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Title:
PITA-ENWRAPPED PATTY FOOD PRODUCTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/066637
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
In one embodiment, an apparatus having a bottom board and a top board is used to make pita-enveloped falafel products. The bottom board has an array of apertures and the top board has a corresponding array of matching projections. Falafel mix is spread over the bottom board to fill the apertures to form falafel patties. The top board is then aligned atop the bottom board, and the bottom board is raised so that the projections push the patties out of the apertures of the bottom board. The patties are then frozen. The frozen patties are subsequently partially cooked by deep frying, then enveloped in raw pita dough to form patty products, which are later baked to completion for consumption.

Inventors:
CHANSKY, Tova (18608 Hollow Crest Drive, Brookeville, MD, 20833, US)
Application Number:
US2016/057141
Publication Date:
April 20, 2017
Filing Date:
October 14, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CHANSKY, Tova (18608 Hollow Crest Drive, Brookeville, MD, 20833, US)
International Classes:
A21C11/12; A21B3/13; A21B5/00; A21C9/06; A22C7/00; A22C21/00; B29C43/04; B65D21/04
Foreign References:
US6386854B12002-05-14
Other References:
ALTON BROWN: "Falafel", FOODNETWORK, 22 April 2014 (2014-04-22), XP055378595, Retrieved from the Internet
NATASHA'S KITCHEN: "Russian Pelmini Recipe + New Dough!", 9 May 2011 (2011-05-09), Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20161216]
ERIN MCDOWELL: "Everything You Need To Know About Par Baking", FOOD52, 18 July 2014 (2014-07-18), XP055378596, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20161229]
"Homemade Four Cheese Ravioli", ALLRECIPES, 1 September 2015 (2015-09-01), XP055378598, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20161216]
KING ARTHUR FLOUR: "Homemade Pierogi", KINGARTHURFLOUR, 15 November 2010 (2010-11-15), XP055378600, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20161216]
"Freezing Ricotta Ravioli Question", CHOWHOUND, 22 November 2010 (2010-11-22), Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20161216]
"Cooking frozen ravioli, but not boiling", CHOWHOUND, 25 February 2009 (2009-02-25), Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20161216]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MEISAROSH, Edward, J. et al. (Mendelsohn Dunleavy, P.C.1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd.,Suite 31, Philadelphia PA, 19102, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

I claim:

1. A method for food preparation, the method comprising:

(a) preparing a raw spreadable mix from a first set of ingredients;

(b) placing a portion of the mix atop a first board having an array of apertures;

(c) filling the apertures with the mix to form a corresponding array of patties;

(d) aligning a second board with and atop the first board, wherein:

the second board comprises a support structure and an array of projections connected to the support structure;

the array of projections corresponds to the array of apertures; and

step (d) results in each projection of the array of projections aligning with a

corresponding aperture of the array of apertures;

(e) mating the first and second boards, wherein the array of projections pushes the array of patties out of the corresponding array of apertures to release the array of patties; and

(f) cooking one or more of the patties of the array of patties.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein:

each aperture of the array of apertures is a cylindrical aperture having a first diameter; and each projection of the array of projections is a cylindrical projection having a second diameter dimensioned to provide a clearance fit with a corresponding aperture of the array of apertures.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the arrays of projections and apertures are arranged such that, when the first and second boards are properly aligned and mated, all of the projections of the array of projections fit inside the corresponding apertures of the array of apertures.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the mix is a falafel mix that does not incorporate any added binders. 5. The method of claim 4, wherein the falafel mix does not incorporate any flour.

6. The method of claim 4, wherein:

the method further comprises, after step (e) but before step (f), freezing the patties of the array of patties; and

step (e) comprises frying the one or more frozen patties.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein:

step (b) comprises putting the first board on top of a holding mat;

step (e) comprises releasing the array of patties on top of the holding mat;

the method further comprises, after step (e) but before step (f), moving the holding mat and the array of patties together into a freezer and freezing the array of patties while atop the holding mat; and

step (e) comprises frying the one or more of the frozen patties.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein step (c) comprises using a scraper having a width greater than a width of the first board to fill the apertures with the mix to form the corresponding array of patties.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the first board comprises two opposing handles for gripping the first board.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the handles are recesses on two opposing sides of the first board.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein step (f) comprises partially cooking the one or more patties for 40%-80% of the cooking time required to fully cook the one or more patties.

