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An apple pie a day…

Pastry chef Paul Pamaran-Zamora makes apple pies from a recipe he adopted from his mother. It’s a comfort food he grew up enjoying, and by baking apple pies and selling them online through Lulu’s Pie, he continues the legacy left by his mother.

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it is true. An apple, after all, is a very nutritious fruit. It is a good source of vitamin C and contains significant amounts of fiber, potassium and vitamin K.

One medium-size apple is already equivalent to one and a half cups of fruit, which meets 75 percent of the two cups of fruit recommendation for a 2,000-calorie daily diet. An apple also provides polyphenols, including the flavonoid epicatechin, which helps lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease and lower the risk of stroke. Polyphenols, in general, contain antioxidant properties.

High in soluble fiber, an apple can likewise lower bad cholesterol levels.

Pastry chef Paul Pamaran Zamora bakes apple pies in cans following his late mom’s recipe.

What’s more: Studies show that eating an apple a day may actually lower the risk of many other diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, bone degeneration, and mental decline.

But for pastry chef Paul Pamaran-Zamora, an apple is more than just a good source of nutrition. It is also the cornerstone of his business, Lulu’s Pie, which he named after his late mother, Marilou “Lulu” Pamaran-Zamora. He makes apple pies from a recipe he adopted from his mother. It’s a comfort food he grew up enjoying, and by baking apple pies and selling them online, he continues the legacy left by his mother and is able to share the blessing of good pastry with others while earning his keep at the same time.

“My mom started baking apple pies in 2001. She had just come back from one of her trips to the United States, where she got the idea of creating an apple pie that would suit the Filipino palate. When she came home, she immediately enrolled in Sylvia Reynoso Gala’s baking class. Before long, she was baking and selling apple pies,” says Paul.

Lulu’s signature apple pie. / PHOTOGRPAHS COURTESY OF DOLLY DY-ZULUETA

He adds: “Mom constantly simmered apples with cinnamon at 5 a.m. and the scent of butter crust would wake me up.”

And then, when it was time to put the basket-weave top crust on her apple pies, she would look for Paul and allow him to lend a hand. The youngest among three kids but the one most inclined to culinary arts, he was 16 years old then, about to enter college, and loving the hands-on experience in his mom’s baking business. So, he enrolled in Culinary Arts at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and decided, with finality, to pursue a career in pastry.

In 2018, however, Paul got sidelined by his pursuit of yet another dream — that of being a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines (PAL). It was also the same year when his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. His mom had a truly tough battle against the disease and just when Paul became an official member of the flight crew of PAL, his mom succumbed to the illness. That was November 2019.

Strawberry ensaymadas.

Not long after, the Covid-19 pandemic happened, and Paul’s career as part of the cabin crew of PAL was significantly affected. So, even as he continued to grieve for the loss of his mom, he had to make efforts to find alternate sources of income. Surprisingly, he drew inspiration from his mom herself.

“Despite her absence, her strength and love never failed to remind me to continue moving forward,” says Paul.

Chicken pie.

Inspired by the days when he and his mom used to bake together, Paul went back to his original passion, making pastry. He decided to continue his mom’s legacy by creating Lulu’s Pie and making her apple pie the centerpiece of his new baking business. As a pastry chef, he injected his own personality into the pie, though, while keeping the “essence” of his mom’s apple pie. While his mom used to bake it in aluminum baking pans, Paul assembles and bakes his apple pie, which he now calls Lulu’s Apple Pie, in food-grade, six-inch round aluminum cans, both for aesthetic appeal and for durability and easy transport during delivery.

It is also the same form, assembled and baked and then delivered in food-grade, six-inch round aluminum cans, that he developed his savory offering, the chicken pie. Stuffed generously with whole chunks of chicken with carrots and potatoes, the chicken pie with Chicken a la King filling now also commands its own following among Lulu’s Pie customers.

ENSAYMADA

A promising pastry chef, Paul also spent long hours in the kitchen developing other products, such as Quezo Rolls, which is his take on classic cheese rolls, as well as a whole line of ensaymadas. The latter comes in four variants: Classic Ensaymada, Ube Ensaymada, Dulce de Leche Ensaymada and Torched Ensaymada. For the recent Mother’s Day celebration, he even released a limited-edition, super special strawberry ensaymada. It is his answer to the rage of these times, the strawberry donuts, but in ensaymada form.

“It is really just comforting to use my mom’s recipes and combine it with my own culinary background,” says Paul, who whipped up the delightful dulce de leche sauce, ube filling, strawberry cream and torched topping while sticking to his mom’s classic ensaymada recipe.

Quezo Rolls. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF DOLLY DY-ZULUETA

Paul’s kitchen is open for delivery every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Orders may be placed through Facebook (Lulu’s Pie), Instagram (@Luluspie) or mobile phone (0921-5444848).

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