The Upper Crust of Pie Appreciation

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loginPieTopThe American Pie Council® (APC) is the only organization dedicated to preserving America’s pie heritage and promoting America’s love affair with pies. Designed to raise awareness, enjoyment and consumption of pies, the APC offers Amateur, Professional and Commercial Memberships that enable lovers of pie to sink their teeth into sweet annual events like the National Pie Championships®, the Great American Pie Festival® and more; ongoing contests that reap recipes of the month, awards and increased sales; and provide filling reading material like Pie Times! Every tidbit about APC offers morsels of information that’s good to the last crumb. Join today, it’s a piece of pie!

Your bigger  piece of the pie

The National Pie Championships® is four days of getting your fill of pie and seeking the best tasting pies in the country-where amateur pie makers, professional bakers/chefs and commercial pie companies from around the country and Canada have been competing since 1995.

While the Great American Pie Festival is the cherry on top of NPC, competitors and spectators can enjoy two days of pie in the sky and off the pie charts of fun! It’s easy for everyone to find their favorite piece of the action-from pie-eating contests, vendor exhibits and baking demonstrations to games, live entertainment and “fill-anthropic” bake sales to benefit good causes like food banks and children’s programs.

Membership fills the world with pie charts & graphs

As a member of the APC, you will have access to all information that we have available for the pie baking industry like tips, tricks and recipes. Plus, receive the quarterly newsletter, Pie Times. Not to mention smile sweetly on National Pie Day. In addition, the APC will help you research any information that we do not have immediately available-no matter how you slice it, joining is a sweet deal!


Iced Tea

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Iced teaTea ice

Milk 1000g
Cream 200g
Sugar  250g
Trimoline 30g
Yolks 160g
Stabiliser 4g
Earl grey tea 40g

Cook a crème anglaise at 85ºC. Add the trimoline and the 4 g of stabiliser, then leave the Earl Grey tea to infuse. Strain and reserve cold.

Lemon water ice

Lemon pulp 330g
Sugar 330g
Water 660g
Glucose  30g
Orange juice 6g

Make a syrup with water, sugar and glucose. Add the fruit purées and boil again. Strain and reserve cold.

Hazelnut biscuit

Whites 300g
Sugar 100g
Whole hazelnuts 180g
Icing sugar 180g
Roasted hazelnuts 115g

Whip the whites and stiffen with sugar. Make a TPT with the hazelnuts and the icing sugar then sieve. Mix gently using a spatula. Bake at 175ºC/180ºC in a ventilated oven.

Finishing touches

Turn out the frozen bombes. Reserve in the freezer. Make a mixture with icing paste, milk and roasted hazelnuts (10% mixture). Dip the bombes in the hot icing paste.



Exotic little flower

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Exotic little flowerRecipe for approximately 54 pieces.

Butter 100g
Icing sugar 80g
Almond  powder 100g
Eggs 100g
Starch 10g
Cream 30g

Soften de butter. Add the sugar, almond powder, starch, eggs and the warm cream. Pour into a mould and bake at 160ºC.

Mango coulis

Frozen mango purée 250g
Passion fruit juice 50g
Inverted sugar 50g
Pectin NH 8g
Caster sugar 50g

Heat the purées and inverted sugar to 40º. Add the pectin and caster sugar mixture and bring to the boil. Mould immediately and freeze.

Finishing touches

Stick the fondant on a pastille of dark chocolate, stick the 2nd pastille on the fondant and position little flower of coulis.

Ingredients for this recipe

Butter 100g
Cream 30g
Eggs 100g
Icing sugar 80g
Caster sugar 50g
Inverted sugar 50g
Poudre almond 100g
Starch 10g
Pectin NH 8g
Frozen mango purée 250g
Frozen passion fruit purée 50g


Packology 2010

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packology-LogoThe first edition of PACKOLOGY, the Italian manufacturers’oackaging trade show, wich will be a held from the 8th to the 11th of June 2010 in Itali, where Ferré & Consulting Group will be present.

The expo, limited to trade members, will be held every three years and is the result of a partnership between the Italian Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Association (UCIMA) and Rimini Fiera Spa.

PACKOLOGY will feature the industrial production of a system that in Italy puts a great accent on export; from its first edition, the show offers an appointment able to highlight technological and innovative excellence.

