Friday, April 23, 2010

It's the American Pie Council contest again!!!

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 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.


  1. Gloria3:12 PM

    Amazing how you two could even taste anything after all those pies! It sounds like great fun, and I so totally know that you could be a pie enterer (word?) yourself.

  2. We watched this on tv a year ago, and thought it was so cool. You should enter in it next time. I bake lowsy pies so that will not happen. I would love to judge it, but don't have any qualifications other than I would say yum to alot of them. Ha.

  3. Thanks for your encouragement, Gloria.

    Mari, no qualifications necessary. Just apply on line. It is a fun day!!

  4. My mother baked fantastic pies and I know some of her secrets, but always thought it was a lot of work! And I don't actually make dessert much. When I do, it's a Hungarian torte or cake, or my favorite Angel Pie which has meringue for a crust, wonderful lemon filling in the center and is topped with whipped creme. I've made it about three times in the last 40 years! The last was for my oldest daughter 16th birthday when we were living in Budapest and she turns 35 on April 30th, next year!

    I think the recipe was from my mother's 40s Joy of Cooking cookbook, with tweaking from her.

    One of the reasons her pies were so flaky and still tender was that she only used milk and butter in the crust. And it was well chilled.

    You should enter next year! Being a judge couldn't have been all that much fun if you had all that disappointment and angst to deal with and the pies were not fantastic. Oh, my.

  5. My daughter turns 35 next week, not next year.

  6. Anonymous5:14 PM

    I gained five pounds from just reading this! When I was a child we had pie for dessert at least three nights a week. I don't know how I stayed so slim back then. My mother was an expert pie maker and so was her mother. I have not had a really good slice of pie since the days when I ate at the 'farmer's table' at the Colony Inn in Amana every night. Unfortunately, I did not continue to be slim from eating there! rw

  7. I love to make pie! I learned from my mom and grandma. I have eaten my share of inedible pies too, so I know how disappointing that is, especially when the pie LOOKS delicious.

    Let me know if you want my secret Coconut Pie recipe. I have been told by Coconut Pie experts that it is the best that they have ever eaten...may be a good one to enter.

    My favorite pie is my Lemon Cloud.

  8. The lattice pie with the heart on top caught my eye. I can't imagine being a judge in a pie contest. I judged a chili contest one year and needed a heartburn tablet. What would you take for a sugar overload?

    Sounds like a fun day. Contests are very stressful on the contestants. I know - I've been in several. As they name the winners, you keep telling yourself, they haven't called me yet - maybe I'm the grand prize winner. You just have to remember it will only happen to one person.

    Great prizes. Thanks for taking us along Susan. As others suggested, you should enter. You know what the judges look for. You're sure to win.

  9. Go for it, Susan! I know you would come out a winner. I love pie, but tasting seventeen of them...that might do me in.

  10. Oh my, so much pie! If I were to practice making pies for a contest, I would run out of people to feed it to!

    You should enter. It would be fun and you know what judges are expecting.

  11. I think you should enter!!!! How great would that be if you won!!!

  12. Thanks for all your comments. And Grandma Tillie, up there is Sitka, Alaska, we have some talking to do!!! I absolutely LOVE coconut cream pie. I feel a merger is going to happen here for us. Will be in touch later. Oh, by the way, I am leaning more and more to "go for it."

  13. Yes, definitely enter.

    Pies are my favorite thing to bake and eat. I just love them. I have requests regularly for Apple Pie. It would be fun to enter.

  14. Wow! How difficult that must be to judge the best. A few calories for the tasters!

  15. Susan, wow, what fun: to be there, judge and know that you can bake a better pie. I think you should definitely do it!

    PS. I am expecting you and Trout to join us in an evening garden walk when you venture this way. ;)

  16. Yumm can I have a bit ....of several.