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Ministry of Education.
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Year 12 student outcome: A pie for Sweeney Todd

This resource gives an example of a stellar student outcome and describes key aspects of the project and assessment opportunities.

Chad's outcome | The brief | Functional modelling | Stakeholder feedback | Assessment opportunities

Chad's outcome

Westlake Boys' High School and Westlake Girls' High School needed pies for their school production of Sweeney Todd. Year 12 student Chad Ockerse made pies with a steam punk influence – gory enough to shock the audience and tasty enough to please the cast.

Select the image to view at full size.

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The brief – Mrs Lovett's pies

The process of making the pie

In the play, Sweeney Todd lives above Mrs Lovett's pie shop and makes pies from the remains of Sweeney Todd's murder victims. Sweeney Todd is set in Victorian times and the play has a steampunk influence.

The pie needed to:

  • reflect the steam punk influence in either the design or cooking methods and ingredients
  • be immediately recognised by the audience as a pie 
  • cost under five dollars to produce
  • be vegetarian or sweet to cover all student dietary requirements
  • be able to be eaten in two bites (because the actors did not want to spend to much time eating the pie)
  • be served cold, as mess free as possible, and easily eaten with fingers

Due to limited fridge storage, the pies had to be made in batches over five days and within class time each day.

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Functional modelling

The pie top, a cog design, was chosen as it fitted the steampunk influence. The cog design was initially tested using pastry. However, the shape of the pastry cog was altered by the cooking process and did not look quite as effective. The final design was a chocolate cog. It was easier to control the shape using this technique and ingredient.

The chocolate cog

First cog attempt

To make the chocolate cog Chad learnt how to use a 3D printer. He designed and printed a plastic cog that he then used to make a reverse copy mould of the cog. Food grade silicone was used to make the mould. The chocolate was tempered to ensure a smooth and glossy cog. The first cog was a little thick and difficult to bite through. Chad made the cog thinner by not filling the cog mould with so much chocolate.

The pastry base

A variety of pastry types were trialled for the base including homemade and store-bought. Sweet short store bought pastry baked blind proved to produce the best results in terms of flavour and appearance.

The pie filling

Pie filling

Chad decided that if the pie filling had the appearance of blood, it could add a dramatic effect to the pie eating during the play. In the script the pies are described as being made made from the human remains of Sweeney Todd’s victims.

The initial trials for the filling included apple and chocolate and red berries. But this filling was not palatable to the cast.

During his research, Chad had read about reverse spherification – a technique that chefs use to turn liquids into stable edible spheres with a gel membrane that pops in the mouth.

Sphere filling

Mrs Sehji, Chad’s Food technology teacher, had an Alginate caviar kit from Massey University Food technology information(MUFTi) which provided the ingredients available for him to achieve this technique. After several trials, he achieved the perfect spheres that were palatable. The sphere filling was a strawberry sauce.

A white chocolate mousse with the strawberry sauce spheres provided a stable filling for the pie.

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Stake holder feedback on the final outcome

Feedback chart

Chad sought feedback during the development of the prototype. He created a sensory star diagram to map the final feedback from stakeholders and to check that the completed prototype met the key sensory attribute specifications.

The pie scored high on edibility, presentation and flavour. Other feedback comments included, "The pies were darn good. I liked how the sperificated strawberry popped in your mouth but the pastry was a bit soft, I liked how the strawberry contrasted with the mousse and I really like the cog on top."

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Assessment opportunities

Level 3: Generic technology
AS 91357 2.4 Undertake effective development to make and trial a prototype
AS 91354 2.1 Undertake brief development to address an issue
AS 91351 2.6 Implement advanced procedures to process a specified product

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