It is an event greatly wanted by the UCIMA, which represents almost all Italy´s world-leading Italian manufacturers, along with Rimini Fiera, owner of prestigious expo brands in the technology for the ceramic and brick inustries and in the woodworking machines sector. On one hand, therefore the leading trade association and on the other the third most important Italian expo centre.

PACKOLOGY will show: packaging machines, processing machines, packaging material, labelling, coding and marking technology, accessories and components, technology regarding logistics, trade press and publications. Trade members interested in process and packaging technologies running across all industrial sectors: food, beverage, chemical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, health care products and consumer goods (no food), will be involved.

Close attention will be focussed on internationality among exhibitors and visitors, another distinctive element that will be featured at this first edition, to expand companies´ business horizons on foreign markets too. Tailor-made meetings between exhibitors and foreign buyers will be organized.

The expo showcase will also be complemented by a qualified program of conferences and workshops that will ensure all trade members in-depth discussions, updates and networking on the most topical issues, organized in collaboration with universities, institutes, magazines and experts from this sector.

The show will be held in the west wing of Rimini expo centre, eight halls with a gross area of 60,000 m2.


Putting the goods into baked goods

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salWhat are the latest strategies being used to reduce and replace salt and fats in the bakery sector?

Bakery products have been impacted by the drive to reduce salt and saturated fat content in food. It is not as simple as finding an alternative to replace the taste of salt or the flavour of the fat – these ingredients have functional properties that are fundamental to the structure and texture of the products.

Salt reduction is largely being led by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), which in 2003 advised adults to consume no more than 6g a day. Food manufacturers have risen to the challenge, and average salt levels in bread have already been reduced by a third. However, a new target has now been set for 2012 – down to 1.0g per 100g of bread from the current 1.1g, which poses a further challenge.

In most products, the main function of salt is in taste. In bread, it is a little more complicated, as salt is crucial to yeast activity. If salt levels are reduced, the product’s properties are affected, says Maurits Burgering, business development manager at TNO Quality of Life. “The stickiness of the dough is influenced by salt content,” he says. “This affects processability. It also has an impact on microbiology. It is possible to make bread without any salt, but the question is whether this is a product you would want to put on the market! We are looking at the extent to which salt can be reduced without compromising these issues, and if it goes down too far, what are the first problems you encounter in processability?”

Limited alternatives

Saturated fats are still in the firing line

Saturated fats are still in the firing line

TNO has also worked on bread with layers containing more and less salt, where the sensory contrast helps tackle taste issues As bread differs from one country to another, the best solution to reducing salt will vary, and they are developing a toolbox of solutions, Burgering says. “The flour is also different, and a toolbox would help meet the needs of every regional specialty,” he says.

However, as far as bread is concerned, alternatives to salt are limited, according to Stan Cauvain, director and vice-president of R&D activities at the BakeTran consultancy. “Potassium chloride is the obvious choice, but the problem is its bitterness,” he says. “In the past, when sodium chloride levels were high, you could tolerate higher KCl levels, but when you have less NaCl, you are more likely to pick up the bitter overtones.”

Several companies now offer new crystalline forms of salt containing KCl designed to have less impact on flavour perception, he says, but uptake remains limited in the bakery sector. “It’s certainly more expensive, and of course there’s always the interesting question about the legality of using it in bread in the UK, as there is a debate over whether it is on the prescribed list of ingredients.”

Functionality and processing

Other substitutes focus on addressing flavour issues. “Some companies claim the answer to low-salt bread is

Fat contributes hugely to eating quality

Fat contributes hugely to eating quality

introducing flavours from ferments, brews, and nature identical flavours, but it’s important to separate the impact salt has on flavour, from its the impact on functionality,” Cauvain explains. “Salt cannot be removed without introducing other changes to processing or

even, perhaps, the quality of the bread that is produced. A lot has been learnt, but there remains no 1:1 replacement for salt. And if we are to continue to produce bread as we currently know and understand it, there is no real alternative.”

In cakes, biscuits and pastry, fat replacement is more of an issue than salt, as fat – particularly saturated fat – makes a huge contribution to the eating quality of a cake.

