One of the things we've been working with lately is our Irinox blast chiller. You might wonder what you need a blast chiller for, I know that when Alex first brought the idea up I wondered quite a bit. After all, most things do cool eventually. How often would we really need to push things along to the point of justifying a blast chiller? As it turns out the answer to that question is that we use our blast chiller every single day. We use it to cool down almost everything from soups to braises. We've used it to chill ravioli that stuck to the parchment paper and save dinner. We use it to rapidly cool custards and ice cream bases that wobble right on the edge of a scramble or are late to be put into the Pacojet container. We used it Christmas Eve to cool down the Caicucco so we could get it over to the place where we were actually having dinner. We've even been known to use it to chill some wine or beer in a beverage emergency. We use it all the time. I can't imagine life without it.
One of Alex's favorite uses for the blast chiller is pie, yes pie. He loves his pie and as much as I love to bake them, given our recent schedule it is not always the highest priority item on my to do list. This means that the pies get baked later in the day, which, in the past, would have meant eating the pie before it was ready to be cut or waiting until morning. Anyone who has ever met Alex will know what generally happened next. Not being the most patient person in the world he would usually cut into the pie, enjoy it with Amaya, and then point out how much better it was the next day. This was because the pie had time to cool and set up. Now it doesn't matter if I don't get around to baking the pie until 2:00 or even 3:00 in the afternoon because the blast chiller makes everything okay.
As it happens we've discovered that bakeries are one of Irinox's target markets. This is because by speeding up the cooling process of baked goods like pies and pastries, it's been found that the product sets up better, faster, and with less evaporation. This means that, especially for small bakeries, you can have a more efficient process and get your product on the shelves more quickly. We've noticed that when we chill our pies they tend to hold their shape better and are less likely to crumble or sag when we cut into the crust. Then again, that could be a product of proper cooling before cutting in general. There's something to be said for having the ability to cool things down quickly, especially when you know you want to serve them the same day.