Writing on Pies

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by zekeman, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. zekeman

    zekeman

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    I make a variety of double crusted (top and bottom) savory pies. For ages I used various spices on the top of the pies to indicate what they were, but that system is starting to not work and I'm looking for another solution. I'm familiar with Pierolglyphics from Aus / NZ where hole patterns are cut, but would prefer to not use it.

    For a while, there was a pie company in NY called Pie Face - they drew cute little faces on their pies to mark their flavors with a piping bag. While I don't want to use faces, I would like to find a way to write / draw on the pies. Does anyone know what they used or know of something that would work? I've heard they use Blackjack Caramel color, but i can't find a source for it in bulk and wonder if it's a Aus/NZ thing only.

    Baring that, I'm open to suggestions. Pies bake around 400F for 20 minutes.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    I use different crimping and vent cuts to distinguish differences.
     
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  3. Transglutaminase

    Transglutaminase

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    I use "PI" cutters ..3D printed ... pie crust cutters. ;-) ..but that's OTT. ;-)
    Thingiverse has too many cookie /pie cutters
    Perhaps make or buy paper stencils (lots of paper/ plastic stencil cutters out there)
    Place it on top & dust whatever colored powder/cocoa through a fine sieve - over the top
    {edit} or perhaps just unique cut patterns in parchment..unique to the pies & dust a spice over top?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  4. dectra

    dectra

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    An alternative could be roll out the dough in patterns, cut out with a cookie cutter and use as the top layer of crust like this for a cherry pie
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hi zekeman,

    Here is a "recipe"to make your own Caramel coloring.

    3 parts shredded carrot to 1 part sugar.

    Put sugar into dry pan, apply medium high heat until most of the sugar liquifies, reduce heat, keep a close watch at this stage and continue until caramel is very dark/almost burned/starts to foam. Use your nose for the aroma!

    Dump in carrots to arrest caramelization and add 1/4 the carrot volume of water and small amount of salt. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, 20-30 minutes, strain, and you have your homemade caramel extract/ Blackjack/Kitchen Bouquet.

    After adding water and carrots you could absolutely add some savory herbs to make your own unique flavored "pie paint"! (I add Thyme, Bay leaf and Rosemary to mine.)

    Easier to demonstrate than describe!

    If you have never caramelized sugar, maybe just find a way to buy a similar product to apply to your pies. Hot caramel demands respect as it can stick and cause significant burns if a person is careless!

    If you have any questions about this, I can go into greater detail.

    Good luck!
     
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  6. zekeman

    zekeman

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    Chef, thank you! Will certainly try this out. We've looked at vent holes, pieces of dough, crimps and "pie cutters", but most of these options break as you scale or aren't very pretty. The pies aren't big - 4.5" in diameter, and we make a lot in one go. The labor to keep on top of this is too large. You can check out our instagram page for pics of pies (https://www.instagram.com/bettybakery/). When I was only making 6 versions it was easy, but now that we're pushing out more varieties we need something more sustainable.

    Pie Face uses Blackjack Caramel in Australia, but finding a similar product in the states is not going well. Everything I find described as "Blackjack Caramel" is just food coloring with no body, so piping it won't work. There's a company called Davis foods that makes something that would work (https://davis.nz/caramels-syrups-colouring-flavourings/caramel-colour-blackjack), but so far I can only find it in NZ and shipping it in small volumes is just not cost effective

    Your recipe for blackjack may be what works and can be scaled easily. What did you use this for? Any idea what the shelf life would be?

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  7. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hi zekeman,

    I used it for the flavor and as a colorant in any product I wanted to have a deep brown color and could handle the darker flavors.

    I've never come close to questioning the food safety aspect of this product. Maybe a couple of months? Sorry I can't provide better data!

    This is also a thin liquid, not thick enough to pipe. Letters, shapes, your regional glyphs, etc. You could use any object deep enough to give clear definition, like a shot glass dipped in the dark, flavorful liquid, pressed on the top crust, and make a series of intersecting circles, or a V shaped piece of plastic, cookies cutters, or anything you can sanitize would work. Whatever you come up with should be durable. Essentially you are making a stamp. Keep track, and post a chart with what design goes with which pie, so all can do the task efficiently. Dip, stamp, dip, stamp, dip, stamp... Production work.

    You could also just thin out some Marmite... Maybe...

    You could still do your spices in conjunction with a stamp as the spices would stick to the wet imprint.

    I've used this technique with Cocoa Powder for desserts.

    Still a lot for you to sort out!

    Good Luck!
     
  8. jcakes

    jcakes

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    Do you need it to be bakeproof or can you apply this after baking? I'm thinking you can add this coloring to piping gel which will give it the body you need to be able to pipe it. I don't think piping gel is bake-proof though, which is why I'm asking. If you need something bake-proof maybe start looking at neutral glazes that come in powder form that you reconsititute and cook to add this coloring to, or a neutral bakeproof jam if there is a flavor that doesn't interfere with the pie flavor (apricot?)
     
  9. jcakes

    jcakes

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    ps; this company located here in the Boston area might be able to point you in the right direction of a similar product. They sell to food manufacturers so quantities are probably huge but it's worth a call
    http://www.rohtstein.com/
     
  10. azenjoys

    azenjoys

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    Several ideas, all untested:

    1. Paint a symbol/shape using a glaze that will brown more quickly than your overall glaze. So, if you're using egg wash, paint with a yolk wash. To me, using a brush dipped in glaze seems as quick/easy as piping, but maybe I'm missing something?

    2. Load @sgmchef 's thin liquid caramel coloring (or commercial coloring) into a soft-tipped refillable watercolor marker (like these: ). I have used these to write with alcohol+food coloring on white molding chocolate and fondant. I don't have a good sense of how quickly one of those markers would be depleted, so not sure if this is realistic for scaling.

    3. Use an aspic cutter to press a small shape into the dough. Size would be right for your pies, they come in a wide variety of shapes, and should be super durable if you get them from Ateco.
     
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  11. jcakes

    jcakes

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    Those water brushes are great! We use them in our bakery (for attaching decorations on fondant, with water); you have to be very very careful to clean them well to prevent mold growth.
     
  12. panini

    panini

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    For the past 22 yrs. we revert back to pastillage for anything like this. Plaques, ribbons, colors, shapes, etc.
    I'm an ole fart but still revert to the versatility, cost effective dough for all out of the box needs.
    Classical doesn't mean ancient or only found on scrolls.:)