If you’ve ever stopped by PJP Buttonwood and just watched us working, you might have noticed that we bake completely from memory. Neither Jeanne or I routinely use a recipe book and we’ve trained our staff to work without reference as well. In a pinch, we do pull out the original PJP v. 1.0 recipe book for a quick look, but it hasn’t been updated in years and is known by Team PJP as the very last resort when feeling unsure of baking directions.
Our laissez-faire attitude toward the recipe book reflects our personalities perfectly. That the recipes are covered in handwriting and smudged with pie filling from years ago is not the worst thing, right?
Except that as PJP continues to grow and we find ourselves baking more and under more time constraints, there is nothing charming about trying to interpret if the Sour Cream Raisin pie calls for four legit cups of raisins or if it is really just one cup and an odd smudge is next to the one cup, masquerading it as a four.
Because our ineptitude started to even get on our own nerves last fall as we thumbed through the recipe book, adding “MAKE NEW RECIPE BOOK” to the 2016 goals was pretty obvious. And today, when public schools called a snow day and sales were slow enough that I was making myself crazy, I decided to make our goal a reality. Operation Recipe Book in full swing. Finally.
And well, it wasn’t easy. Both Jeanne and I bake intuitively. Because we’ve done it enough, we know exactly how each filling should look as it goes together. And baking has quirks…for example, making French Silk when it is really warm in our kitchen creates an entirely different end result than making it when our kitchen is cold early in the morning. Leaving apple pie filling in the shell too long before covering it in Dutch Apple topping and putting it in the oven can make the pies too juicy because the mixture starts to break down. It is all information that we learned over doing the process hundreds of times…and translating that to pristine recipe pages was much harder than I anticipated. It took a few hours to just finish 12 recipes.
After printing the 12 recipes, I surprised myself by deciding to laminate each page. And this is noteworthy because I’m not really crafty enough to laminate on the regular, but I can really convince myself of a lot of things when standing in the aisle at Staples…(mainly that buying a laminating machine is justified).
By next week, the recipe book should be finished. And I seriously can’t wait for the first Team PJP member to flip it open and find exactly what they are looking for right away. And for all the props on my at-home laminating skills sure to come my way…