Ann uses family and friends to evaluate her pies. She uses pie cutters to achieve accurate pastry size for tins.
Food processing and testing in a local environment
Ann Davis: I have a recipe that I’ve made up myself, but I think everytime I make a batch they’re probably always slightly different. I have the recipe that I’ve made up and I have it written down, but I don’t actually follow it word for word. So if I’m making a beef, guinness, and mushroom pie obviously I’ll buy the mushrooms in bulk from a supermarket in town (because that is the cheapest way of buying). You can buy the value bags, or you can actually go to the grocery department at the supermarkets and they will sometimes have seconds, which is still fine, because it’s the flavour of the mushroom that you’re wanting to use, but they will sell them to someone like me for quite a bit less. So that is one way of keeping your costs down.
It’s good to have family testing, but you get someone from outside and they will say “Oh yeah, that’s just beautiful,” or “Oh, I don’t know about that, that’s got too much of something in it or not enough of something,” and that’s how I do my testing.
These are the family size pie dishes that I’m using now, these are the single size pie dishes I’m using now, which are a lot smaller than the ones I started with. But that’s because these are the foil plates that I can purchase.
When I come in in the morning and I know I’m going to be making pies I turn the oven on. So, we get the pastry which is on a roll, I use my cutters, which I’ve had made at Gisborne engineering, and it’s best to work with cold pastry, so always take your pastry out of the fridge and you roll it out, you cut it, line the pie tins.
I usually make my pie fillings the day before, so that they are refrigerated overnight, so it’s really, really cold. You put the tops on and then they’re into the oven, with an egg wash over the top, and that just gives the pie a lovely golden colour. You really need to work quite quickly, you can’t sort of just muck around or go off and have a cup of tea half way through. Once you’re making pies, you have to just keep on until you are done.
So the different kinds of pies, I put a different picture on the top and I have a lot of little cookie cutters. If it’s a chicken and leek, I have a chicken and I just pop that on the top and glaze it over. So I put the pies in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, when I check them they are usually lovely golden brown on top. The filling is already cooked, so all we’re doing is cooking the pastry, basically, and the pie inside is usually after 20 minutes, it is heated right through. So from the oven after 20 minutes I take it out. I put it onto a cooling rack, and then within the hour, less than an hour usually, I put them into the fridge and they are cooled overnight. The next day I wrap them, I label them, and I put them into the freezer. I always sell frozen pies and that is the best way for me to do this from here.