Hi all! We’ve recently had a surge in requests for our recipes. We don’t give out our recipes willy nilly (we’ve gotta save SOMETHING for our Once-and-Future-Cookbook!) but we DO occasionally publish recipes in various places online and in print. So over the next few weeks we’ll link back to recipes of the past so you’ll have a chance to check them out if you haven’t before! First up – for those of you who didn’t see it, we published this article in Serious Eats last fall on making adorable mini pies! Follow along and you can be the hero of your office this Friday (which is, incidentally, Pi Day). If you get lazy or give up in despair, feel free to just buy one from us (Look to your right. YOUR RIGHT! There you go.) See the full article here.
We’re bringing back pie classes earlier than usual this year due to increased demand (you’re welcome!) Yet again, were offering our ever-popular three class series – fruit pies, cream pies, and custard/nut pies beginning in late February. Sign up on Good Eggs for one, two, or all-three of our classes and you could be rolling out crust like a pro in time for Pi Day this year. (YOU’LL SHOW YOUR CUBE-MATE WHO IS BOSS BECAUSE YOU’RE A CHAMP LIKE THAT! YEAH!) Not that you’d gloat or anything.
November is somehow here, and holiday pie season is kicking into full gear! We’ve been selling at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market each Saturday, which has been a lot of fun. Last week, we had the great honor of being named to Food&Wine Magazine’s list of America’s Best Apple Pies. Many of you have written in or come up to us at the farmer’s market to ask about apple selection, so we thought we’d talk a little bit on apples. One question we get a lot is what the “best” apple for baking pies is. Honestly, there’s no right answer – the “best” apple for pies is the one that is in season and delicious when you are making your pie! (Generally speaking, tart is better than sweet for apple pies. We never use Much of the year we use Pink Lady apples, but we also love Mutsus, Jonathans, Granny Smiths, Pippins, Pink Pearls, Gravensteins and Rome Beauty Apples (all apples with shorter seasons), and will often use a mixture of two or more of these varieties for our apple pies. We recommend talking to your farmer about what is best and in season right now. It is very important to buy organic apples, as the average conventionally grown apple has more pesticide residue on it than any other fruit or vegetable. Here in the Bay Area, we are lucky to have access to exceptional fruit almost all year round, and our favorite apple farms right now are Devoto, Hidden Star, and Nana Mae’s. This week, we also got an infusion of back yard/foraged Gravenstein apples from our friend Dana Frasz, who is the creator of Oakland-based FoodShift. We admire Dana for her boundless energy and her commitment to building a more sustainable food system. She agreed to write a guest post for our blog, which is included below. Thanks Dana!
Imagine going to the grocery store and buying 10 bags full of food. Now imagine throwing four of those bags in the trash. Seems crazy, right? But on a much larger scale, this is what’s happening every day in homes, businesses, and institutions throughout the United States. Forty percent of the food produced in the US is wasted every year all while 50 million Americans don’t have enough to eat. Food Shift is developing financially sustainable food recovery models that generate revenue so vulnerable populations can be trained and employed in the process of reducing food waste and hunger. 35 years ago there were 400 food assistance organizations; now there are more than 40,000. Yet hunger and food waste are more heightened than ever before. Meanwhile, in Oakland unemployment rates are close to 20%. Given the increasing realities of climate change, the high cost of wasting food and the realities of hunger and poverty, it is critical that we create jobs and use food for it’s highest and best use: feeding people.
Food Shift is focusing on creating green jobs in the recovery and redistribution of surplus food as an extension of our current waste management system and as a way to provide opportunity in the process of tackling food system inefficiency. We work with schools, businesses and governments and we’re currently looking to partner with restaurants in the Bay Area who are interested in piloting a program to give the option of smaller portion sizes to customers. Contact us if you know of any restaurants that might be interested in working with us to reduce waste, feed the hungry, and engage their customers in a way that benefits community and the environment. We all have a role to play! Go to www.foodshift.net to learn how you can reduce your waste and be part of the solution!
-Dana Frasz, Founder and Director of Food Shift
We’re pumped about CUESA’s pie-making contest tomorrow. (Side note: WHAT IS WITH PEOPLE AND COMPETITIONS? You should hear some of the the smack our farmers have been talking!) The prizes are pretty awesome: Gifts from HEATH Ceramics, Sur La Table, KNEAD Patisserie, Good Eggs, Nana Joe’s Granola, YOLO Farmstand, Emmy’s Pickles, Bluestem Brasserie, Book Passage, and Kika’s Treats, just to name a few. Plus, all of the non-winners (runners-up? “also-ran” pie makers ? we don’t know what to call you people, but whatever it is, it isn’t “losers.” You’re all winners and we love you!) are entered in a consolation drawing for a free pie-making class with us. (Yeah…who’s a loser NOW?) Come submit pies from 8am-10:30 am. We’ll be on hand at the CUESA kitchen to answer all of your pie-making questions before judging begins! We’ll also have a little stand at the front where you can buy slices, whole pies, and even pre-order for Thanksgiving! We hope to see you there!
