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Artist Bakes Apple Pies for North Salem

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- Professor Kate Marohn Bartsch teaches art at Pace University, where she is also the curator of the art gallery. When she’s not working or tending to her family in Purdys hamlet, she bakes apple pies for Salinger’s Orchards.

“My husband and I were early victims of the bad economy,” Bartsch said. “I saw an ad for a baker in the Penny Saver. My grandmother was a great baker and I always thought it would be a great job, so I applied.” 

Bartsch studied painting at Northern Illinois University and earned a master’s degree at the University of Montana. Now, she has been baking part-time for Salinger’s for five years.

“For me, the job is aromatherapy,” Bartsch said. “I get to smell baked goods all day long. It puts you in a good mood. Being an artist, I like making things. To me it feels like sculpture.”

For the pies, Bartsch mixes the pastry flour with shortening, salt, apple cider and a little water. They run the dough through a pastry sheeter to make a flat sheet and there’s a machine that stamps the bottoms into tins. The next day they fill the pies. The apples are already cored and sliced by machine, boxed up and waiting in another part of the building. 

“The filling is simple and unadulterated,” Bartsch said. “We mix the apples with sugar and spices like cinnamon, add lemon juice and apple cider and a little flour. We use all kinds of apples, so the pies are different, depending on which apples we’re using.” 

It is the slow season at Salinger’s, so Bartsch only produces about 25 pies every Thursday. In addition to apple pies, there are cherry, blueberry, mixed berry, strawberry-rhubarb and peach pies. 

“The apple pies are made with fresh apples year-round,” Bartsch said.

In between pies, Bartsch creates a variety of cookies and brownies. She also bakes at home. 

“My husband loves apple cider and ice cream,” Bartsch said. “We can’t eat our pie without ice cream. So if there’s no ice cream in the house, we have to go out and get some before we can eat our pie.” 

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