My pie making endeavour involves making & donating thousands of the five-inch-in-diameter, single serving fruit pies for a number of Food Banks and our local "Meals On Wheels" program. I'm a retired gent who sees this as both a hobby, and as a way to give back to the community. Because I am producing in volume, I always freeze my pies as soon as they are made. I have three freezers where I keep my production until they are either picked up or I deliver them. Mostly, I use the same stackable bread trays ( in my freezers) that bakeries use to deliver their goods to stores.
You should be aware that in very warm, humid weather, these pies will begin to thaw within about 15 minutes of having been taken out of a freezer. The pie crust/top is only about a sixteenth of an inch thick, so I guess that is the main reason. In my case, I need to be able to get my pies in bulk to the recipient charity quite quickly in the warmer months. As soon as I arrive, they are immediately placed in freezing conditions again - often being stored in walk-in freezers, if available.
Lately, I have been expanding my outreach to include Food Banks that are as much as 60 miles from my home. And here is my problem: The pies thaw in warm weather before I can get them delivered to the Food Banks that are located some distance from my home. So far, I have only been delivering to the outlying charities in the cold, winter months due to this predicament. However, I would like to be able to keep large numbers of these small pies in a frozen state for up to an hour - during the heat of summer- while being delivered.
Does anyone have a suggestion as to how this might be done? I have been thinking of using a small, light-weight utility trailer to haul behind my small car. Am considering making a large wooden box that would sit in this small trailer permanently. It would be insulated with at least a minimum of two inches of foam insulation on all inside surfaces. The lid would overlap the plywood box and be simply attached to the box by bungee cords.
This box would be constructed so that it is large enough to accommodate say three stacks of the bread trays. The box would be approximately eight feet long, three feet wide and about three feet high. Inside of this container, I would add several dozen of those frozen (reusable) ice packs. They are made of plastic and filled with a blue liquid. It seems to me they are often added to camping coolers for this same purpose.
Again, if anyone has suggestions or other ideas as to how to keep my pies frozen (or nearly frozen) in hot weather, I would welcome any input. As it stands at present, I have four Food Banks that would love to continue receiving my small pies 12 months of the year. However, this seems impossible unless a way can be determined to keep several hundred of these pies frozen during transit for a minimum of one hour in the summer heat. And do so at a reasonable cost! Thanks so much for any ideas or comments.
David Whalen - New Brunswick, Canada"Saint Sylvester's Heavenly Pies"