12. The method of claim 1, further comprising:

(g) enwrapping each of one or more patties in raw pita dough to form a pita-enwrapped patty product.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein:

the raw pita dough is in the form of first and second sheets of pita dough; and

step (g) comprises:

(gl) placing each patty of the one or more patties on the first pita-dough sheet;

(g2) then placing the second pita-dough sheet atop the one or more patties atop the first pita-dough sheet; and

(g3) then using a cutting tool to cut out and connect together sections of the first and second pita-dough sheets corresponding to the one or more patties.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising (g4) then compressing the pita dough around the patty of the pita-enwrapped patty product to remove air pockets within the pita-enwrapped patty product.

15. The method of claim 13, further comprising (g4) then shaping the pita dough around the patty of the pita-enwrapped patty product to enlarge an air pocket within the pita-enwrapped patty product.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising:

(g5) then baking the pita-enwrapped patty product;

(g6) then slitting the pita of the baked pita-enwrapped patty product; and

(g7) then adding a filling atop the patty inside the baked pita-enwrapped patty product.

17. The method of claim 12, further comprising:

(h) then freezing the pita-enwrapped patty products; and

(]) subsequently baking the frozen pita-enwrapped patty products.

18. A patty made in accordance with the method of claim 1.

19. A pita-enwrapped patty product made in accordance with the method of claim 12.

Description:
PITA-ENWRAPPED PATTY FOOD PRODUCTS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional

Application Nos. 62/241,803, filed on October 15, 2015, and 62/395,848, filed on September 16, 2016, the teachings of both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Field

[0003] The current disclosure relates to food preparation, and more specifically, but not exclusively, to forming pita-enwrapped patty food products.

[0004] Description of the Related Art

[0005] Traditionally, falafel patties are made by mixing together raw ground beans - such as, for example, chickpeas or fava beans - with spices and herbs to form a coarse paste-like mixture. Note that the chickpea is also known as, for example, garbanzo bean, chana, and gram. The mixture is then used to form patties or balls that are deep fried until fully cooked. Flour or some other binder is often added to the mixture to help keep the patties together and prevent them from falling apart while being fried. The fried patties are then typically either inserted into pita pockets together with vegetables and a sauce or added to a platter with a grain, vegetables, and sauce.

[0006] Pita bread is conventionally used to contain and serve middle-eastern food products, such as falafel, shawarma, and kebab meat. The pita is formed as a flat, generally circular soft bread that is either folded in half to hold its contents or sliced open and stuffed with those contents. The contents are prepared and/or cooked separately from the process of cooking the pita dough into bread, and there is no point at which those contents even come into contact with raw pita dough for any purpose.

SUMMARY

[0007] One embodiment of the disclosure can be a method for food preparation, the method comprising (a) preparing a raw spreadable mix from a first set of ingredients, (b) placing a portion of the mix atop a first board having an array of apertures, (c) filling the apertures with the mix to form a corresponding array of patties, and (d) aligning a second board with and atop the first board. The second board comprises a support structure and an array of projections connected to the support structure. The array of projections corresponds to the array of apertures. Step (d) results in each projection of the array of projections aligning with a corresponding aperture of the array of apertures. The method further comprises (e) mating the first and second boards, wherein the array of projections pushes the array of patties out of the corresponding array of apertures to release the array of patties, and(f) cooking one or more of the patties of the array of patties.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Other aspects, features, and advantages of the disclosure will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description, the appended claims, and the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals identify similar or identical elements.