There has been a real drive in recent years to reduce the ‘bad’ fats in the diet, although there is now some doubt about whether saturated fat is really that bad for the heart. A recent meta-analysis of 21 studies in nearly 350,000 patients showed no significant evidence that dietary saturated fat is associated in an increased risk of either heart disease or stroke. Burgering believes, however, that fat reduction will remain an issue in bakery products. “It is possible to replace saturated fat with unsaturated, but this has to be done very carefully,” he says.

The problem is that, all too often, fat reduced cake or pastry is about as pleasant to eat as cardboard. “Fat has an impact on the lubrication effect in the mouth, and hence the eating quality,” says Cauvain.

“But the huge contribution that fat makes to the formation of the structure is often overlooked. This is also a tremendous contributor to the eating quality.”

Thus the structure of the ‘cardboard’ cake is less fragile, and less likely to break down in the mouth, an attribute that Cauvain says is as much down to the type of fat used as the level of it. “There has been a move to remove trans fats and reduce saturated fats, but the big problem is that these are the fats that contribute most to the structure-forming properties.


SweetPearl™: For 100% Well-Being

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logo-sweetpearlPleasure and good health are both part of well-being, but when it comes to food we often have to choose between the two. But what if well-being meant having the best of both worlds? Well now we can, thanks to SweetPearl™: a gourmet product can finally boast its own nutritional qualities, on top of that of SweetPearl™.

Pleasure is part of well-being too! Nutritionists are clear that depriving yourself – especially of sweet foods – can lead to compulsive snacking behaviour.

That means that sweet snacks can play a key role in an everyday balanced diet. Products containing SweetPearl™  make it even easier – they let us indulge in rich and sweet gourmet moments while enjoying all the nutritional benefits not only of the product, but of maltitol as well.

Rediscover food’s natural benefits

By replacing the sugar in food, SweetPearl™ invites us to enjoy their natural benefits by creating a more balanced nutritional profile – with no need for fat or intense sweeteners. The resulting chocolate is naturally rich in magnesium, fiber, polyphenols, etc. Even better, foods contain less sugar and fewer calories – imagine cookies that are a natural source of energy and fiber, but without the sugar!

Some people even whisper that SweetPearl™ also enhances the intense nature of chocolate and reveals the flavors of the grains in our cookies! Why hold back?

Enjoy the health benefits of SweetPearlTM

SweetPearl™ is 100% sugar-free, adding around only half the calories of sugar.

Unlike sugar, it actively promotes oral health by not causing cavities, a benefit often illustrated by the Toothfriendly Tested logo seen stamped on products, including some varieties of sugar-free gum.

SweetPearl™ also contributes to the development of foods that are low on the glycemic index. And because SweetPearl™  is a flavour enhancer, the final recipe or product is not only healthier and better for us, but it tastes even more delicious too!


Welcome to the dark side

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With the trend towards dark chocolate gaining momentum, cocoa bean prices are rising, as are calls for certification. Michelle Knott reports

Across Europe it’s the Swiss who spend the most per head on chocolate, forking out the equivalent of $206 per person per year. Brits and Belgians follow, spending $106 and $90, respectively. But when it comes to national spending on the sweet stuff it’s British consumers who top the European league table, packing away a belly-busting £3.5bn of chocolate in 2008, according to Mintel. Only the Germans came anywhere close to this with £3.4bn, and there are 20M more of them.

But while chocolate remains an affordable treat, the market is not recession-proof. Barry Callebaut, for example, has had its “first ever ‘off year’ in chocolate”, says chief innovations officer Hans Vriens. “Our volumes have still been growing, but we may find that there was a 12% shrinkage in value last year.” And with over 6,000 major customers, Barry Callebaut’s experience provides a good reflection of the global market.

But Vriens is bullish about where the market is heading next. “Now we’re moving into the next phase with a lot of new projects and we’re seeing people returning to higher cocoa percentages where they might have been cutting back.”


This drive for higher levels of cocoa reflects a longer-term trend toward dark chocolate. Although 51% of Brits still prefer milk chocolate, Mintel says that the UK is following the lead of continental markets towards dark chocolate.