Thanks to all of you who have been over to the Presidio to see us on Sundays! It’s been a lot of fun, and we have the pleasure of manning a booth surrounded by lots of our friends and fellow food-makers – Dandelion Chocolate, Humphry Slocombe, Ritual Coffee, Namu Gaji, and so many more! We even borrowed this awesome spinning carnival wheel and fun times rocking horse from our friends at Paul’s Hatworks! (And man, has the wheel been a successful marketing tool – people just love to spin that thing).
Possible prizes include: high fives all around, life advice, matchmaking services, a ride on the rocking horse (ALERT – this is especially fun), free use of our giant bowling set, and even a free slice of pie! Crazy, we know!!!
We’re only there a few more weeks so if you haven’t made it over yet, hurry the heck up already – we have unsolicited advice a’plenty, saved up just for you!
Yeah, Lenore can’t do it – at least not in sport-specific categories – and that’s why it would be SO HILARIOUS if Three Babes were to win this contest and get our own Superbowl Commercial.
Lenore: “You guys – we could TOTALLY have the commercial be us looking for the new 3rd Babe. We could get a bunch of professional athletes on the commercial cutting up fruit, making crust, arm wrestling with us….”
Anna: “Oh yeah? Like who were you thinking?”
Lenore: “Like… Ok, Jerry Rice is retired, right? OOH, Tim Tebow! He still plays football, no?”
Anna: “Seriously Lenore?”
Lenore: “Ok, TOM BRADY! He definitely plays still! Is Michael Vick out of jail?”
Obviously, we need all the help we can get, so please put it on your calendar and vote every day in August!
Can we just say how much we love everybody over at CUESA? We had an AWESOME time a few weeks ago showing people how to make cherry pies, AND a great time the week before that hosting the mimosa bar at CUESA’s 20th Birthday party. Party hats for all!
Most people who work in food in the Bay Area already know about CUESA, but for those who don’t, it’s the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture and is an organization dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system. They’re the folks responsible for the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and for the education programs that go on there, including programs for adults (like our pie making demo) and for children (such as Foodwise Kids, which brings in elementary students from the community to shop for and prepare fresh food.)
Our friend Elianna Friedman is the market chef at CUESA and is a passionate food educator and community activist. For any of you out there who want to get involved in food justice or just learn more about the food system, CUESA is a great organization with which to volunteer. To learn more, visit CUESA’s website or, in a much more delicious move, go to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market any Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday and pick up some delicious produce straight from a real, live farmer! And if you’re there on a Saturday, please pick us up some chilaquiles from Primavera in the back. They’re the best. Sometimes superlatives are just called for, you know?
Cherries are so good it makes me want to jump! Memories of driving out to the packing sheds with my father and of climbing our cherry tree to read my book are many of my earliest and most vivid from childhood. Years ago when I lived in Manhattan, my dad would pick the cherries off the tree in our yard and mail them to me at my giant office building on Park Avenue. Everyone on my floor was amazed by how good they were. I kind of can’t believe that I even shared them.
This week for our partnership with Dandelion Chocolate we are very excited to go beyond pies and make some our other favorite items from childhood. Anna’s whipped up a cherry cacao nib crumble with Bing cherries from Hidden Star Orchards that will knock your socks off! Also, chocolate lemon bars. I’m trying to curb swear words in the professional setting, so I’m done now.
To purchase: Dandelion Chocolate, 740 Valencia, Wed May 22nd – Sun May 26th (10a-8p)
It is no secret that we LOVE US SOME CHOCOLATE over here at Three Babes HQ (that would be our apartment), which, by the way, is now LACKING A DOORMAT after someone STOLE IT THIS MORNING!!! Who steals a doormat? WHO???
Actually, this is made even funnier by the fact that it was an owl doormat AND IT WAS STOLEN IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. Barbarians!
Moving on. We are the guest chefs at Dandelion Chocolate this week! We are longtime admirers of Todd, Cameron, Alice and the whole team at Dandelion. They are rad and so is their chocolate.
Obviously, we were thrilled to bits when Todd asked if we wanted to partner up this week. We are SO are excited to get a chance to see everybody and screw around in the kitchen with the delicious fruit that is now coming into season, because (guess what?) chocolate goes with almost everything. We’ll be at Dandelion this Wednesday through Sunday, 10am-8pm with a variety of pie and non-pie treats!
For those of you who want to know the secrets of pie, we are also teaching a chocolate cream pie making class this Wednesday at 8pm. There are only 12 tickets available so we are sold out, please email us to be added to the waiting list. And while we are on the subject of selling out, let it be known that we are not above doormat bribery.
Hey Pie Fans,
It’s been a while. We miss you (most of you, anyway…). If you get our newsletter and all that jazz you likely already know that it’s been a tough year for us, starting with the unexpected death of my father one year ago and continuing with ‘lil Babe Olivia and I moving my mom to the Mission and then caring for her as her cancer progressed and, eventually, as she died. Other highlights: our childhood home was foreclosed on in Stockton, and a young man died in my arms after being shot in the Mission early one morning on Valencia Street. I realize this isn’t material of the usual feel-good variety, but what can I say? This is life, and here we are. For those of you who can’t take the real talk, here’s a picture of a strawberry banana cream pie. You’re welcome. Also, you should maybe stop reading now.