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary apparatus in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a flowchart of a process in accordance with one embodiment of the invention for making baked patty products using the apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes part of the apparatus of FIG. 1 at a particular step of the process of FIG. 2;

[0012] FIGS. 4 and 5 are perspective views of an assembly that includes the apparatus of FIG. 1 in subsequent steps of the process of FIG. 2;

[0013] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes a portion of the assembly of FIG. 3 in a further subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2;

[0014] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an assembly in accordance with an alternative embodiment;

[0015] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes portions of the assembly of FIG. 6 in a subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2;

[0016] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the assembly of FIG. 8 in a subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2;

[0017] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes a portion of the assembly of FIG. 9 in a subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2;

[0018] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes a portion of the assembly of FIG. 10 in a subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2;

[0019] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes elements of the assembly of FIG. 10 in a subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2;

[0020] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes elements of the assembly of FIG. 12 in a subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2; [0021] FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an assembly that includes elements of the assembly of FIG. 13 in a subsequent step of the process of FIG. 2; and

[0022] FIGS. 15 and 16 are perspective views of a baked and ready to eat pita-enwrapped patty product that is the result of baking the patty product of FIG. 12 without compressing the pita dough of the patty product.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] One embodiment of the invention is a system for the efficient formation of uniformly sized falafel patties for envelopment in pita bread. Another embodiment of the invention is a method of using the system for the efficient formation of uniformly sized falafel patties. Yet another embodiment of the invention is the envelopment of the patties in pita bread for baking, which creates a new type of food product that is both delicious and easy to prepare, both by restaurants and other food-service providers and home consumers. This pita-based food product may be enjoyed at home, retail locations, convenience and fast- food operations, grocery stores, restaurants, and the like.

[0024] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary apparatus 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The apparatus 100 comprises a top board 101 and a bottom board 102. The boards 101 and 102 are made of a food-safe material that is substantially non-stick or low-stick, such as, for example, high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The boards 101 and 102 are rectangular having substantially the same length and width.

[0025] The top board 101 comprises a support structure 103 on the top side of the top board 101 and a 6 by 8 array 104 of 48 cylindrical projections 107, each having a height h, on the bottom side of the top board 101 and directly connected to the support structure 103. The bottom board 102 has a thickness 105 and comprises a corresponding 6 by 8 array 106 of 48 cylindrical apertures 108. The height h of each projection 107 is substantially the same as the thickness 105 of the bottom board 102.

[0026] Each cylindrical projection 107 of the array 104 of the top board 101 corresponds to a cylindrical aperture 108 of the array 106 of the bottom board 102 and is sized to comfortably fit in the corresponding aperture 108. The diameter of each cylindrical projection 107 is slightly smaller than the diameter of the corresponding aperture 108 so that the projection 107 has a clearance fit in the corresponding aperture 108, such that the projection 107 can both (i) push out substantially the entirety of the contents of the aperture 108 when the boards 101 and 102 are mated and (ii) subsequently be easily retractable from inside the aperture 108 when the boards 101 and 102 are un-mated. The projection array 104 and the corresponding aperture array 106 are dimensioned and arranged so that each projection 107 fills its corresponding aperture 108 when the top board 101 is properly aligned with the bottom board 102 and the boards 101 and 102 are mated together. In other words, when the boards 101 and 102 are properly aligned and mated, all of the projections 107 are brought inside corresponding apertures 108 and are not visible from the sides of the boards

101 and 102. The bottoms 109 of the projections 107, however, would be visible from below the bottom board 102. In addition, the sides of the support structure 103 would be visible from the sides of the mated boards 101 and 102. Note that the top 110 of the bottom board

102 and the bottom 111 of the support structure 103 would be in contact with each other and would not be visible when the boards 101 and 102 are mated.

