If insufficient juices are present in the fruit, water can be added to make up the shortage. All the dry ingredients (starch, sugar,salt, spiced, etc.) of the filling are blended together thoroughly in a dry mixing bowl. Add the liquids (juices and water when used) gradually to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Carefully fold drained fruit into thickened mixture. Chill filling in refrigerator until ready to be used.

Regardless of the type of starch used, the prepared filling should be chilled in the refrigerator before being used to reduce the possibility of the filling boiling out of the pie during baking. Generally if the oven is heated to about 450 degrees F before the pie is loaded into the oven, the crust will be fully baked before the filling gets hot enough to come to a boil and spill out of the pie.

  • TAPAIOCA STARCH:
    This type of starch is also used in pie fillings by some bakers.

One of the characteristics of all starches is their ability to swell when cooked in water or fruit juices. They become gelatinized and in turn cause the mixture to be thickend.

FRUIT USED IN PIES: THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF FRUITS WILL PRODUCE QUALITY PIES IF PROCESSED PROPERLY: 

  • FRESH FRUIT:
    Wash, drain and mix into a slurry of cooked starch, sugar, salt, drained juice and water plus any spices or other ingredients such as lemon juice, and butter that may used. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • FROZEN FRUIT:
    Thaw, drain the juice, cook a slurry of drained juice and water, starch, sugar and salt, etc. and mix the fruit into the slurry. NOTE: If sugar has been added to the fruit, this must be taken into consideration. Excess sugar in the recipe will interfere with the ability of the starch to form a gel.
  • CANNED FRUIT:
    Drain the juice, if insufficient juice is present, add water to make up the shortage. Cook a slurry of drained juice, water when added, starch, sugar, salt and other ingredients when used. Then mix the fruit into the cooked mixture.
  • DEHYDRATED AND DRIED FRUITS:
    Reconstitute, cook into a slurry as for other types of fruits and mix the fruit into the cooked mixture. Today, dried fruits are not shriviled as they once were. They should be considered fresh fruit from which water has been removed. Years ago when dried fruits were used, it was necessary to soak them in water for 8 hours or overnight. Today that is no longer necessary. Quick cooking is the secret to producing quality pies from dried fruits without ending up with broken, mashed, or dark or yellow unpleasant color.

FOLLOWING AREA FEW FRUIT PIE FILLING FORMULAS USING REGULAR STARCHES AND FILLINGS USING COLD WATER STARCHES (INSTANT STARCHES) APPLE PE FILLING USING NO. 10 CAN CANNED APPLES AND COOKING WITH REGULAR STARCH

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
JUICE OR WATER

2

0

PROCEDURE: BRING WATER TO BOIL 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
STARCH

0

3-1/2

WATER

0

6

PROCEDURE: SUSPEND STARCH IN WATER. ADD TO BOILING WATER STIRRING CONSTANTLY. COOK UNTIL THICK AND CLEAR 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
SUGAR

0

12

SUGAR, BROWN

0

12

SALT

0

0-1/4TH

CINNAMON

0

0-1/4TH

BUTTER

0

4

LEMON JUICE

0

0-1/2

PROCEDURE: MIX DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER, ADD TO COOKED SLURRY. STIR UNTIL SUGAR AND SALT ARE DISSOLVED AND THE BUTTER IS MELTED.
NOTE: BUTTER IS OPTIONAL. ADD LEMON JUICEAND THEN POUR COOKED SLURRY OVER FRUIT AND BLEND CAREFULLY. CHILL FILLING IN REFRIGERATOR
UNTIL READY TO BE USED.

APPLE PIE FILLING USING NO.10 CANNED APPLES AND USING COLD WATER STARCH (INSTANT STARCH)

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
SUGAR

0

12

SUGAR, BROWN

0

12

SALT

0

0-1/4TH

CINNAMON

0

0-1/4TH

 

 

 

 
PROCEDURE: BLENDALL DRY INGREDIENTS THOROUGHLY IN A DRY BOWL.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
JUICE OR WATER

2

0

BUTTER

0

4

LEMON JUICE

0

0-1/2

 

 

 

PROCEDURE: GRADUALLY ADD WATER TO THE DRY MIXTURE ABOVE STIRRING CONSTANTLY UNTIL SMOOTH. ADD LEMON JUICE AND STIR INTO THE MIXTURE. POUR THICKENED MIXTURE OVER APPLES AND FOLD IN GENTLY. CHILL FILLING UNTIL READY TO BE USED. 

