Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Easy as Pie Server

useful utensil
  [vote for,

The dinner party was going smoothly until the large, fresh, cherry pie was pushed in my direction. It was obvious that no one else wanted to excavate the first piece in front of the expectant spectators. I could just picture myself bravely wielding the pie server, trying to slice and pry out a wedge from the virgin tart. After prying at the stubborn but fragile dessert from the edge and then from the center of the pan, I would finally land it, or most of it, onto my plate.

The broken heap of pastry, cherries and juices would look like fresh, bullet train kill, and I’d quickly try to cover the ruins with ice cream. With sweat drops from my forehead sizzling on hot, red cheeks, I’d peripherally observe dinner guests smiling with a mixture of amusement and understanding. My only comfort would be that the next victim would not fare much better.

Imagine my surprise and relief when I was handed an entirely new kind of pie server. The blade was rotated 90 degrees in relation to the handle, and the wide end of the blade was bent up like a flange, so that the utensil matched half the cross section of the serving dish. It was obvious that the server was meant to enter the pie along a radius of the pan and rotate under the slice, freeing it easily from the ovenware. After skillfully separating a succulent sector, I vowed to purchase my own stainless steel instrument without delay, for future effortless serving of deep-pan pizzas, shallow cakes and key lime and custard pies.

FarmerJohn, Jul 09 2003

sketch http://www.geocitie...nnie/pieserver.html
[FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

First Out Pie Spatula http://www.thekitch...m/030734045381.html
If I baked and served pie more often, I'd have one of these. [half, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

this one UB? http://www.tabletoo...248923&st3=58895891
[oxen crossing]

Tart pan with removable bottom http://a244.g.akama...Enlarge/117669e.jpg [oxen crossing, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Tart pan with removable bottom http://a244.g.akama...Enlarge/117669e.jpg
[half, Oct 04 2004]

Easy as pie wires http://bz.pair.com/fun/pieWire1.jpg
[20Kb images] (FJ, I'm not trying to hijack your idea. If you don't want this here, delete it.) [bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

For [Mr Ellen]... http://dir.yahoo.co..._Campaign/Parodies/
[silverstormer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Roaming Goldfish Bowl http://www.halfbake...g_20Goldfish_20Bowl
[silverstormer, Oct 04 2004]


       Berry, berry g++d.
thumbwax, Jul 09 2003

       You're on a roll, [FJ]. +
saker, Jul 09 2003

       Make it treacle tart and I'll have a slice. Fruit...ick! (+)
silverstormer, Jul 09 2003

       As usual, an instant + for u
phundug, Jul 09 2003

       I can't work out the geometry. At the moment of lifting my slice, I have my knuckles and most of my little finger and ring finger in the neighbouring slice of pie...
...and that can't be right.

       My elbow's in the trifle, but that was always unavoidable.
st3f, Jul 09 2003

       <sigh> nothing changes.
po, Jul 09 2003

       [st3f] I tried to show that, like the handle of a fork, it swoops up and out of the way. The third dimension's in the mind.
FarmerJohn, Jul 09 2003

       Sorry to be a nay-sayer yet again, but I'm sceptical. If the slice holds together, a regular pie slicer will work better. If it falls apart, I don't see this saving it.   

       However, it should be easy enough to work one of these up in a workshop and do some experimenting. Anyone got a workshop?
DrCurry, Jul 09 2003

       Pie good.   

       I agree with [DrCurry]. When you lever this thing under the first slice, the one next to it will get squished even if your piece is still in one er.. piece.   

       When using a standard pie slice, the first piece is always a mess and we all know this to be true.
So either scrape out the mush of the first slice and then proceed as normal or use this new pie slice but leave the decimated last piece
squeak, Jul 09 2003

       If the problem is the dish's flange, how about a flexible pie slice that can bend into the curve?
DrCurry, Jul 09 2003

       Maybe I just don't read the drawing properly, but I'm afraid I don't see how this works. If the blade is inserted perpendicular to the bottom of the pan between slices, how does the blade get turned 90 degrees to get under the slice without obliterating the piece next to it? Oh, I see...it's the next guy's problem. Yeah, I like it.   

