Baking 30 Fruit Pies for a Wedding- advice?
Posted: 03 March 2010 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Fellow Bakers, I need your help.

I am trying to make a decision, and am stalled and thought I would be able to get some feedback from my baking brain trust.

My friends are getting married and would like to serve pie in lieu of wedding cake (love this! I love pie!) and approached me about baking the pies. However, they very much would like me to participate in an event the night before the wedding (it’s a weekend getaway wedding), and the venue is about 2.5 hours away from my kitchen. They want 25~ double-crust fruit pies (apple and peach, both in season) which according to the Pie and Pastry Bible keep 2 days room temperature.

I have thought about it and I think I have two options (if I want to bake the pies):
1. Bake the pies off in my kitchen with all my standard equipment, etc. early Saturday morning and drive them up, store them somewhere until serving Sunday night after dinner at the reception. My concern about thiss are (1) whether the flavor and texture of the pie will suffer, and (2) whether I will have time for the pies to cool enough to pack them in the car and make the drive, or whether I will have to start baking Friday. (I have access to a commercial kitchen with multiple ovens)
2. Bring frozen crusts and fruit fillings (or frozen whole pies) to the site, and use the oven onsite to bake the pies (available starting at 9am the day of the wedding, and I would have to leave 1:30pm). Concern: Fruit pies take a very long time to bake, there is only one oven that holds 2 pies at a time, and I think this is a dicey option.

I don’t want to bother serving pie unless it’s excellent. My friends love my baking (and support the small baking business I am starting), but it’s more important to them that I attend Saturday and Sunday and celebrate with them.  On the one hand, this would be an excellent project for me to get under my belt, as I have wanted to make pies for a wedding….on the other hand, if I can’t do it right, I would rather not do it.

They have a local source for pies and need to give that person an answer soon.

As some of you might remember, I had a very similar dilemna when it came to my own wedding cake, and I decided against making it myself, and was very happy I did.

Any thoughts?

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Posted: 03 March 2010 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I bake a lot of pies, especially from frozen. It is true that a baked pie will still be fine after two days. However, in my opinion, a pie is best within about 12 hours of baking, still good after 24 hours, and good, but not quite as good, at the 48-hour mark. I am hyper-critical about the quality of my own baked goods, far more so than I am about other people’s output. Most of the guests will probably love what you bake, and won’t think twice about how old the pie is.

If you opt to do the pies, it sounds as if you will have a lot of responsibility on your hands, with getting up early enough to bake, and then figuring out how to pack the car, and later store the pies until the wedding. In addition, you’ll have to worry about getting ready for the Saturday-night event. Not exactly a stress-free weekend. Do you really want all this responsibility? Or, would you rather have a more relaxing time by letting somebody else do the work, and you just have to show up as a guest?

I don’t know what to tell you. This is a personal decision. In my younger days, I would’ve taken a “do-or-die” attitude and pushed ahead with the pies. Now that I’m getting older (at the ripe old age of 43), I find I just don’t want too much hassle. A compromise solution might be to offer to give your friends a few mini-pies, for their personal enjoyment, after they get back from their honeymoon, and let the other place take care of the wedding-day pies.

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Posted: 04 March 2010 12:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Have to agree with both of Christine’s points. I don’t think you’re going to be able to enjoy this event at all with that much work.  That is a lot of pies to produce! I always think pies are the best the day of too—never quite as good the next day or the day after. Also, all of the scenarios you laid out sound a little risky time wise to me. I like the idea of making them their own pie though. That sounds manageable!

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Posted: 04 March 2010 01:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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One idea did come to me. Have you ever made pie crust cobblers? They’re just as good as pie IMO, but a lot easier to put together. Peach would be divine. Have never tried apple, but should be good, and blackberry would be wonderful. The great thing though, is that one 3 quart cobbler would be like making 3 pies, so you could make 8, and bake 2 at a time. Still a lot of work, but seems more realistic for your time frame.

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Posted: 04 March 2010 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I would make the pies well in advance and freeze them un baked…bake them onsite.  They will bake up just fine, will be fresh, and you can make them at your leisure.

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Posted: 04 March 2010 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Another thought- if the couple is flexible about the two-crust thing, you could bake open-face pies, perhaps with leaf cutouts or something like that to make the top pretty.  Then you would be able to blind bake and moisture-proof the crusts.  Perhaps try a test pie with cocoa butter for the moisture-proofing and see how long it stays crisp.  The leaf cut-outs could be baked separately, and could be moisture-proofed with cocoa butter (on the bottom), or they could be placed on the pies morning of the wedding.  Both peaches and apples would lend themselves to a flower-type presentation (like the P&PB; open-faced designer pie) that would be beautiful. 

I love the pie for a wedding idea, I would be so happy if i went to a wedding and there was a pie on my table!

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Posted: 04 March 2010 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Julie, your idea is a good one. For that matter, you could blind-bake the shells, fill them with pre-cooked filling hours before the wedding, and decorate the tops with the cut-outs, as you suggested.

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Posted: 04 March 2010 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thank you so much everyone. These are all great ideas. Christine I think you are right - it is a personal decision as to whether I want to do this. I know I can execute the project successfully if I choose to do it, and everyone’s suggestions (blind baking, test pies, freezing whole pies) would be helpful in fuguring out my game plan.

The real question is whether I want to have that responisbility on that weekend or just enjoy. I usually am “do or die” and just push through and do it unable to say no…

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Posted: 17 June 2010 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Curious—what did you decide to do?

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