“There has been 1020% growth in dark chocolate over a decade,” says Vriens. “It’s a pronounced trend in most markets. People have a belief that dark chocolate is healthier.” In addition, changing tastes mean that consumers are more likely to indulge their dark side the older they get, so the ageing population should see the trend towards more ‘grown up’ chocolate continuing to gather momentum.

“There has certainly been an increase in the popularity of dark chocolate and this reflects consumers’ changing tastes. When Thorntons launched its chocolate block range back in September 2008, more than half the range was dark chocolate,” says Keith Hurdman, Thorntons’ master chocolatier. “The other trend we have noticed is that consumers are becoming more adventurous with flavours they are prepared to try. The prime example of this is our chilli choc block, which we launched last January. It became our number one selling bar within weeks.”

Provenance and single-source chocolate is another growing niche. Vriens points to double-digit growth over the past 10 years, although it’s suffered a blip during the downturn. “The provenance trend will stay and go even further towards single plantation products and even different vintages, just like wine,” he predicts.

According to Hurdman: “The region it is grown in affects the taste and the notes of the chocolate. A lot of the flavour from the cacao tree, from which the beans come, is attributable to the genetics of the plant, the fermentation and drying of the beans, along with each region’s soil composition and climate. For example, we used cocoa beans from Mexico in our dark chilli chocolate block because Mexican beans add slightly spicy notes to the chocolate, which complement the chilli really well.”

As well as wanting to know where their chocolate is coming from, consumers increasingly want to support ethical and sustainable production. “While demand for organic certified chocolate has been growing steadily over the past 10 years, we have seen a jump of more than 50% in the demand for Fairtrade-certified products in 2009 and an increase of 12% in certified products volume overall,” says Vriens. Heavyweight consumer brands have also been jumping on board, with Cadbury Dairy Milk adopting Fairtrade certification last summer and Nestlé’s KitKat following suit at the start of this year. But it doesn’t end there. For example, Nestlé intends to spend £65M over the next 10 years on helping cocoa-growing communities under its ‘Cocoa Plan’.

The major cocoa suppliers such as Cargill and Barry Callebaut are also extremely active in the origin countries.”We’re one of the founding fathers of the UTZ certification scheme,” says Filip Buggenhout, md of chocolate at Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate. “If we can increase quality production and get yield improvement we’ll end up with farming communities that are more successful and create a more sustainable supply chain.”

Consumer-facing customers are increasingly asking suppliers to comply with third-party certification schemes, such as Fairtrade or the Rainforest Alliance. “When you have a strong presence in the origin countries you can often combine your efforts to meet some of the demands of different schemes in parallel,” says Vriens.

Although the growth in demand for certification looks set to continue, it remains a niche market confined largely to more affluent consumers, according to Mintel, with fair trade and organic products commanding just 15% and 8% of UK chocolate sales respectively.


But there is another reason why the big suppliers are working hard to improve life for small farmers: the staggering rise in cocoa prices that the industry has had to accommodate over the past couple of years. Monthly average cocoa prices rose from $2,216/t in January 2008 to $2,626/t by the following year.

They then shot up a third again to $3,498/t by December 2009, according to the International Cocoa Organisation. “My feeling is that the supply side is more responsible for today’s price rises,” says Buggenhout. Before the relatively recently price hikes, cocoa farmers were wrestling with such low returns that many were turning to other crops, such as rubber, he says. There is also a lack of expertise among many smallholders, who need help to optimise production.

“At Cargill we’re helping farmers to become more successful so they can bring long-term stability to the market. Rising cocoa prices are helping but we need more, such as farmer field schools to improve farming practices.”

On the other hand, Vriens cautions that, even though new farmers are joining the industry, the net cocoa supply is not yet growing. In addition, there are longer-term trends on the demand side that will also push up prices: “People are eating more chocolate and moving to darker versions that need more cocoa beans. We can also see India and China starting to turn into chocolate nations. I think we should get used to higher cocoa prices.”


So we want our chocolate to be less naughty in terms of sustainability, but what about health? Lower-sugar and lower-fat chocolate has, so far, failed to make much impact, but that could change with a switch of marketing emphasis away from overtly virtuous products towards ‘stealth health’, which sells the idea that it’s just as indulgent, but with fewer calories. Barry Callebaut reports a lot of interest from customers, with around 200 recipe ‘rebalancing’ projects currently on the go.

