So I think this qualifies as the yummiest tweet-up I've attended so far. I was delighted to be invited to Maple Leaf Foods ThinkFood! Centre in Mississauga recently for the Tenderflake #YearofthePie event. Chef John Placko and his team led us through a demo and taught us how to make pocket pies, "the little black dress of pies," as they call them.
Clockwise from top left: @JohnPlacko & @JamesClarkeCA welcome us; demos of filling & crimping the pies; @MomstownChristy prepping a sweet pie; @SharonDV prepping savoury heart pies; an introduction to the full Tenderflake line of products
The concept here is really quite simple - hand-held, individual serving pies, made with prepared Tenderflake pie crusts. You can put pretty much anything in them, so long as it doesn't have too much liquid (blueberries might be a problem). And you use cookie cutters to make the shapes, so you can design your own little pies to match the occasion. I love to bake, and I particularly like doing pies as they are pretty straightforward if you don't try to make the pastry yourself. (For the record, I can make pastry. Nice, light, flaky pastry. But why would I? It's a pain to make it right, so I've used Tenderflake for years. Huge time and aggravation saver, and it tastes great.)
After the introduction and presentation, we were invited to don an apron and move on to one of the three stations they set up for us - savoury pies, sweet pies, and decorating. I was a little surprised at the level of trepidation from many in the room, but everyone did a super job once they dove in.
Step 1: Lay out the defrosted pie crust and cut shapes with cookie cutters:
Step 5: Cover up any holes you made when you added too many chocolate chips. Use bits of the leftover pastry edges to decorate & make it look like you meant it that way ...
It really is quite simple once you try. There's no need to be afraid of pies.
These would make super appetizers or individual desserts for a dinner party. The savoury ones could also be a nice alternative to a sandwich in your kid's lunch. And this would be a very fun and inventive baking activity to do with young kids. I'm planning to try these with Little Boo soon. You never know - you might convince a picky eater to try something new if you let him wrap it in pastry first!
You can find lots of recipes, for pocket pies and more, on the Tenderflake website. We made the Springtime Ham, Broccoli and Cheese & the Chocolate Chip and Banana pocket pies. Both were delicious!