CHERRY PIE FILLING USING NO. 10 CAN CANNED CHERRIES AND COOKING WITH REGULAR STARCH

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
JUICE

2

0

 


PROCEDURE:
BRING JUICE TO BIOL

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
STARCH

0

4-1/2

WATER

0

6

PROCEDURE: SUSPEND STARCH IN WATER. ADD TO BOILING WATER STIRRING CONSTANTLY. COOK UNTIL THICK AND ORIGINAL COLOR IS OBTAINED. SHUT OFF HEAT. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
SUGAR

2

8

SALT

0

0-1/4TH

BUTTER

0

4

LEMON JUICE

0

0-1/2

PROCEDURE: MIX DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER, ADD TO COOKED SLURRY. STIR UNTIL SUGAR AND SALT ARE DISSOLVEDAND THE BUTTER IS MELTED.
NOTE: BUTTER AND LEMON JUICE ARE OPTIONAL. ADD LEMON JUICE AND THEN POUR COOKED SLURRY OVER FRUITAND BLEND CAREFULLY. CHILL IN REFRIGERATOR UNTIL READY TO BE USED.

CHERRY PIE FILLING USING NO.10 CANNED CHERRIES AND USING COLD WATER STARCH (INSTANT STARCH) 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
SUGAR

2

8

SALT

0

0-1/4TH

INSTANT STARCH

0

4-1/2

PROCEDURE: BLEND ALL DRY INGREDIENTS THOROUGHLY IN A DRY BOWL. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
JUICE

2

0

BUTTER

0

4

LEMON JUICE

0

0-1/2

PROCEDURE: GRADUALLY ADD JUICE TO THE DRY MIXTURE ABOVE STIRRING CONSTANTLY UNTIL SMOOTH. ADD LEMON JUICE AND STIR INTO THE MIXTURE. LEMON JUICE AND BUTTER ARE OPTIONAL. POUR THICKENED MIXTURE OVER CHERRIES AND FOLD IN GENTLY. CHILL FILLING UNTIL READY TO BE USED.

PIE DOUGH FORMULA

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
PASTRY FLOUR

5

5

SALT

0

3

SUGAR

0

3-1/2

DRY MILK

0

1

SHORTENING

3

4

PROCEDURE: SIFT ALL DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER. BLEND SHORTENINGAND DRY INGREDIENTS TO ABOUT THE SIZE OF PEAS WITH THE PASTRY BLENDER ATTACHMENT. THIS WILL PRODUCE A SHORT FLAKE PIE CRUST. IF A LONG FLAKE IS DESIRED, BLEND THE SHORTENING AND DRY INGREDIENTS TO ABOUT THE SIZE OF WALNUTS. TO PRODUCE A MEALY PIE CRUST, BLEND THE SHORTENING AND DRY INGREDIENTS UNTIL VERY FEW LUMPS REMAIN. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
ICE WATER

2

0

 PROCEDURE: DEMONSTRATING MIXING PIE DOUGH USING THE PASTRY BLENDER ATTACHMENT 

Mixing pie dough by machine using the Pastry Blender Attachment. If PASTRY BLENDER ATTACHMENT is not available, use the MIXING PADDLE ATTACHMENT, but be very careful not to overblend the dry ingredients and the shortening. Also don’t overmix the dough after the water has been added. The dough can also be mixed by hand. 

  • Cutting pie dough mass with hand scraper prior to forming dough into a cylinder.
  • Forming dough into a cylinder prior to scaling dough into individual size pieces.
  • Hand scaling dough pieces for bottom and top crusts.

NOTE: In large bakeries scaling of dough pieces is accomplished automatically using special machines 

  • Hand rolling pie dough using small rolling pin.
  • Machine rolling pie dough pieces.

NOTE: Some bakeries mass produce pies using automatic pie making machines where the dough is never touched by human hands. There are also bakeries that have semi-automatic pie making machines where some procedures require that the baker do some of the work. 

  • After the bottom crust has been placed in the pie pan, the edges of the pie dough are painted with egg wash to assist the top crust to seal to the bottom crust.
  • Hand filling pie shell with prepared and chilled cherry pie filling. In large pie making operations this procedure is accomplished automatically by machine.
  • Trimming the excess dough from the pie after the top crust has been docked to let steam out of the pie and placed on top of the pie. If the top is not docked, the steam created during baking will force the top crust to break away from the bottom crust.
  • The pie making machine shown is capable of producing 50 or more fruit pies per minute automatically. The machine is made by the Colborne Manufacturing Co. There are other manufacturers of automatic pie making machines.
  • Removing excess dough for making custard pies such as pecan and pumpkin pies, etc. 

