I learned to bake in my late 40’s. I discovered a creative area that was probably lingering inside since childhood. I would spend a week at my paternal grandmother’s house for a week and would watch intently how she would measure and handle ingredients and tools. Gram would always plan to bake plenty of cookies and pastries and was kind enough (and patient) to let me get my hands into the process.
When I first started baking for real, I was intimidated by the process not sure I could learn or handle yet another activity at work (already was operating 5 others). Yet after a couple times reading recipes, I found the process fit my personality well. Being a mindful student growing up, I follow directions well and worked till I had the best possible answer. Baking required measurements, following sequential steps and there is an end result to test out at the completion of the process.
My prediciment was that I had to bake for OTHER people and they would have to be inspired to buy my baking. Nearly everyone likes to eat sweets, but that doesn’t mean they’ll pay for them. Well, within a short time, I had perfected one item after another that customers were buying, enjoying — waiting till the next batch was available — then requesting items. It was an honor for me to make pans of apple crisp, oatmeal, quiche, brownies, cookies, cinnamon rolls. I even perfected a pretzel that was touted as the best around — quite a praise coming from a people who had an abundance of soft pretzels at their fingertips everywhere in my state of PA. My baked items became comfort food for many that entered the door of my coffeehouse. My young employees were assigned items to make — and did so with pride.
I determined early on that recipes were only part of the process to create a great dessert. Other factors were the tools, pan, ingredients, temperature — even the time alloted to complete the desert during a shift of work. What I started to do early on, is recreate the recipes that I researched, altered them to be unique for my establishment AND typed detailed instructions for completing the process.
The recipe shown above is a typical copy of vintage recipe. It goes on a “recipe card” size card. There’s not much there to work with for instructions. There is allot of assumed training and skill for how to actually make the pie. I decided to make more detailed instructions, both to be sure I was consistent when baking and to be certain my employees had enough information to bake the item assigned to them properly.
Here’s an example of one of my more detailed recipes. You are welcome to test it out and alter anything you’d like.
CONEWAGO CHERRY CRUMBLE
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Crisco
- 1 1/2 can cherry pie filling
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt in large bowl
3. Cut in Crisco with spatula until a dry, crumbly dough forms
4. Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of pan, making a firm even layer
5. Bake bottom crumb layer for 5 minutes
6. Carefully spread cherry pie filling in the crust without disturbing it
7. Gently spread remaining crumb mixture on top of cherry filling with spatula
8. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until top is lightly browned
9. Let cool and cut into 12 pieces
10. Heat lightly and offer with whipped cream if desired