Friday, October 3, 2014

Product Trial - Shirriff Pie Crust

I've found another way to get good free products through the mail.  The BrandSpark people have recruited a Shopper Army, which is designed to use regular people test new products.  The item I was offered was the new Shirriff Pie Crust Mix.  The instructions were to use the product to bake a pie within a week and complete a brief 10 minute survey about the experience.

There was a little glitch though, as I received a message on Friday saying that I needed to bake the pie that weekend, and I had not yet received the pie crust package.  I sent off an e-mail to let them know. I was so disappointed as I was afraid that if I didn't get this mission accomplished, I might get knocked off the list for future products.  The response I got was friendly and positive, and it told me the deadline was not until Wednesday and if the package didn't get to me in time, to just enjoy the product and not worry about it. 

The package arrived on Tuesday, and I had plans for Wednesday, so I decided to get busy and bake a pie.  The next question was what did I have on hand to put in one, as there was no time to go shopping.  I had just barely enough raisins, and not enough of anything else, so raisin pie it was.  There was a difference between the temperature the recipe said to bake it at, and what the pastry package said, but since I was testing the pastry, I decided to go with their instructions.

The package was meant to make a double crust for a 9 inch pie. I rolled the dough as thinly as I dared, but I wasn't convinced there was enough to make a top crust with. It would be just my luck that I would roll it either too small, or place it on so that it didn't cover the whole pie on the first try. As the raisin filling would then make the pastry too sticky to deal with, I decided to not try to make a proper top crust. I cut out a shape instead. Then I used the scraps to make cinnamon and sugar cookies. Looking at the results carefully, I guess there was enough pastry to make a top crust, but I'd like a little extra just to cover my bases, and of course, the pie.

The pastry rolled out more easily than my standard homemade one, but there were little flecks of stuff still visible in the dough. The instructions said to "mix slowly to  make a dough that clings together and cleans easily from the bowl."  That's what I did. I didn't feel that I could work it further, and possibly make it tough. The little flecks didn't hurt the taste of the final product, but the pastry didn't look as smooth as mine would have.

The biggest disappointment was when I cut the pie and tried to lift the pieces from the plate. The pastry stubbornly clung to the glass dish and had to be forcibly scrapped off. I was glad I wasn't serving this pie to a guest, but my hubby and I certainly enjoyed it.

The survey asked for ways the manufacturer could improve the product, and so, hopefully these problems will be straightened out. Though I normally make my own pastry, I tend to do it with a whole pound of Tenderflake, so I have enough to make as many as 7 crusts at one time.  When I just want one or two, I tend to buy the frozen Tenderflake ones, but then I have to juggle the contents of my small freezer, and hope that I don't break them before they are used up. I think I would prefer to buy this new Shirrif Pie Crust in the future. It could be handy to have in my cupboard.

Get to work Dr Oetker, and make Shirriff Pie Crust Mix one of my favorite products of the year. And Shopper Army, I'm so glad to have been recruited. I'm already looking forward to my next mission.

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