I did my practicum at Freson Bros. (formerly IGA) in Peace River, AB. On my first day, my supervisor had me take nearly expired pies and turn them into “pie cakes.” I deposited a premade pudding cake batter into the liners, piped a ring of Bavarin Kreme on top, chopped up a pie and divided it between the cakes, and then sprinkled streusel on top. After baking, staff piped on the icing and packaged them. They had larger pie cakes that sold individually for around $5.00 and smaller packages of two that sold for $2.69. They came in a variety of flavors; apple, blueberry, cherry, pumpkin, and strawberry-rhubarb. For the sake of this blog and you, the readers, I felt that I needed to try them. I bought a package of two blueberry pie cakes. This time the dog didn’t eat my homework, I did!
I’ve never really liked pie but these weren’t that bad. The cake was moist, the fruit cuts down on some of the sweetness, and the streusel and pie crust adds a textural element to the dessert. However, I found that the cake had an artificial after taste and I think I would have preferred the cherry or strawberry-rhubarb pie cakes. Also, I wished they would have packaged them in a variety pack. All in all, I thought the pie cakes tasted good, were a bargain and were well portioned. Not too bad for repurposing nearly expired pies.
What other food products, in the bakery, can be “recycled” this way to minimize waste and increase profits? Everything can’t or should be recycled this way in a business due to quality and sanitation concerns, but it should be given consideration. The pies were two to three days away from their expiration dates before they had me turn them into pie cakes. After I made them, they had five extra days before they were finally thrown out. Brainstorming other ideas of recycled products, what about breadcrumbs. Bread that hasn’t sold is sliced and given new life as crumbs. Another possibility is using cake scraps to make cake pops or trifle cups. What about pate ferment or apple fritters? Instead of throwing out dough, a new use is found for it.
Bakeries can sell these recycled products or give them away for free to entice new customers. Bakers can easily minimize wasted product. This industry is tough enough. With a little imagination, products can be given new life. These recycled products can be enjoyed by the customers and earn the bakery a little extra profit. Reduced, reused and resold!