by Chef Salvatore Hall, Baking and Pastry Instructor

A couple weeks ago I walked into our baking kitchen here at the school and saw some of the first term baking and pastry students waiting around for their breads to cool. It was the first day of bread production, and the students had not planned the cooling time into their production schedule. This reminded me of a time when I was working at bakery in SE Portland. Our bakery provided fresh baked desserts for a company that delivered meals. One day, we didn’t get the pies started early enough and we fell behind in production and came up against the delivery deadline with the pies still not cooled enough. We made the decision to send them out anyways. During the deliveries, the pies shifted a lot in the car. Because the proteins and starches in the crust hadn’t finished setting, and the filling was not set, most of the pies lost their tops and some also lost their filling. Needless to say, we learned from this mistake. The next week we made the dough a day ahead of delivery and the filling the day of delivery, but finished them in time so they could set up before they had to go out. The Lesson: it is good to plan for mise en place and set time aside for production, but in baking and patisserie you also need to think about the cooling of the product afterwards. A good baker, regardless of whether he or she is a professional or a recreational enthusiast, will plan backwards from the desired finish point to the beginning of the mise en place process to ensure that the end product is 100 percent ready when it should be.


Flaky Pie Dough
(1 covered 9-inch pie)

10 ounces Pastry flour
1/4 tsp. salt
8 ounces cold butter grated or cut in pieces
2 1/2 ounces ice water
1. By hand, gently mix the cold butter into the flour and salt.
2. Gently moisten the flour butter mixture with the ice water. (The dough will be somewhat crumbly and may need to be pressed together but don’t over work).
3. Wrap dough in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before use.

Apple Pie Filling
(9inch pie)

2 pounds green or yellow apples
½ lemon (juice from)
1 ounce butter
4 ounces sugar
1 ½ ounces cornstarch
3 ounces water
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1. Peel and core apples, cut into ½-inch pieces and sprinkle with lemon juice.
2. In a large pan sauté the apples in butter until warm, add sugar.
3. Mix together cornstarch and water and add to the apples, stir gently until cornstarch thickens and apples are tender, but still firm. Don’t over cook.
4. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Cool before use.
5. Roll top and bottom crusts.
6. Assemble pie, cut decorative vents in top crust.
7. Brush with eggwash, sprinkle with sugar.
8. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
9. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F to finish. Top crust should be golden brown with filling bubbling slightly.