[0027] FIG. 2 is a flowchart of a process 200 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention for making baked patty products using the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1. The steps of the process 200 are discussed below with accompanying figures illustrating several of the steps. The process starts with making a batch of falafel mix (step 201), which may be made by mixing together - using, for example, a food processor - chickpeas, onion, garlic, herbs, and spices, without incorporating any added binders such as, for example, flour.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an assembly 300 that includes part of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1 in a subsequent step of the process 200 of FIG. 2. The bottom board 102 is placed on a holding mat 301, which is, in turn, placed on top of a work surface 302 (e.g. , a counter top). The holding mat 301 functions as a flat support surface. The top board 101 is put aside so that the top 110 of the bottom board 102 is exposed.

[0029] A portion (not shown) of the falafel mix is placed on the top 110 of the bottom board 102 (step 202) and then a scraper (not shown) is used to spread the falafel mix around the bottom board 102 to fill in all of the apertures 108 of the array 106 such that each aperture 108 gets filled with an equivalent amount of falafel mix to form a corresponding patty 303

(step 203). The tops and bottoms of each patty 303 substantially match the corresponding top and bottom levels of the bottom board 102. In other words, each patty 303 is a cylinder whose dimensions substantially match those of the corresponding aperture 108 - as well as the corresponding projection 107. The height of each patty 303 is, thus, the same as the thickness 105 of the bottom board 102.

[0030] Together, the patties 303 form a patty array 304 corresponding to the array 106 of apertures 108. The volume of the falaf el-mix portion should be somewhat larger than the total volume of all of the apertures 108 of the array 106, such that following the scraping and spreading, each aperture 108 is completely filled with mix, but without leaving behind too much excess mix after the apertures 108 are filled up. The excess mix, which drops off the sides of the bottom board 102 onto the work surface 302, may subsequently be recombined with the rest of the unused mix for use in making additional batches of patties.

[0031] The above-mentioned scraper may be any food-safe straight-edged tool that may be grasped by hand and used to move the falafel mix around the top 110 of the bottom board 102 so as to fill the apertures 108 with the mix. The scraper may be, for example, a rectangular board, a dough scraper, a masonry scraper, or a trowel. In one alternative implementation, the scraper is wider than the width of the bottom board 102 and includes curved or bent wings on its opposing sides to prevent the falafel mix from falling off the sides of the top 110 of the bottom board 102 as the apertures 108 are getting filled with the mix.

[0032] FIGS. 4 and 5 are perspective views of an assembly 400 that includes the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1 in subsequent steps of the process 200 of FIG. 2. FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an assembly 600 that includes a portion of the assembly 300 of FIG. 3 in a further subsequent step of the above-described process 200 of FIG. 2.

[0033] After the patties 303 are formed in the corresponding apertures 108 of the bottom board 102, in the steps corresponding to FIGS. 4 and 5, the top board 101 is aligned with the bottom board 102 such that each projection 107 of the array 104 is concentrically aligned with the corresponding aperture 108 of the array 106 (step 204). With the top board 101 held in place, the bottom board 102 is lifted up off the holding mat 301 until the top 110 of the bottom board 102 comes in contact with the bottom 111 of the support structure 103 of the top board 101 (step 205). As a result, the projections 107 of the top board 101 effectively push the corresponding patties 303 out of the corresponding apertures 108 of the bottom board 102, leaving the array 304 of uniformly sized and shaped patties 303 resting on the holding mat 301, as seen in FIG. 6.

[0034] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an assembly 700 in accordance with an alternative embodiment. The assembly 700 is similar to the assembly 400 of FIG. 5, but with an alternative bottom board 702 instead of the bottom board 102 of the assembly 400. The bottom board 702 includes two opposing recesses 720 (note that the recess 720 on the opposite side of the board 702 is not shown in FIG. 7). The recess 720 allows for improved grip for lifting the bottom board 702, without impeding use of the scraper during the below- described aperture-filling step. Similar recesses (not shown) on the top board 701 may also aid in alignment of the boards, as well as provide improved grip. Note that alternative embodiments may use grip-enhancing features other than recesses, such as, for example, handles, grooves, indentations, or other depressions or projections in or on the sides of the boards.