Many of you know that I’m a cancer survivor myself, and that our business decisions (and even our decision to get into business in the first place) have been motivated by a visceral and fundamental understanding of the connection between our choices and our environment, our choices and our economy, our choices and our community. There is so much that is beyond our control, but I have always drawn tremendous comfort in relishing the choices and opportunities that I can control. I also feel so blessed to have been able to find grace in my role as a daughter, a caretaker, a friend and a citizen.
I also want to thank all of you for your kindness and your understanding. Anna and I feel so blessed to be part of a community that supports us, that listens, and that cares about the same things we do. Our parents (mine and Anna’s) worked so tirelessly to show us the importance of civic engagement and it is our privilege to continue their work, but we couldn’t do it without a community of like-minded customers, friends and peers.
So much has happened since we launched Three Babes two years ago. Often, the business has completely ruled our lives. But even after all of the all nighters, the crazy pie-mergencies, and the stress of running our own enterprise, I feel so grateful to have this business. What a joy to work with my best friend, doing something we did for fun as kids. Anna and I look forward to seeing more of all of you in the coming year. Thanks so much for your patience and your continued support.
Rachel again, in the second installment of who-knows-how-many-posts-I-will-do on pie making classes. Really, I could kind of go on forever – these classes are friggin’ fun. Last time we went over some tips on crust. This time, let’s get into the filling, shall we?
After you roll out your pie crust and put it into the fridge to chill, you can go ahead and prep your fruit. Anna and Lenore use a “peeler/corer/slicer” that does all of the things you think it would (except they leave the skins on for flavor/color/nutritional purposes. Yet another reason to use organic produce!)
In a fun fact, the apples they use are actually from The Babes’ hometown, at Smit Ranch in Clements (right down the way from Babe Anna’s family’s ranch). Adorable, right? Well wait, it get’s better, because these very apples can be purchased right here in San Francisco at the Ferry Building and Noe Valley Farmers markets at the Hidden Star Orchards stall. Sweetness, am I right?
Some more tips on making a delicious fruit pie:
-Use seasonal fruit. It tastes better, it’s better for the environment, and it’s easier on your wallet.
-Get to know your farmers. Ask them what’s best this week. If you call in advance and as for “seconds” (often, fruit that is slightly blemished but otherwise perfectly acceptable) you can get a deal!
-Buy organic or spray-free fruit. Ask questions about how your produce is being grown. Babes Anna and Lenore are strong advocates for community involvement. It’s up to each of us to “vote with our dollars” and contribute to a more sustainable economy.
-Pie making is both an art and a science. Depending on the sweetness and juiciness of your fruit, you’ll want to modify the amount of lemon juice, sugar and thickener you use.
-For apple pie: pre-cook your filling to prevent a shrinky, underdone filling and a brittle, overdone crust.
We got even more tips than that, but I can’t remember everything. It may have been the wine! Anywho, I DO remember that at the end, The Babes sent us home with a circle of dough, a one of a kind recipe, a belly full of charcuterie and cheeses, and a few new friends. Check out the class album on Facebook!
Sadly, their currently scheduled workshops at Salumeria are full, but the Babes offer in-home classes, host volunteer days in their kitchen, and have more classes in the works, like a cookie-baking class at 18 Reasons on December 16th.
Today we have a guest post from Babe-In-Training Rachel, who proved indispensable at last month’s pie-making series at Flour+Water. Our apologies yet again to those who didn’t get a chance to sign up. Yes, we know it sold out the first day. Yes, we will be offering more classes. And Yes, if you email us you can get on the super-secret first-chance-to-order list. Ok, so without further adieu, Ms. Rachel:
Rachel here, guest blogging for my favorite pie-makers, with a free look into what may have been the best pie class in the history of pie classes. I know this claim is true, friend. I was there!
Twelve budding bakers, two babes, Liz and Sarah from Salumeria and me.
There was wine. Cheese. Cured Meats. (Cure meats being a standalone good time even when not combined with the wines and the cheeses). Throw in a lesson from two sassy babes and you have yourself a recipe for an epic Thursday night.
The class began with a lesson in rolling out the crust, and I have to admit that when the first task was announced I basically couldn’t NOT make a reference aloud to the Ludacris song that pops into my head. Yeah. I went there.
Then The Babes got real with the tips. For the many poor souls who didn’t make it out to the class, here’s a sampling:
-Use a French rolling pin (thicker in the middle, tapered at the ends) for a uniformly circular crust every time
-Keep your dough very cold
– Make sure your disk of dough is always sufficiently (but not over-sufficiently) floured. It should never feel sticky when you run your hands over it.
– Roll out (yet again, with the Ludacris) with speed and confidence, rotating your dough regularly.
-Be sure to chill your roll out for at least 30 minutes before fluting and freezing for a single-crust pie or filling and fluting for a double-crust pie
– Use unsalted butter. As Anna always says, “Salted butter? – only for toast!” As Lenore always says “control your salt level.” (And let me tell you, if there is anything I like more than toast, it’s control).