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As American As Apple Pie: Results 2012

October 15, 2012

Tensions are high. Hands are wringing. Everybody is just trying to make it through these trying times. Many will tell you the choice is clear, but we know better. Choices this important are never cut and dry, in fact sometimes dredging, basting, and taking daring measures will be necessary. How could a choice be clear when the 25 amateur bakers who lobbied for votes today had over 30 varieties of apples from which to choose in the building of their pie platform?

The Full Array of Pies

While every pie from our record-breaking turnout began with a beautiful and flaky white crust, from there the diversity was astounding.  The 25 bakers arrived from all walks of life and carried in steaming beacons of Americana all with their own unique twist: Traditional, Conservative, Radical, Flamboyant, Non-Conforming and so much more. Of the 169 apples used to create these masterpieces, 18 different varieties were used. 16.5% of all apples used were Northern Spy, the most used of any apple. Granny Smith made up 13% of apples with Macoun and Cortland close behind. See the Pie Pie Chart Below for more details.

The pies were a melting pot of apple varieties and flavors, and were lined up ceremoniously for the judging panel to rule on.  We are grateful that our judges were able to diligently ply through the many offerings and rate them individually on taste, presentation, and overall strength of character.  Our distinguished panel of honorable tasters included five luminaries of the apple world.

L to R: Jon Clements, Jen Heberlein, Merri Klingerman, Emily Williams, and Ilene Bezahler

Firstly, last year’s winner, Emily Williams, was gracious enough to judge and even brought a handmade apron to present to her successor. Our new house pastry chef, Jen Heberlein, brought a critical tongue to the meet, and despite her refined palate, was perhaps the most generous of the scorers. Our former pastry chef, Merri Klingerman, graced us with her presence again, a former employee who in past years kept the staff well fed on apple crisp and peach crumble, we knew she had the chops for this. Ilene Bezahler, editor of edibleBoston Magazine, is a strong supporter of burgeoning and local food, and we are thankful she was willing to try so much of it today.  Last but not least we were pleased to host Jon Clements, Fruit Tree Expert from the UMass Extension Agency. It was his first time to visit our farm and we were only too happy to show off our apple selection to him. We were told if we needed to know anything about apples in New England he is the man to talk to, so it seems pies fall into that category.

So, after much deliberation and bites and palate cleansing and fresh plates, Teri took the judges ballots to the tabulation desk, In her absence, The crowd that had been rumbling was loosed upon the remainder of the pies. Within minutes most of them had vanished under the ravenous claws and plastic forks of the contestants, their families and onlookers who wanted to judge the competition for themselves.

Teri returned with the results and announced quickly that there had been a four way tie for Best Presentation. The following bakers’ pies had the judges eyes from the beginning: Sofie Yellin, Susan Murdock, Mary Wood, and Patty Morrison all received a $10 gift card to Volante Farms.

Then Zoe Lockhart was announced as the third place pie. Her Sour cream Apple Pie was adapted from a Martha Stewart Living Recipe and used Idared apples. The judges liked the tartness of the Idareds as well as the sugary crust. Zoe received a prize of $30 Volante Farms Gift Card and a copy of the edibleCommunities Cookbook, a beautiful collection of local food and recipes from around the country donated by Ilene.

3rd Place

Zoe’s Pie: click photo for recipe

Second Place went to Connie Moore’s Pi. Using a blend heavy on Empire and light on Northern Spy she got high marks for a flaky crust and excellent apple choice. Connie won a $50 Volante Farms Gift Card and a copy of the edibleCommunities Cookbook.

2nd place

Connie’s Pi: click photo for Recipe

First Place was testing the boundaries of Piedom, but a clear favorite among the judges. Some onlookers dismissed it as a tart, but in fact the panless pie is a Crostata. Winner Sally Gaudaitis adapted a Joanne Chang Flour recipe for Roasted Apple and Cranberry Crostata using Suncrisp Apples, but got the most points for the excellent rustic and flaky crust.

Teri Volante Boardman presents Sally with her prizes, including first place trophy.

Sally’s Grand prize haul included all the following:

  • $100 Volante Farm Gift Card
  • An edibleCommunities Cookbook
  • A handmade apron from Emily Williams, reigning champ
  • A signed copy of Amy Traverso’s Apple Lovers Cookbook
  • A first place trophy
  • A lifetime of gloating and an opportunity to judge next year’s contest

1st Place

Sally’s Award Winning Pie: click photo for recipe.

Thank you again to our judges and contestants for making this years contest another rollicking success. Can’t wait for next year, and in the meantime use our new extended season to your benefit to try out new combinations for next time. With the holidays approaching perhaps you’ll want to give these award wining recipes a go. Click on their photos above to see recipes, and visit our Events page to see all the pies from the day: Volante Farms Events

As usual, any mistakes I have made in the reporting of these events, I apologize for up front.  Please send corrections to ryan at volantefarms dot com.

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