Much of what we do at Michael’s Genuine is based on common sense. At the Miami restaurant, one example is how everyone from Wine Director Eric Larkee to the chefs in the kitchen utilize space. For Eric, it is the physical size and format of the wine book, within which can only rest a list divided onto the front side of two legal-sized sheets. For Executive Pastry Chef Hedy Goldsmith, it’s about finding ways to be creative and produce efficiently working within the spacial constraints of her station. Enter, “Pie in a Jar.”
“I wanted to put pie on our menu forever. We have tight quarters in our kitchen which kept me away from the idea,” Hedy explains. “The idea of utilizing the freshest fruits in season pushed me to make the pie idea work for MGFD. The canning jar became to perfect vehicle for keeping the pies contained, fresh and totally cute. We are now able to produce an unlimited variety of traditional and non-traditional pies in volume. The pies are able to reach our guests in the exact shape as they were intended. We are only limited to our imagination.”
Pastry Sous Chef Amy Kalinowski and pastry cook extraordinaire Tiffany Rawson are regulars at our back office on 39th street exercising their imaginations with some good old research from the Schwartzstacks. All the cooks are invited to come by and check out cookbooks whenever they want. It’s part of the creative process. When these studious ladies came in a couple days ago, I asked Amy to break down the best pie in a jar I have sampled to date — Local Strawberry and Lemon Curd with shards of buttery pie crust that almost tastes and looks like a more delicate Ritz cracker.
“‘Cause I rolled maldon salt into the pie crust,” Amy shares. “It’s our tart dough, just 6 cups of flour to 6 tablespoons of sugar for just enough sweetness. And really good butter. We switched about a month and a half ago to this butter called “fat butter.’ Yeah, it’s literally called that!”
There’s also a twist that packs more pucker into the lemon curd.
“We put a little citric acid in the curd to give it a little sourness and tartness,” Amy continues. “We also put it in the blender and whip it after it is cooked with butter.”
It’s an exceptional local season for strawberries. Here they are simply macerated with sugar, bringing out their natural sweetness and pectin. This simple process develops so much body you wouldn’t believe it’s a no-cook topping.
Maybe the next time you sample pie in the jar, you’ll think twice about how — and more importantly why — it got in there in the first place? It’s the perfect example of how making the best use of what we have, with a few special touches, can make something great.