PECAN PIE FORMULA 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Sugar, granulated

1

0

Cake Flour

1

0

SALT

0

0-1/2

Nutmeg

0

0-1/2

Eggs

6

8

Karo syrup

10

0

PROCEDURE: Place all above ingredients into mixing bowl and beat in low speed with wire whip until well mixed. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Water

2

0

Vanilla

0

0-1/2

PROCEDURE: Add water and vanilla to above mixture and continue beating in slow speed for about 2 minutes. or until well mixed. Place 0-1/2 Cup macaroon cocoanut into bottom of unbaked pie shell (OPTIONAL). Also Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups of fresh pecans to the unbaked pie shell. Place unbaked pie shells containing cocoanut and pecan in 350 degree to 400 degree F. oven. Fill unbaked pie shell containing cocanut and pecan with prepared pecan pie filling. Bake about 30 minutes or until filling has set.

PUMPKIN PIE FORMULA 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Sugar, brown

3

0

Salt

0

0-1/4th

Cinnamon

0

0-1/4th

Nutmeg

0

0-1/4th

Ginger

0

0-1/4th

Milk, dry

0

8

PROCEDURE: Place all above dry ingredients into mixing bowl and mix together.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Eggs, slightly beaten

1

12

PROCEDURE: Add slightly beaten eggs to above dry ingredients and mix in. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Water

4

0

PROCEDURE: Add water to above mixture and mix in 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Pumpkin

5

0

PROCEDURE: Add pumpkin to above mixture and mix thoroughly. Place unbaked pie shells in 350 degree to 400 degrees F. oven. Fill unbaked pie shells with pumpkin pie filling. Bake about 30 minutes or until filling has set. 

  • Filling pecan pies or pumpkin pies after the unbaked shells have been loaded into the oven.
  • Docking pie dough for pre-baked pie shell such as for chocolate cream pies, lemon chiffon pies, coconut cream pies, etc.
  • Trimming excess dough from pie dough that has been docked for pre-baked pie shell. Purpose of docking the dough is to prevent the crust from raising away from the pie plate and to prevent large bubbles from forming.

FOLLOWING IS A FORMULA FOR FRESH LEMON CHIFFON PIE.

NOTE: After the meringue has been folded into the hot fresh lemon filling, and the pre-baked pie shell filled, the pie can be finished off by crumbling some pre-baked pie crust into a sifter and forcing it through the sifter and sifted on top of the pie. The top of the pie can be garnished by placing a MARASCHINO CHERRY in the center of the pie. If desired, rather than adding pie crumbs on top of the pie, meringue can be applied and browned off in the oven.

LEMON CHIFFON PIE FILLING 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
WATER

15

0

PROCEDURE: Bring water to boil

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
CORNSTARCH

2

2

WATER

3

0

PROCEDURE: Suspend starch in water and add to boiling water stirring constantly and cook until mixture is thick and clear. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
SUGAR

9

0

SALT

0

0-3/4th

BUTTER

0

12

PROCEDURE: Add to cooked mixture and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved and the butter is melted. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
EGGYOLKS

3

0

PROCEDURE: Beat egg yolks slightly. Pour 1/4th of the cooked mixture over slightly beaten egg yolks and mix thoroughly with hand wire whip. Pour the egg mixture back into the steam kettle containing 3/4th of the cooked mixture stirring constantly and bring to a boil again. Cut off heat.WASH 30 LEMONS, and grate the rind from the lemons. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and add the grated rind to the juice. Add juice and rind to the cooked mixture. DO NOT HEAT AFTER JUICE HAS BEEN ADDED OR THE ACID IN THE JUICE WILL BREAK DOWN THE STARCH.

NOTE: THE MERINGUE FOR THE CHIFFON PIES ( BELOW ) SHOULD BE PREPARED AT THE SAME TIME THAT THE FILLING IS BEING COOKED. THE MERINGUE SHOULD BE FOLDED GENTLY INTO THE COOKED MIXTURE WHILE THE FILLING IS STILL HOT. POUR THE CHIFFON FILLING IN PRE-BAKED PIE SHELLS WHILE FILLING IS STILL HOT.

