More than just pies

by Dan Malovany
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To prepare for the holiday season, pie manufacturers start gradually ramping up production, building inventory and eventually hitting full speed by mid-­October. To balance the business year round, Legendary Baking decided to diversify.

In addition to premium pies, the company makes 8 to 9 million frozen cookie dough pieces annually, many of them for its sister company, Max & Erma’s, a restaurant chain known for its burgers, beer and freshly baked, warm chocolate chip cookies.

Leveraging what it does with its cream pies, Legendary Baking also makes multi-layered dessert bars, brownies, cakes, cobblers and more, said Mark Van Iwaarden, director of marketing. “Our heritage is pie, but we’re doing a lot more,” he said.

Galettes — French free-form pies — are another popular item, noted Tim Kanaly, division president for Legendary Baking. Bakers take pie dough, toss on a mixture of fruit, nuts and other fillings, and fold over the dough. Retailers then bake it on premise.

“In reality, they’re just rustic pies with the center left open,” he said. “They’re really attractive items to take to a dinner party because all of the fruit is standing up in the middle and glowing. They simply have a nice presentation to them.”

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