Where to begin! The Trout and I just came back from Orlando and the Crisco Great American Pie Festival where, together, we tasted and judged a total of 50 pies!! We each tasted 25 pies. How much did we eat? Too much! You would take a piece of pie that had crust, filling and topping and take a small bite of each and then all three parts together. I suppose in total, we probably ate one very large piece of pie.
There were 20 tables with 6 judges at each table. The Trout tasted raisin and new products and I tasted banana cream and coconut cream. These were commercial pies produced by Schwan's, Baker's Square, Lake Geneva Pie Company, Target, Kroger's, etc. Since I sat at a different table than the Trout, I will speak on my experience.
This was great fun!! We tasted about half the pies before lunch. We were really ready for a salty-type lunch which was salad, cold cuts and fruit. What, no dessert?!! Then after lunch we started in again, this time with a little less enthusiasm.We judged the pie on appearance before and after slicing. Then tasted and judged crust, filling, overall appearance and commented on whether we would buy this. The six of us decided that the banana pies were not very good. Several of the pies were a little short on bananas and some just lacked banana flavor. One pie that looked very nice, a banana chocolate brownie pie turned out to have a flavor that was not very appealing. The coconut cream pies were a little more appealing.
After all the judging which took about 4 1/2 hours, we could go into a room and see where the pies came from.
I talked to a contestant from Miami with a Cuban background. She is in the amateur contest which starts tomorrow. In this picture you can see how the cooking sections are set up. One of her entries is a guava cream cheese pie which looked very good. Last year she had 3 honorable mentions so she is ready for this year.
The Trout had an interesting gentleman at his table. On the right is Jim, who is a former chef and owner of a restaurant. It's people like this that really make the day a lot of fun.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. I hope we can do this again next year, but the next time we hope to judge the amateur contestants. They go all out with some wonderful pies. We met, Valerie, who two years ago won top prize with her cherry pie. This year she has 7 pies entered. The two that got my attention were black forest cherry pie and lingonberry pie.
We left the convention center, very FULL, but before I headed home, I just had to squeeze the Pillsbury Doughboy and the California Raisin. Want to join us next year? Come on down. Please pass the Alka-Seltzer!