[0035] Subsequently, the array 304 of patties 303 is placed in a freezer (not shown) so that the patties 303 freeze (step 206). Holding mat 301 is preferably a thin and flexible mat made of a food-safe material. The holding mat 301 and the patty array 304 may be placed on top of a rigid platform - such as, for example, the underside of a baking tray (not shown) - for transfer to, and storage in, the freezer. The apparatus 100 may be used to make multiple arrays 304 of patties 303. A multi-rack freezer may be used to store and freeze the multiple arrays 304 together in the freezer.

[0036] After the patties 303 are frozen, they may be easily removed from the holding mat 301 by, for example, being pulled off, scraped off, or popped off by bending the holding mat 301. The frozen patties 303 may then be placed in a deep fryer (not shown) for cooking (step 207). Since they are frozen, the patties 303 stay cohesive and do not fall apart in the fryer even though they do not include any added binder. The patties 303 may be fully cooked at this time.

[0037] In one alternative embodiment, the patties 303 are removed from the fryer before they are fully cooked. The patties 303 may be, for example, cooked for 40-80% of the cooking time required to fully cook the patties 303 by deep frying. For example, in one embodiment, the full cooking time for patties 303 is seven minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and the patties 303 are fried for only four minutes (or about 57% of the cooking time) to partially cook them. The partially cooked patties 303 may be drained and, once sufficiently cooled, enveloped in raw pita dough for subsequent baking. The subsequent baking of a pita- enveloped patty completes the cooking of the patty so that the baked pita-enveloped falafel has a fully cooked falafel inside a fully baked pita.

[0038] Note that conventional food products do not involve cooking raw pita dough with the contents already inside. Accordingly, further embodiments described below provide a pita-enwrapped food product made using raw dough that is baked with its contents already inside. The pita-enwrapped food product may be smaller than a conventional pita bread sandwich, such as bite-sized, and may be sized to conform to its contents, e.g. , sized slightly larger than a single falafel patty 303.

[0039] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an assembly 800 that includes portions of the assembly 600 of FIG. 6 in a subsequent step of the above-described process 200 of FIG. 2. The assembly 800 comprises first and second sheets 821 and 822 of pita dough lying atop the work surface 302. The pita-dough sheets 821 and 822 may be made using conventional pita dough made from water, flour, yeast, and salt, which has been kneaded and allowed to rise and then rolled or pulled flat (step 208). Note that the pita-dough sheets 821 and 822 may be made at any time before they are needed for the following steps and may even be made before step 201. The assembly 800 further comprises three partially fried patties 823, which result from the partial frying of three patties 303 of FIG. 6. The patties 823 are placed on top of the first pita-dough sheet 821 (step 209).

[0040] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the assembly 800 of FIG. 8 in a subsequent step of the process 200 of FIG. 2. Specifically, FIG. 9 shows the assembly 800 after the second pita-dough sheet 822 is placed atop the patties 823 and the first pita-dough sheet 821 such that the patties 823 are completely covered and the first and second pita-dough sheets 821 and 822 are generally in alignment with each other (step 210). At this stage, as can be seen, the patties 823 are loosely enveloped by the pita-dough sheets 821 and 822.

[0041] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an assembly 1000 that includes a portion of the assembly 800 of FIG. 9 in a subsequent step of the process 200 of FIG. 2. The assembly 1000 includes a cup 1001, which is used to cut out sections of the pita-dough sheets 822 and 821 corresponding to the patty 823 (step 211). The cup 1001 has an opening diameter sized slightly larger than the patty-and-dough combination that is to be formed from the patty 823 and the corresponding sections of the pita-dough sheets 822 and 821. Note that the cutting by pressing action by the cup 1001 also connects together and partially binds the cut-out corresponding sections of the pita-dough sheets 822 and 821. Nevertheless, some additional dough shaping - such as, for example, the below-described compression - may be needed to form a secure seam between the cut-out corresponding sections of the pita-dough sheets 822 and 821 and around the patty 823.

