Location: Prantl’s Bakery in Greensburg
Featured guests: Susan McCarthy, PR consultant for Prantl’s, and Joy Pfeifer, a Prantl’s baker
3 things that surprised me:
1. Prantl’s has five locations in the Pittsburgh area, but they do all of their baking at a big commercial kitchen that’s located behind their Greensburg storefront. Two Prantl’s trucks deliver the baked goods to their other stores.
2. Similar to a jelly doughnut, paczki are deep-fried balls of dough filled with cream or jam and coated with a glaze. Unlike jelly doughnuts, paczki are made with a richer dough that includes more eggs, fat and sugar. Joy explained that they’re sold in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday since fatty, sugary foods are not traditionally eaten once the Lenten season begins. Paczki originated in Poland, where they’ve been enjoying them for hundreds of years. At Prantl’s, they are made with five varieties of filling: apricot, buttercream, chocolate buttercream, pastry cream, raspberry and lemon.
3. It takes three teams of people to make Prantl’s iconic Burnt Almond Torte. The first team prepares the batter and the frosting. The second team toasts the almonds and mixes in the sugar to prepare the crunchy topping. The last team is the finishing team that frosts every cake and coats them with the almond mixture. They bake hundreds of tortes in their Greensburg bakery every day.
One thing that didn’t make the final cut: The legend goes that Henry Prantl, the bakery’s founder, took a trip to California at a time when there was a bumper crop of almonds. Apparently, the almond growers were encouraging bakers to come up with new recipes that featured the nut. Prantl took on the challenge and created an iconic Pittsburgh cake.
Additional info: You can learn more about Prantl’s and place an online order via their website.