FORMULA AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING COOKED MERINGUE 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
WATER

1

8

PROCEDURE: BRING WATER TO BOIL 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Starch

0

3

Water

0

6

PROCEDURE: Suspend starch in water, add to boiling water and cook until thick and clear 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Sugar

2

10

PROCEDURE: Add sugar to cooked mixture and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Egg Whites

1

12

Salt

0

0-1/4th

PROCEDURE: Add salt to egg whites. Beat eggs in medium speed until a peak is formed on the finger when it is dipped into the whites and withdrawn. Pour hot cooked mixture over beaten eggs in slow stream while continuing beating until the mixture forms a peak when a finger is dipped into the beaten mixture and withdrawn. 

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Vanilla

0

0-1/4th

PROCEDURE: Add vanilla to meringue and stir in. Apply on top of Cream Pie or chiffon pie while meringue is still warm. Bake at 375 Degrees F. until golden brown.
NOTE: THIS MERINGUE WILL NOT BREAK DOWN AND BECOME WATERY. 

  • Filling pre-baked pie shell with cream or chiffon pie filling directly from the steam kettle.
  • Spreading meringue on top of cream pie or chiffon pie using spatula.
  • Three types of pies, pre-baked pie shell filled with Cream Filling or Chiffon Filling and topped with meringue, Double Crust Cherry Fruit Pie, and One Crust Custard Pie (Pumpkin Pie).

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 FRENCH PASTRY is a specialty pastry product that tests the ability of the pastry baker. On the other hand, cream puffs and Eclairs are delicious desserts which are not difficult to make if directions are followed carefully.

FRENCH PASTRYis made from a vert rich dough containing a large amount of butter or maragarine sometimes combined with a special puff pastry shortening. A cream puff is a round hollow shell made from a paste consisting of water, shortening, butter or maragarine, salt, flour and eggs. At the end of the recipes, step by step demonstrations will be given on producing these specialty pastries.

FRENCH PASTRY DOUGH RECIPE:

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Flour, Bread

4

0

salt

0

1

Puff Pastry Shortening

4

0

Water, Ice-cold

2

4

MIXING METHOD ONE: Add all the ingredients of the recipe except the (Puff Pastry Shortening) in the mixing bowl. Mix the dough until the gluten is fully developed using the Dough Hook. Place the mixed dough on work bench which has been dusted with flour. Shape the dough into an oblong shape about 12 inches wide and 20 inches long. Spot the Puff Paste Shortening on two thirds of the dough as is demonstrated in PART SEVEN – DEMONSTRATION DANISH PASTRY.

Fold and roll the dough just as you would a Danish Pastry Dough being careful not to break through the dough by using excessive pressure on the rolling pin. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes between rolls to Let the dough relax. Cover the rolled dough with a damp cloth to keep a crust from forming. Repeat the rolling process 3 times. After the final roll, and after the dough has been refrigerated for an additional 30 minutes or overnight, it is ready to be made up into a variety of French Pastries, some of which are demonstrated below.

MIXING METHOD TWO: Place the flour, the Puff Pastry Shortening and salt into the mixing bowl. Work the fat into the dough either by hand or with the mixing paddle just as you would for mixing a pie dough. Mix only long enough so that the flour is only partially covered with fat leaving lumps of fat about the size of marbles. Add water to the partially coated flour and mix only long enough to form a dough. ( Do not overmix ). Place dough on a flour coated work bench. Place the mixed dough on work bench which has been dusted with flour. Shape the dough into an oblong shape about 12 inches wide and 20 inches long and roll it into an oblong shape about 1/2 inch thick, being careful not to break through the dough by using excessive pressure on the rolling pin. Lap dough to form three folds. Let dough relax for about 30 minutes, covering it with a damp cloth to keep a crust from forming.

Repeat this step three or four times, brushing flour off dough each time, and being careful not to damage the dough with too much pressure on the rolling pin. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or overnigh. Make-up the various items such as Cream Horns and Patty Shells demonstrated below. Many other varieties such as Palm Leaves can also be made.

NOTE: Cream horns can be filled with a marshmallow type meringue or any type of filling desired. Patty shells can be filled with a Shrimp Newburg type filling, Chicken a-la King or any other type filling.