Cargill is also active in this area, and has unveiled a solution based on erythritol, the first zero-calorie polyol. Bringing in expertise in textures and flavours from other areas of the business has also allowed chocolatiers to develop a system that prevents the perception of coolness that polyols often deliver when consumed.

As well as removing calories, firms have also been looking at the potential of adding functional ingredients to chocolate, which is itself a rich source of polyophenols and other bioactive substances increasingly scrutinised by the big players such as Mars and Nestlé.

chocolate negro

According to Professor Eyal Shimoni of the Israel Institute of Technology, the structure of chocolate makes it a particularly good carrier of unstable functional ingredients such as probiotics: “It is a semi-solid, highly viscous mass, is practically inaccessible to oxygen, and is slowly melted and dissolved in the gastrointestinal tract. It can therefore serve as a macroencapsulation system. One can think of a vast range of components [that could be added], starting from the obvious polyphenols or other antioxidants, but also minerals and essential fatty acids.”

However, Europe may not prove to be the ideal launchpad for such products, given the lousy success rate of health claims submitted to date under the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, and the additional spanner in the works posed by nutrient profiling, which prevents claims on products that are high in fat or sugar. FIHN


Gluten-free product introductions rise globally

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gluten-freeThe number of gluten-free products introduced continues to rise globally, and further double-digit growth recorded in 2009 will take the total number of products recorded in the Innova Market Insights database to more than double the level it was in 2007. The increase is due in part to improved labeling regulations, awareness of gluten intolerance in the diet and a desire for more mainstream and good-tasting gluten-free products across a range of food and beverage categories.

Innova Market Insights said more than 5% of the food and beverage launches in 2009 were marketed as gluten-free, with the level at more than 10% in Australia and New Zealand and at less than 1% in Asia. While there were higher launch figures in the US and Europe, this mainly reflects higher levels of food and beverage new product activity as a whole.

Sales of gluten-free foods in the US were estimated at more than US$1.5 billion a year, according to Innova Market Insights. Many of the US new products reflect value-added products offering additional benefits, and the products are no longer simply relying on a specialist gluten-free image. Innova noted it was especially significant the Betty Crocker brand from General Mills, Inc. has introduced the first nationally branded gluten-free bakery mixes in the US.


Panrico completes integration of Artiach biscuits

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panricoPanrico, a Spanish-based food company with baking operations, has completed the integration of Artiach, a biscuit business acquired from Kraft Foods in July 2008. The integration became complete with the relocation of Artiach’s offices to Panrico’s headquarters in Esplugues de Llobregat in Barcelona.

A year ago, Panrico said it would invest €12.5 million between 2009 and 2011 in its Orozko (Vizcaya) plant, where Artiach biscuits are made.

Artiach biscuits are marketed under several brands, including Chiquilin, Filipinos, Artinata, Artichoco, Articoco, Artiavellana, Artilimon, Artiturron, Digesta, Princesa, Mini Princesa, Mila, Morena, Seleccion, Tentaciones, as well as Marbu Dorada and Dinosaurus.


Adding liquids to powder without lumps

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Mixing of powders in a batch mixer generally is not so straight forward as mixing gasses or liquids.

vitomix_mid shear mixer_new_hosokawaBecause of cohesive, free flowing and agglomeration characteristics of powders, mixing can be quite complex. Add to this the introduction of liquids into the mixture and all too often lumps are created causing unevenness in the mixture leading to the need for an additional de-lumping process.

The new Vitomix mid shear mixer from Hosokawa Micron makes adding liquids to powder mixtures a ‘piece of cake’. There is no requirement for lump breakers and mixing times are reduced maintaining low energy consumption. It can combine both gentle low shear mixing with mid shear mixing, for reduced overall mixing times.

Based upon the high efficiency Vrieco Nauta range of conical blenders the Vitomix uses a double screw combination, which, coupled with their large diameter, means that the transport capacity is up to eight times higher then the original Vrieco Nauta series.

The high rotational speeds create a fluid bed at the top of the mixer into which liquids can be introduced. The ratio of liquid, powder and air results in a homogenous powdery material containing liquids, fats or oils without any lumps. Therefore lump breakers are not needed, which would normally be created with other types of mixers when liquids are injected into powders.