[0042] Note that a cookie-cutter (not shown) may be used instead of the cup 1001 for easier cutting of the pita-dough sheets and easier removal of the pita-dough-enveloped patty 823. Note also that an array of cookie-cutters may be used to simultaneously cut and form a plurality of pita-dough-enveloped patties.

[0043] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an assembly 1100 that includes a portion of the assembly 1000 of FIG. 10 in a subsequent step of the process 200 of FIG. 2. The assembly 1100 includes the now-separated uncooked pita-enveloped patty product 1123, which includes the patty 823 and corresponding portions of the pita-dough sheets 822 and 821 of FIG. 10. The product 1123 may be separated from the remainder of the assembly 1100 by lifting the remaining sections 1122 and 1121 of, respectively, pita-dough sheets 822 and 821, as shown in FIG. 11 (step 212). Alternatively, the uncooked product 1123 may be removed from the rest of the assembly 1100, leaving behind the remainders 1122 and 1121.

[0044] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an assembly 1200 that includes elements of the assembly 1000 of FIG. 10 in a subsequent step of the process 200 of FIG. 2. The assembly 1200 includes three uncooked pita-enveloped patty products 1123 and the remains 1222 and 1221 of, respectively, pita-dough sheets 822 and 821 of FIG. 10. Depending on whether a particular patty product is intended to be fillable or not (step 213), the patty product 1123 may be baked substantially as is (step 215) in an oven (not shown) or first compressed (e.g. , by hand) around the patty 823 to remove air pockets and tightly envelop the patty 823 in the raw pita dough (step 214) prior to baking.

[0045] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an assembly 1300 that includes elements of the assembly 1200 of FIG. 12 following step 214 of the process 200 of FIG. 2. The assembly 1300 includes three patty products 1323 that resulted from the above-described shaping and compressing of the pita dough of the patty products 1123 of FIG. 12. The patty products 1123 are atop a baking tray 1330 for baking. The patty products 1123 may be baked at 450°F for 3 minutes (step 217).

[0046] FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an assembly 1400 that includes elements of the assembly 1300 of FIG. 13 following the step 217 of the process 200 of FIG. 2. The assembly 1400 includes a fully baked and ready-to-eat pita-enwrapped patty product 1423 that is the result of baking the patty product 1323 of FIG. 13 (step 217) following

compression (step 214). The baking produced (i) a pita layer 1431 from the pita-dough of the product 1323 and (ii) a fully cooked patty 1433 from the fried, partially cooked patty 823 of FIG. 8. The patty product 1423 has been cut in half to show that the pita layer 1431 tightly enwraps the now fully cooked patty 1433. The patty product 1423 may be dipped in a sauce such as, for example, a tahini sauce (not shown).

[0047] FIGS. 15 and 16 are perspective views of a baked and ready to eat pita-enwrapped patty product 1523 that is the result of baking the patty product 1123 of FIG. 12 (step 215) without compressing the pita dough of the patty product 1123. Because the compressing step was omitted, there are gaps between the patty and the enveloping pita. Alternatively, prior to baking (step 215), the raw pita dough of the product 1123 may be shaped and pulled away from the patty 823 that is inside in order to make a relatively large air pocket inside the pita dough for even larger gaps between the patty and the pita.

[0048] As shown in FIG. 15, the baked patty product 1523 has been slit to expose the now fully cooked patty 1533 - corresponding to the patty 823 of FIG. 8 - enclosed in baked pita pocket 1531 - corresponding to the raw pita dough of the patty product 1123. Filling such as, for example, tahini sauce 1635 or hummus (not shown) may then be added inside the slit-open patty product 1523 (step 216).

[0049] In some alternative embodiments, various fillings may be added to the patty 823 inside the patty product 1123 before baking. These fillings may be added, for example, between steps 209 and 210. Alternatively, the fillings may be added after step 212, but before baking, by opening the raw pita dough, inserting the filling, and then closing the raw pita dough around the patty and the filling. However, care should be used in choosing such fillings so that they do not cause the dough to break open during baking.

