Our Gift To Us.
Now that we are back to routine and are reminded that the glamour of pricey cocktails in Vegas is fleeting and the requirement of long hours at PJP Buttonwood is very real, it is time to face the reality that the next 10 weeks or so are going to be INSANE. Sadly, our sticker machine solution won't be delivered for the next four to six weeks, so we spent most of the day baking and waxing poetic about what a world with a fancy sticker machine is going to look like. (Hint: it is going to be AH-MAZ-ING.) (I'm going to sticker all the things.) (I'm not even joking right now.) But with the weather turing cooler, there is no denying that we are officially in pie season. This weekend, we have 1,500 tarts and 60 or so nine-inch pies on order for various weddings and events. I can tell we are getting better at what we do (or at least faster or smarter, but probably not both) because two years ago, we likely wouldn't have even been able to consider such a challenge. And for the most part now, we acknowledge that we will likely stay all night on Friday night and we sort of shrug our shoulders and just go with it. Holla to maturity.
One of the biggest wins from our weekend in Vegas was the opportunity to meet with the manufacturer of our pie press, Comtec. If you aren't familiar, a pie press is a machine that well, presses dough into pie tins. We purchased the machine before we opened and then we had a die cut specifically for our five-inch baby and our nine-inch pie tins. We know exactly how much dough is needed for each size and then each day, we weigh out dough into the tins and then send them through the press and then we flute each by hand. I am telling you now, it is nothing short of an industrialized nation miracle. If PJP Buttonwood caught on fire, I would leave my phone, purse, and the cash register and I would try to hoist several hundred pounds of pie press right on out our backdoor to a safe location. We really love it that much.
We've long believed that having a die cut for the tarts to be used in the pie press would be revolutionary to our game. We sent in some ideas to Comtec, but no one was certain that a die could be made that would allow our tarts to be formed in the way we currently make them. (We currently use the lids of the jelly jars as a makeshift springform pan, requiring all work to be done by hand and each lid individually washed by hand after use. If you asked our employees about their least favorite part of working at PJP, the unanimous answer would be "tart lid washing". I think.)
So when we saw the Comtec booth at IBIE, we basically planted ourselves in front of their sales team and pleaded our case for the tart die. AND IT WORKED. As it turned out, we just needed a little face-to-face conversation and some brainstorming to solve the problem from both perspectives. And now the die will be ready just as soon as it can be cut out of a massive hunk of metal to the exact specifications of the pan we chose (or something like that.) It will press the weighed dough into disposable baking pans, meaning we will be able to produce twice as much in the same amount of time. (With no lid washing, I might add.)
And when that super expensive very small piece of machinery is in transit, I'm going to plan a ticker tape parade to welcome it to PJP Buttonwood. At this point, I would consider housing it under glass and heavy security, except thankfully stealing a pie tart die cut especially for our machine isn't likely high on anyone's wish list. The sweet irony is that it should be here right around Thanksgiving, when we will be too busy making nine-inch pies to even care.
But what a Christmas present it will be for us in December...