Ricardo Palacio of Catrinas Bake Shop: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

Ricardo Palacio of Catrinas Bake Shop: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014
Lauren Saria

Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the fifth annual Pie Social from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 15, at the "What Should Go Here" Pop Up Park at Second and Roosevelt streets. We've got an all-star lineup of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now till Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one through a quick Pie.Q. quiz to test their baking prowess.

Today: Ricardo Palacio of Catrinas Bake Shop

When you consider that Richard Palacio spends his mornings baking at Urban Cookies, it's quite remarkable that all he wants to do when he gets back to his charming abode is...bake some more.

That's because Palacio, a self-taught baker who's spent the last ten years or so working in popular restaurant kitchen around town, also has his own custom baking company called Catrinas Bake Shop. Though there's no brick-and-mortar space (yet), Palacio creates picture-perfect cakes, pies, cupcakes, and more to satisfy his customers' sugary needs.

Palacio uses eggs from the 20 chickens he and his husband Calvin raise -- along with five dogs and one cat -- at their home to make his sweet treats. And he only bakes in old school cast iron cookware. In fact, the entire kitchen and house is packed with great vintage finds, in part because Calvin is an antiques dealer. Palacio says he grew up wanting to be an artist but now uses baking to combine his two passions.

"I decided pastry is how I can show my art," he says.

See also: Virginia Senior from Urban Beans: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

Palacio's vintage white KitchenAid stand mixer is from the 1960s.
Palacio's vintage white KitchenAid stand mixer is from the 1960s.
Lauren Saria

It's 15 minutes until Pie Social and you drop a pie: What do you do?

Grab the extra.

What's the single most important tool in pie making?

A good stand mixer.

What's the most important ingredient in a pie crust?

Cold butter.

What's the secret to the perfect fruit filling consistency?

Understanding the fruit you're working with.

Hand pie, pie in a jar, or no mini pies EVER?

I like all pies.

What's on your pie-making playlist?

Blondie.

What will be the next big pie trend?

I think like, free-form, galettes, stuff like that.

You have to make 100 pies in 5 hours. Who you gonna call for help?

Calvin, or my friend, Gwen. She's a pastry chef at LGO.

How do you spend your down time while your pies are in the oven?

Cleaning up or baking something else.

In one word, what's your strategy for competing as a celebrity baker this year?

Just to breathe because I tend to over-think things a lot.

Palacio bakes cinnamon rolls in the kitchen of his Central Phoenix home.
Palacio bakes cinnamon rolls in the kitchen of his Central Phoenix home.
Lauren Saria

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