Working at Morey’s Piers is a lot like baking. Whether you’re designing a new roller coaster or a three-tiered layer cake with French buttercream icing, the goal is the same: sharing joy.
In each case, “You don’t always get to see people consume the experience,” says Tim Samson, director of marketing at Morey’s Piers. “But the moments you do are very rewarding.”
If there’s anyone qualified to talk both coasters and croissants, it’s Tim. In his Michigan hometown, he grew up staring into a harvest gold oven, salivating over delicate cakes and pastries prepared by his mother, aunts and grandmothers. He soon developed his own passion for baking which, in 2015, landed him on the first season of ABC’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show.” (It’s now called “The Great American Baking Show,” and it’s brought to you by the same masterminds behind “The Great British Baking Show,” streaming to a fanatical audience on Netflix.)
The nationally televised program, which pitted six amateur bakers against one another in a series of challenges, was filmed over the course of 20 days at London’s Welford Park and judged by acclaimed British food writer Mary Berry. Tim made it to the final round of cuts, and his work on the piers informed his success.
“Baking is a science but — especially when you’re trying something new -- you can’t always know how it’s going to turn out,” he explains. “Sometimes you just have to let things be whatever they’re going to be, and that’s something we keep in mind here. We’re always doing something crazy, whether we’re remarrying people, hosting a Curley’s Fry-eating contest or letting dogs into the water park. In both baking and on the piers, sometimes you can only plan the beginning.”
(One exception, Tim notes, is that time we launched an actual man out of an actual cannon. In that case, it was pretty important to know *precisely* how things would end…)
For a while after Tim’s TV debut, he was recognized in public and stopped for autographs. We even sold his signature cupcakes out of The Morey’s Store on Mariner’s Landing. Now, he bakes only as a hobby. When it comes to those wacky events we host on the piers, there’s no recipe book to follow, so the structure of baking, he says, provides “a nice change of pace.”
But — good news! — Tim has agreed to step back into the spotlight this week in order to provide Morey’s fans with one of his favorite family recipes, just in time for the holidays: Rohlicky and Danish puff pastry. Picture a Czechoslovakian cross between a Danish and a cookie — Mary Berry approved, of course. See below!
Or, if you’re not the baking type, we’ll have your favorite boardwalk baked goods waiting for you, as always, on the piers this summer. Take heart knowing they meet the standards of even our resident celebrity baker, who’s been known to indulge himself from time to time.
“One of the best parts of this job,” Tim says, “is having funnel cake anytime you want it.”
EPISODE 3 SIGNATURE ROHLÍČKY & DANISH PUFF
- 120g All-Purpose Flour (1c)
- 112g Unsalted Butter (1 stick)
- 1 egg yoke (Large) save White
- 1/4c Full Fat Sour Cream
- ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
- Confectioners Sugar for rolling + dusting
- Egg White from above
- 150g Superfine Sugar (3/4c)
- 1c. Finely Ground Pecans
- ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract
- Cut butter into sifted flour using a pastry cutter.
- Once combined, Add yoke, sour cream and vanilla, mix until combined. (Mixture will be sticky)
- Divide into 2, and wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator. (Usually for a couple hours)
- Finely grind pecans In a Food Processor
- Whisk egg white until foamy.
- Mix in sugar until combined.
- Add nuts and vanilla extract.
- Mix to combine.
- Set aside
Assembly and Baking:
- Pre-heat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius)
- Line half sheet pan with Silpat.
- Using powdered sugar, sprinkle rolling surface and roll one of the dough segments into a 8” circle.
- Spread some of the nut mixture onto the dough with a small offset decorator spatula.
- Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter. (Lightly dust roll in confectioners sugar) cut the dough into 8 triangles.
- Starting from the outside roll each triangle up, and then place on baking sheet in a crescent shape.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown.
- Allow pastry to cool for a couple minutes on tray than transfer to cooling rack.
- Dust with powdered sugar prior to serving.
CRANBERRY THYME DANISH PUFF
- 112g Unsalted Butter (1/2c 1 Stick)
- 125g All-purpose Flour (1c)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Water
- 1 tsp. Fiori Di Sicilia extract
- 112g Unsalted Butter (1/2c 1 Stick)
- 1c Water
- Dash of Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
- 1 tsp. Fiori Di Scilia Extract
- Zest of one medium size orange
- 125g All-Purpose Flour (1c)
- 3 Large eggs
- 2c. Dried Cranberries Chopped
- 1 medium Orange
- 2 tbsp., Granulated sugar
- 1/4c water
- 1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
- 180g Confectioners Sugar ( 1 1/2c)
- 4-6 tsp. water.
- Using a pastry cutter, but the butter into the flour and salt.
- Once well combined, add the water and mix until well combine and forms a ball.
- On a lightly floured silicon sheet. Roll out the pastry to about 6mm, 1/8” in thickness. Cut with oval cutter and transfer silicon sheet to baking sheet.
- In a medium saucepan combine butter, water and salt to a simmer.
- Once simmering add almond extract, stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and add flour, continuously stirring with a wooden spoon until well combined and mixture forms a ball.
- Remove from heat.
- Using the wooden spoon mix in one egg at a time until all are combined.
- Once all are combined continue mixing until mixture become glossy.
- Transfer mixture to pastry bag fitted with a tip.
- Pipe mixture carefully about ½” think onto the unbaked pasty bottoms, all the way to the edges.
- In a small saucepan, combine cranberries chopped, juice of the orange, water, orange zest, and sugar over medium heat.
- Simmer, until the fruit absorb most of the liquid.
- Remove from heat, strain the excess juice away and set aside to cool.
- Combine confectioner’s sugar, 1-2 tsp. of water and vanilla extract.
- Mix until smooth.
- Transfer to disposable decorator bag.
- Preheat Oven to 350° Fahrenheit (176° Celsius)
- Make pastry and puff and assemble.
- Transfer sheet to preheated oven, Bake for ~50mins. Until just golden brown.
- Make Cranberry topping per instructions
- Make Glaze per instructions.
- Allow pastry to cool slightly then top with the cooled cranberry mixture.
- Use a liberal amount of glaze crisscrossing in both directions.
- Allow glaze to set then serve.