What can I say? The American Pie Council has once again invited us to be judges of the great American pie contest. So that is where we spent this Saturday. Last year we judged commercial pies and that was fun, but we wanted to get into the really great pies this year, those baked with tender loving care by the amateurs. Many of you are out there, I know. In fact, I am almost, and I emphasize ALMOST, tempted to enter myself.
But, I see the stress and disappointed all around. You have to be very different, unique and an excellent pie baker. It would be a tremendous challenge. Can you imagine....a full year of practicing "pies" and spreading the results among the neighbors. That would have to happen, you know, or else you would never be able to waddle up to the contest.
This year I was at the Fruit/Berry table. The Trout had one of his favorites, Raisin. He said he did not find one pie that was outstanding. I tasted 17 pies and there were two that I found very good. Some were almost inedible. So the whole day, I am tasting and thinking to myself, "I can do better than this."
My very favorite was called Humbleberry Pie. Very excellent crust, blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb with a lattice crust top and drizzled with a powdered sugar frosting. There was also a blueberry that everyone at the table raved about, but I felt it was a little heavy on some spice I wasn't quite sure of.
On The Morning Show on Monday morning, you will see what was filmed today. It was a fun day, but do not be surprised if I am not judging next year and instead, entering a pie or two in the contest. I am going to research in the next year, check out the winners of the last few years and see what pie, if any, seems to win more often, and then start practicing. I also have the added advantage that I only live 30-40 minutes from the hotel where the judging takes place, so I can bake at home and not worry about learning a new oven, forgetting ingredients, etc. It is a good deal all around.
This years winners should be on the Internet at http://www.piecouncil.org/ in the next few weeks. So, does anyone else feel a challenge coming on?
FYI: I thought afterward that I might tell you about the prizes. For Best in Show, $5000, a Sears Kenmore Range, and a Crisco gift basket. $200 and a Crisco gift basket for first place in each flavor category. There are 9 flavor categories.