Decadent bites / cheesecake

Dory the blue fish with yellow fins "I can't eat another bite....Oh look! Pie!"

What's your favorite Thanksgiving pie flavor?

Well I wish I could say my "baking hiatus" has been pure relaxation!  However, nothing could be further from reality and those who know me well know it's nearly impossible for me to sit entirely still.  There's plenty of backend work that requires zero time in the kitchen.  Although, I still average a minimum of 3-5 Zoom calls a week.  It's all just part of being an entrepreneur; constantly thinking, getting in front of the right people, and articulating why they shouldn't go another day without doing business with me.  Okay, maybe that was a tad dramatic, but you get the idea.  

After being in business over 4 years in North Carolina alone, I've learned a thing or two:

#1 - Stop wasting time creating an innovative Thanksgiving menu!  PIE is the only thing that matters at Thanksgiving.  Period.  I could count on one hand and have a lot of fingers left over of the other items that sell during Pie-mageddon. 

#2 - Everyone absolutely must place their order via the website.  Exceptions always lead to mayhem in the final count.

Now is the time to let you voice be heard for the flavor pies you would like to see on our Thanksgiving menu!  (The Thanksgiving menu will go live when the online store re-opens on October 1.) 

Please post a comment to this blog post with your favorite flavor!  It could end on this year’s Thanksgiving menu.  

Maria Kemp
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A look behind the curtain

A look behind the curtain

For some odd reason the movie "The Wizard of Oz" came to mind and I was recalling the scene where Dorothy peeked behind the curtain and saw the wizard ....

So here's your peek behind the curtain for what it takes to execute an on-site class.  (Obviously, the mixer I also took isn't in the sink.)  

On-site classes are open to all customers, not only corporate clients.  However, they do take a significant amount of planning in order to execute the event flawlessly and there are minimums that apply:  

  • Pre-baked final shortcake
  • Assemble student gift bags
  • Prep and pack all tools, ingredients, and supplies
  • 2 trips to load car at kitchen
  • 2 trips to unload car on-site
  • On-site setup
  • TEACH CLASS
  • On-site cleanup
  • 2 trips to reload car on-site 
  • 2 trips to unload car at kitchen
  • Restock ingredients
  • Wash/sanitize all tools and supplies
  • TOTAL APPROX.  10 hours (not including the actual class)

I've taught private on-site baking experiences and baking classes at a community college in Illinois, so I've perfected my system of handing the massive Rubbermaid containers of items that I bring back after the experience is over.  I put all the refrigerated items back in the fridge, replace any dry ingredients, put up supplies, and toss ALL the tools that left my kitchen in the sink.  I sanitize the Rubbermaid containers and return my collapsible wagon to it's designated space.  (Currently, the sink is still brimming with the tools shown in the picture from Fridays class as the dishwasher will be loaded this evening.) 

The upside is I had every tool I needed for the class with me.  I did forget to pack an optional offset spatula, but it wasn't the end of the world.   

The on-site classes are considerably more expensive as they require approximately 10 hours of additional time to execute a 1.25 hour demo.  If you are looking for a cost conscious way to enjoy a private baking experience, I would suggest the virtual option via Zoom.  Over my hiatus, I will be building a series of baking experiences ideal for the upcoming holiday season. 

Final August orders go out this week!  I'll be working behind the scenes just not baking until October 1. 

 

 

Maria Kemp
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It's FALL 🎃🍁🍂!

It's FALL 🎃🍁🍂!

The calendar officially says it's AUGUST, so now it's time for the humidity drenched days to end...right?!  Ah, who am I kidding?!  This is North Carolina!  We likely won't get a noticeable break until late September or October!  Well, either way I'm sure it's time for Starbuck's to start pushing everything pumpkin or caramel, so I'll jump on the bandwagon!  

The Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake is the first autumnal flavor to welcome the season!  Perhaps your like me and not a lover of cheesecake.  Well then this is “the dessert” for you!  The magic of whipped cream elevates this from a cream cheese tasting dessert to a light airy mousse creation.  There is too much whipped cream gently folded into the batter for the texture to resonate as a traditional cheesecake. The addition of pumpkin’s favorite spicy friends will warm your palette in the most delightful way — fresh cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a hint of clove.  And wait, there’s more!  All that lusciousness is hidden under a billowy blanket of even more whipped cream topping the mousse cheesecake!  There’s a total of nearly 2 cups of heavy cream (before it’s whipped and nearly doubles) between the mousse and the topping.  Take it to ANOTHER level by choosing optional Heath toffee or toasted coconut to grace the whipping cream topping.  No graham cracker crust in sight!  It’s gingersnap crust all the way for the perfect finish.

I had some of my friends very excited when they read one of my FB post and thought I was opening a retail storefront.  After reading a few comments, I realized the word "digital" was down at the very bottom of the post.  🤦🏾‍♀️  If you know any my story, you already know I've been down that path right of pastry school and have ZERO, zilch, zippo, nada desire to do so again.  

I feel like I have enough activities going on in a given week for enough material for a sitcom, so I'll share 2 key "festivities" with you. 

After an automatic iPhone update my (ancient) 6S Plus would no longer connect to WiFi and then needed to stay plugged in constantly or the battery drained at an accelerated rate.  I was leaving on my birthday weekend getaway to my friend's lakehouse in Tennessee, but when I fired up the phone's GPS it immediately flashed a "temperature too high" or "phone too hot" warning.  It promptly shut itself down never to come on again.  Thankfully, I had already received my replacement phone -- I'm up to an iPhone 7 Plus now!  So only 5 minutes away from home, I was forced to turn around and setup the new one in order to have a working phone for my trip.  The new one connected to WIFI like a champ and within an hour all my apps had downloaded.  I made note of my passwords for a few key apps then hopped in the car to start my mini vacation.  I didn't realize until I arrived in TN, I wasn't logged into 99% of my applications after the upgrade, didn't have any of those passwords with me, so I was cut off from email the entire trip.  Not the worst thing ever since it was supposed to be a mini vacation.  

As for my frost-free freezer fail...

I discovered ”the store” will close your service ticket if they don't have an ETA on the required part AND offer you a buy out BUT for the price you ORIGINALLY paid.  Don't take the buy-out until you check the NEW selling price for the appliance.  When you get the buy-out email you only have 1 BUSINESS DAY before they start issuing the payment and cancel the remainder of your protection plan, so you have to move quickly.  Thankfully I got on the phone first thing the next morning and found the service company had just received notification from their distributor that TWO of the parts I need just came in!  Thankfully again, I wrote done the reps name, the time, and exactly what she said.  This turned out to save me as this whole event unfolded as a 2nd rep (45 minutes later) at the service company was giving me the "we don't have that part" response.  I was on the phone for 1 hour getting everything straightened out, but it was worth it!  The part for my freezer is scheduled to be installed this week.  Thank you Jesus!  Now I don't have to spend many hundreds of dollars more on a new unit AND pay for the old one to be hauled away.  

I'll save the rest of my adventures for a subsequent post!

Be sure to check out my new article in LKNConnect!  It's scheduled to post on 8/3! Until then, order the Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake -- it's truly love at first bite!

 

 

Maria Kemp
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But I WANT it...NOW!

But I WANT it...NOW!

Over the last couple of weeks I've fielded more than my share of "I know it says "Local" only, but I want it!"  These "statements" usually are in reference to a client who lives beyond a realistic distance to make a free pickup day at Pita Pit.  However, their tastebuds are on fire and their drooling eyes are firmly fixed on Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake, Mini Strawberry Shortcakes, or something else on the menu that would NEVER survive 2-days in transit via UPS.  

At this point, I could easily take the same detailed text explanation and do a copy and paste into every subsequent request.  I've had people tell me how I could successful ship it to them.  I'm always willing to learn, but usually it ends up making me chuckle a bit instead.  Apparently not every client knows or recalls the sheer amount of research and testing I did last summer before I even shipped the first package.  To be exact, 1.5 months of testing/research of the shipping process.  My friends thought my research was a bit excessive, but they aren't responsible for food safety and getting the dessert(s) across country intact. 