[0050] Note that, in some alternative embodiments, the unbaked patty products 1323 of FIG. 13 or 1123 of FIG. 12 may be frozen for storage and/or distribution. The frozen unbaked patty products 1323 or 1123 may be subsequently baked (steps 217 or 215) at a later time and a different location, where the baking may be performed on still-frozen patty products 1323 or 1123 or following a thawing of the patty products. This delayed baking allows for the fresh baking of the patty products 1323 or 1123 on-site at a restaurant or home, at a time and location closer to when they will be consumed, for a tastier final product.

[0051] Note that the invention is not limited to pita dough, and another dough may be used in alternative embodiments. The invention is also not limited to falafel patties, and other contents may be used, such as, for example and without limitation, shawarma, meatballs, or kebab meat.

[0052] In one alternative embodiment, the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1 includes a mechanical means for making easier the alignment of the projections 107 of the array 104 with the apertures 108 of the array 106.

[0053] In one alternative embodiment, the apparatus 100 includes features to make easier the pressing together of the boards 101 and 102 after the alignment of step 204 of FIG. 2.

[0054] In one alternative embodiment, the patties 823 of FIG. 8 are fully cooked prior to envelopment in the pita-dough sheets 821 and 822 of FIGS. 8-10.

[0055] In some alternative embodiments, the patties 823 are made by a system different than the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1. In some of these alternative embodiments, the patties 823 that are enwrapped with pita dough have non-cylindrical shapes, such as, for example and without limitation, substantially spherical or ovoid shapes.

[0056] In some alternative embodiments, the height h of projection 107 may be less than thickness 105 if the material of the apertures 108 is sufficiently non-sticky to allow the corresponding projections 107 to sufficiently push them out during mating of the boards 101 and 102. In some other alternative embodiments the height h may be greater than the thickness 105 for easier pushing out of the patties 303.

[0057] Note that, in some alternative embodiments, the projections and apertures have a cross-section that is non-circular. In other words, the projections and corresponding apertures may be non-cylindrical prisms such as ovoid prisms, rectangular prisms, or triangular prisms.

[0058] Note that, in some alternative embodiments, some or all of the processing steps of the process 200 of FIG. 2 may be automated.

[0059] Note that, in some alternative embodiments, some of the steps of the process 200 of FIG. 2 may be omitted. For example, in some embodiments, step 206 of freezing the patties may be skipped.

[0060] It will be understood that various additional changes in the details, materials, and arrangements of the parts which have been described and illustrated in order to explain the nature of this invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as expressed in the following claims. For example, alternative embodiments may use different board dimensions, material for the boards, arrangements and/or dimensions of arrays of projections and apertures, scrapers, mixes. Different variations of methods for producing a pita-enwrapped food product may be used in different embodiments, and those methods may be varied and adjusted based on, e.g., contents, pita dough type and size, and production/recipe specifications.

[0061] Reference herein to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment can be included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of the phrase "in one embodiment" in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, nor are separate or alternative embodiments necessarily mutually exclusive of other embodiments. The same applies to the term "implementation."

[0062] Unless explicitly stated otherwise, each numerical value and range should be interpreted as being approximate as if the word "about" or "approximately" preceded the value of the value or range. As used in this application, unless otherwise explicitly indicated, the term "connected" is intended to cover both direct and indirect connections between elements.

[0063] The use of figure numbers and/or figure reference labels in the claims is intended to identify one or more possible embodiments of the claimed subject matter in order to facilitate the interpretation of the claims. Such use is not to be construed as limiting the scope of those claims to the embodiments shown in the corresponding figures. [0064] The embodiments covered by the claims in this application are limited to embodiments that (1) are enabled by this specification and (2) correspond to statutory subject matter. Non-enabled embodiments and embodiments that correspond to non-statutory subject matter are explicitly disclaimed even if they fall within the scope of the claims.

[0065] Although the steps in the following method claims are recited in a particular sequence with corresponding labeling, unless the claim recitations otherwise imply a particular sequence for implementing some or all of those steps, those steps are not necessarily intended to be limited to being implemented in that particular sequence.