       (This inspires another halfbaked idea. More later if it's not baked. All the good ones are.)
half, Jul 09 2003

       (Yeah. Take bag slitters f'r'instance.)
bristolz, Jul 09 2003

       (And the highly practical Auto-Inflate Cushion Slacks.)
Jinbish, Jul 09 2003

       I think it needs a bottom and a side. I can't tell what it has with the beeee-utiful sketch. But you'd still need to rip out the first slice with with your fingers (do this before the guests arrive, eat the mess, clean up)   

       btw, I have a shop, some thin plastic for a mockup, and I'm willing to sneak out there a 3 am so wife won't catch me shirking, but I need some consensus on what the first one should be, to avoid too many multiple mockups. (digital picts would be posted of mockup and using it)
oxen crossing, Jul 09 2003

       [DrCurry, squeak and a half] The first piece does not have to be given up for lost. That’s the whole (halfbaked) idea. Instead of a flat surface navigating the pan’s corner, this server fits snugly between the slice and the pan.   

       After cutting the slice, the server would enter the pie at about a 70 degree angle from the horizontal and rotate to about 30 degrees to scoop out the first piece. The adjacent piece would get slightly squished on the edge, but since further slices would be taken via the cleared area, no other collateral contact should occur.   

       [mr imagonna] Take a cheap pie server. Cut the handle off and bolt/weld it to the side of the blade. Bend the widest (back) part of the blade up at a 75 degree angle.
FarmerJohn, Jul 09 2003

       OK, that's enough consensus for me. I think I get it, FJ. But 70 deg? then there'll be a 70 deg angle to the side of the piece. Anyway, I'll build this tonight, check back in a day or two.
oxen crossing, Jul 09 2003

       I think I understand the idea. I just have my doubts about it working. I've tried to serve pie by putting the blade between slices instead of inserting it from the edge. My attempts fared no better than the normal method. The position of the handle didn't seem to be the problem. Possibly...probably, mr_imagonna will prove me wrong.
half, Jul 09 2003

       half, don't forget the angle! it's all about the angle! whooooo-wheeeee, here I go, lookout!   

       I just need more coffee! yeeee haaaa....
oxen crossing, Jul 09 2003

       Ah, here's the thing I thought existed but couldn't find:
A different solution to this problem is "First Out Pie Spatula" (link). It's baked in the pie.
half, Jul 09 2003

       This server running Linux or what?
bristolz, Jul 09 2003

       That's at first what I thought.
sartep, Jul 09 2003

       You talkin about this one UB? [link] looks pretty normal to me.
oxen crossing, Jul 09 2003

       Right. check back mid day tomorrow (pacific time). prototype is finished, pie is in the oven. Since SteveDG, has spelled it out so succintly, I wish to be on record that I've never actually agreed this would work in any way. I'm just testing it out...
oxen crossing, Jul 10 2003

       sounds like an oxymoron to me.   

       (virgin tart that is)
pjd, Jul 10 2003

       I think that Johnnie is looking at the wrong part of the problem. It's the pie dish that's wrong, not the serving implement. My mum used to have a cake tin thingy that had a little lock which held the base of the tin to the sides. Once the cake had been baked you undid the catch and lifted away the sides of the tin, leaving the cake vulnerable to easy slicing and lifting. A similar design should be implemented for pie dishes.
DrBob, Jul 10 2003

       Springform Pan?. That sounds like a recipe for disaster (wahwahwahwaaaaahhhh).   

       I call this a loose bottom flan tin. They work very well too.
squeak, Jul 10 2003

       Use disposable pie tins and a dishwasher-safe bandsaw. Admittedly, finding the latter may be a bit tricky.
oneoffdave, Jul 10 2003

       My lame thought: lay out, say, four strands of thin-drawn--but strong--wire across the bottom of the pie baking tin, crossing at the center so that when the pie is ready to be sliced you just grab one end of the top wire and pull up through the pie to slice.  They'd have to be labeled as to the order you could pull them with #1 being on top of the other wires and cutting the first slice all the way across the pie.  Four strands would cut a total of eight slices. (illustration above)   

       The thinner the wire the better it would slice but not so thin that it would break during the slicing.   