Most dessert clients don't want to spend an extra $15+ for me ship everything using the gold standard -- dry ice.  (BTW, I did test dry ice.)  Most food companies shipping with dry ice are monthly subscription boxes or huge bakeries receiving massive shipping discounts.  So my research powered on!  I know which packaging to use, how to insulate it, how long the ice packs will last, what size ice packs, how many to use, what needs to be shipped frozen, which items can withstand regular UPS Ground service and which ones cannot, and I understand the UPS shipping nuances.  

Shopify offers deeply discounted UPS shipping which I pass along to my clients since I cannot compete with the free shipping most people are used to thanks to  Amazon.  I stopped shipping to states 3 days or more away unless upgraded shipping is purchased.  Why?!  The only service UPS will guarantee is air service.  Most clients don't want a dessert that is over 3 days old via ground service.  I learned about the "ouch" of the no ground service guarantee when a package took 6 days to arrive in Texas instead of 3!  

So I say all that to share these key points -- if you live in a state 3 days or more away (please consult the Shipping/Delivery page for the affected states), I can still ship to you, ONLY if you purchase 2-day air or overnight/next day air.  Regardless of your state, I can ship a (Local) only item to you ONLY if you purchase overnight/next day air.  You will need to contact me directly via email or phone.  The system will prevent you from completing the purchase online. 

Now you know the story behind "Local" only....😉 And I’m happy to give you an upgraded shipping quote if you decide you “want it…NOW!”🤣

Maria Kemp
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Maybe just a little Grand Marnier or Kahula....

Maybe just a little Grand Marnier or Kahula....

Happy HOT Sunday evening everyone!  I love the quietness of Sunday afternoons as it slowly slips into Sunday evening. 

Last week I had a 11.5 or 12, Zoom calls which felt like an all-time record.  By the time I finished my last one Friday evening at 6:30pm, my brain was fried, my eyes were red, and my mental capacity had left the building.  

In between all the Zooms, I managed to get orders prepped for Saturday.  As I was in the middle of preparing Margarita Cheesecakes, the tequila well ran dry!  I should have  had plenty to get through the final orders if only there wouldn't have been a "bobble" which sent a pre-measured cup of the liquid silver running all over the counter and eventually soaking my left sneaker!  So in the middle of making the cheesecakes, I had to run to the ABC Store to restock.  While I was there I wandered around and looked at all the liqueur flavors and pondered what would go with the excess of lemons in my fridge.  That was when my eyes fell upon Bacardi Lemon!  It's rum kissed with lemon!  I thought perfect!  So I bought a little airplane size bottle and tested it!  It gave the creamy lemon cheesecake a little extra "something" without being overpowering.  I shared some with my neighbors and asked for their feedback.  The yellow post-it is what one of them returned with the empty container - it made me smile from ear to ear!  

I also picked up some small bottles of Kahula and Grand Marnier.  They both would pair really well with a chocolate cheesecake. 

In case you are wondering, "Does everything you make have alcohol in it?!"  No, definitely not!  I do have about 10 different liquors in my inventory, but not everything is the right fit for most recipes.  These just happened to be the perfect fit for Father's Day, July 4th and summer. 

This week Mini Strawberry Shortcake Kits and the Bacardi Lemon Cheesecake are joining the line-up!   

Dates and things to keep in mind:

  1. Ordering cut-off for free local pickup at Pita Pit will close on Thursday, July 1 at 9:00am.  Order pickup with take place on Saturday, July 3 anytime after 12pm until they close. 
  2. We only ship via UPS Monday - Wednesday. 
  3. "Mastering the Details" videos on our YouTube channel.
  4. Daily Pro-Tips on any of our social media channels. 
  5. Our Private Virtual Baking Experiences are now open for enrollment!  

We look forward to serving you soon!

 

 

 

Maria Kemp
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