MAKING CREAM HORNS FROM FRENCH PASTRY

  • ROLL THE FINISHED FRENCH PASTRY DOUGH ABOUT 12 INCHES WIDE AND 1/8TH INCH THICK. CUT INTO STRIPS ABOUT ONE INCH WIDE. • WASH DOUGH STRIPS WITH LIGHT COATING OF WATER OR EGG WASH.
  • ROLL STRIP ONTO METAL OR PAPER CREAM HORNS STARTING AT SMALL END OF HORN. • COMPLETE ROLL BY OVERLAPPING STRIPS WHILE ROLLING ON CREAM HORN. MAKING PATTY SHELLS 
  • CUTTING THE DOUGH WHICH HAS BEEN ROLLED TO AN EVEN THICKNESS OF ABOUT 1/4TH TO 1/2 INCH THICK AND 15 INCHES WIDE WITH A SHARP CUTTER. 
  • USING SMALL SHARP CUTTER, MAKE SHELL BY CUTTING OUT CENTER TO FORM RING.
  • COMBINE CUT PORTIONS ( SCRAP DOUGH ) AND PRESS TOGETHER. ROLL THE SCRAP DOUGH ABOUT 1/8TH INCH THICK. DOCK ROLLED DOUGH FOR SHELL BOTTOM.
  • CUT DOCKED DOUGH WITH SAME CUTTER USED TO CUT RINGS.
  • AFTER TRIMMINGS ARE REMOVED, WASH THE DOCKED BOTTOMS A FEW AT A TIME WITH A LIGHT COATING OFWATER OR EGG WASH SO THE RINGS WILL STICK TO THE BOTTOMS.
  • PLACE RINGS ON BOTTOM PIECES TAKING CARE TO MATCH EDGES EVENLY

1. Baked cream horns
2. Baked patty shells

CREAM PUFF AND ECLAIR RECIPE:

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Water

5

4

Butter or Margarine

2

0

Combine water and fat together and bring to rolling boil making sure the fat has melted completely.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Flour, Bread

3

0

 

Add flour to boiling mixture stirring constantly until cooked into a thick paste. Remove from heat.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
eggs, whole

5

4

salt

0

1

Place cooked mixture into mixing bowl and mix a few turns with the mixing paddle to cool the mixture slightly. Add the salt to the eggs. Add eggs and salt mixture slowly while mixing and mix to a smooth batter.

NOTE: The amount of eggs varies so it may be necessary hold back on a small amount of eggs or the eggs may have to be increased slightly to obtain a smooth batter. Drop on lightly greased pans which have been dusted with flour. Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. to dry out the inside of the Puffs and Eclairs to keep them from falling. When Bread Flour is used in the recipe as is the case with this recipe, the top of the baked product will crack somewhat. If a smooth top and a more tender product is desired, then Cake Flour can be used.

CREAM FILLING FOR CREAM PUFFS AND ECLAIRS:

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
water

1

8

sugar

1

8

Bring water and sugar to a boil.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
water

1

8

sugar

1

8

Suspend starch in water and add to boiling mixture while stirring vigorously with hand whip. Cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Sugar granulated

0

12

salt

0

1/4th

milk, nonfat dry

0

6-1/2

Butter or margarine

0

4

Add sugar, salt,dry milk and butter or margarine to cooked mixture and stir until dry ingredients are dissolved and butter or margarine is melted.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Eggs

1

4

 

Beat the eggs slightly with a hand whip. Pour 1/4th of cooked mixture over eggs and stir vigorously. NOTE: Reason for pouring part of the egg over eggs is to prevent the eggs from coagulating too soon which would result in a lumpy mixture.

Ingredients Pounds Ounces
Vanilla

0

1/2

salt

0

1/4th

Add vanilla to cooked mixture and stir. At this point if a shiffon type cream is desired, a small amount of meringue can be folded into the cooked mixture while still hot. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

MAKING CREAM PUFFS AND ECLAIRS:

  • PANNING CREAM PUFF BATTER BY HAND
  • PANNING ECLAIR BATTER USING PASTRY BAG
  •  FILLING CREAM PUFFS AND ECLAIRS WITH MACHINE

 1. FILLED CREAM PUFFS TOPPED WITH CHOCOLATE ICING AND POWDERED SUGAR
2. FILLED ECLAIRS TOPPED WITH CHOCOLATE ICING AND POWDERED SUGAR

 This completes part eight on French Pastries and Cream Puffs-Eclairs. Thanks again to Willie Prejean for proving all the information on this blog.

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Baking and Baking Science

For this time around, we will include Part Six and Part Seven as a PDF document which you can view or download and save 

PART SIX – WILLIE PREJEAN DEMONSTRATING MAKE – UP OF PASTRIES

Download or view Part Six

PART SEVEN – WILLIE PREJEAN DEMONSTRATING MAKE – UP OF DANISH ROLLS AND COFFEE CAKE

Download or view Part Seven

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