       <later> Perhaps the wires could be anchored at the center of the pie tin--remaining a permanent part of the pie tin--so that each wire lifted would only slice to the center but with less risk that the wire could be accidently pulled under the pie instead of slicing.
bristolz, Jul 10 2003

       like a traditional cheese cutter but upside down. I like the thought of getting in a mess with the wires. people in years to come would credit bris with the saying "getting your wires crossed"
po, Jul 10 2003

       I thought the issue was lifting, not cutting. Perhaps a set of wires to cut, then a second set to lift individual slices. The second set would consist of a single strand that coinsides with a cut on the opposite side of the pie, then at the center this strand is attached to say 10 strands that fan out under a slice. The 10 strands and the opposite 1 strand are lifted together.
Worldgineer, Jul 10 2003

       I think the slicing part is where you get off in a wreck. If it's cleanly and well sliced, the first piece is easy to get out with a regular pie server thingy.   

       [mr_imagonna] Hah! Testing with a video synopsis! Very cool.   

       Now, try the wire version.
bristolz, Jul 10 2003

       OK, a few disclaimers before you get all worked up.

       1. I couldn't find a cheap pie server, so I did a quick and dirty mockup, 30 minutes total build time.
2. I've maxed out my free webspace, so I had to severely edit the mpegs of the maiden voyage.
3. Even so, as you may be able to tell, my assistant, aged 2 years, refused to hold the pie steady for me, so I had to shut off the camera and do the actual shoving the blade under the piece. Rest assured, no tricks were employed off camera.
4. Anyone who may want to argue operator error: I will gladly UPS the EAPS directly to you to demonstrate to all of us how this utensil should be used, as long as you promise to document the activity and post a link.


       a. This thing will never get the first slice out cleanly, for reasons clearly described by Steve DeGroof above. (most of you guessed that)
b. Even if you made the first incision the shape of the profile of the easy as pie server, you would still trash both the first piece and the last.
c. The second piece came out really well; a few cherrys fell off, but no more than would with any other method described here. No more webspace, so I didn't document it.


       I. If you want my vote on this one, change the description to reflect the fact that it will never get the first piece out cleanly, and suggest that bakers employ a one piece baked in (a la easier than pie server by phoenix[mfd'd]) removal tool for the first piece.
II. You may want to wait until I make a slight modification, and post the results. I think it will solve everything. check back in a few days (we have houseguests, so give me time)
oxen crossing, Jul 10 2003

       Ha! [Mr B] has finally uncovered his true identity...Hello Ellen!
silverstormer, Jul 10 2003

       Wonderful experiment [mr_i]! Any chance you can mock up a goldfish ball - it's another mystery that needs solving.
Worldgineer, Jul 10 2003

       Virgin tart - well crafted, FarmerJohn!
thecat, Jul 10 2003

       Nicely done [mr_imagonna], though I feel your conclusions are a bit hasty for a first prototype. The flange looked a little high and its parallel edges could be angled in a little towards the top to make its entrance smoother. I didn’t think the piece looked too tattered, but I wasn’t there. Well documented!   

       Thanks for your inputs, too [bris]. Another possibility is a Nitinol pan that would lose its shape as it cooled and become a circular cutting "board" under the pie.
FarmerJohn, Jul 10 2003

       FJ, I nearly called them observations, but in an effort to get to the point, I jumped to conclusions, which I naturally do anyway.   

       WorldG, I haven't had the time to peruse the goldfish bowl, but from the title, it looks intriguing. However, to do much more of this I'd need some cash infusion, to offset the extra daycare expense. Maybe later.
oxen crossing, Jul 10 2003

       This years first 'Croissy Award' goes to mr_imagonna for services to halfbaking. Well done sir!
DrBob, Jul 11 2003

       [mr_i] First of all, a pat on the back and a hearty hand-shake for your dedication to baking.

Secondly, a word of warning. If you are planning on perusing the glorious Goldfish Bowl idea, clear your schedule for at least a few days.
silverstormer, Jul 11 2003


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