2010 Apple Pie Contest Results are in!
It began like any other Fall day. Sun rising through the clouds, crows crashing through the skies, the wind pushing a steady chill through town. Some intrepid souls were all ready long awake, working in their kitchens, dicing, coring, spicing, and kneading away. Sweating the hours til their masterpiece would stand among the other pie titans of Needham, 17 chefs descended on Volante’s in the late morning.
The Judges arrived, and much like the teams from your favorite television programs, there were some shake ups on the panel this year. Dave from Sweet Basil is the reigning chef justice [sic] as it were, well versed in the art of competitive cooking at the farm, and known for his love of foods that taste like what they are. One winning pie was lauded for its appley aspect.
Joining Dave was a new friend of the farm, Robert from Spiga Restaurant also of Needham. A relative rookie to the judging scene, but anxious to get in there. Tracy was our pastry expert, hailing from the farm’s own pie purveyor, Ever-So-Humble Pie of Walpole. She brought an informed intensity to the panel and was impressed by the variety among the selection. Rounding out the judges was Greg Reibman, publisher of the Needham Times, whose journalistic objectivity certainly ensured a fair shot to all the entrants. So thank you to all the judges for making this a success, but now on to the pies.
As described, 17 flaky, bubbly, gosh-they-smelled-good, apple pies lined the tables under the tent. Most aspiring chefs were present and waiting patiently for the rounds of the judges to progress. After 45 minutes of tasting and 10 minutes of tabulation, mouths were watering and bystanders were grabbing plates and forks waiting for the all clear to dig into the remains of the battle. Results were announced, an unheard of tie! First and second place pies had to be tasted again, in isolation from the rest. In the end, the judges were firm and clear on their favorite.
From a field in which no pie received poor scores (phew!) the apple pie baked by Kim Carey rose above. A simple presentation and made solely with Macintosh apples, the judges found it full of surprises. Nutty fruity and spicy, it had a nice holiday flavor, a nice crust, and a crème brulee type top. Kim took home a wealth of prizes, including a $50 Volante gift card, a $25 gift card to Spiga, a gift certificate from Ever-So-Humble Pie, and dinner for two to Sweet Basil. As if all that wasn’t enough reward for a hard morning baking, Ms. Carey will not be able to defend her title next year as she will hold a coveted position on the judges’ panel.
The close second place pastry was decidedly tops in presentation, with a crunchy crust with beautiful lattice top. Both the upper and lower crust were described as awesome, and was Dave’s appley favorite. This beauty was baked and presented by Kaitlyn Hill with Cortland Apples. Kaitlyn also took home a $20 gift card to Volante’s and $25 to try out Spiga.
Third place was won by one of our Facebook friends, Jen Palacio of Somerville, which is a great reminder to Like us there and follow us on Twitter, to be sure you don’t miss out on any of our contests or special events. Jen’s pie was pure Granny Smith, and its special dose of Granny’s bourbon may have been the touch to nudge it ahead of the rest of the pack. The judges loved the crunchy crust and buttery topping, and presentation points were included for looks and warmth. Jen walked away with bragging rights over her roommate and $10 to spend on her next trip out to Volante’s for more apples.
Everyone left with a commemorative reusable Volante tote bag, and well fed with the remnants of the pies. If you have never been to one of our cooking contests, there is an incentive to being in the audience whether cooking or not! So thanks to all the participants, it was a huge success and we were thrilled to have such a large pool of contestants. If this popularity continues we may have to introduce heats to help whittle between all the excellent entries. The winning recipes and close up photos of the winning pies are below:
2010 Apple Pie Contest Winner!
• 6 cups MacIntosh apples – peeled and sliced (I usually heap more)
• ½ cup Gingersnap Cookies, crushed
• ½ cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
• ¼ cup Melted Butter
• ½ cup Sugar
• ¼ cup Brown Sugar, packed
• ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
• ¼ cup Maple Syrup
• 2 pie crusts (I used prepackaged Pillsbury crust – refrigerated NOT frozen)
• Combine all dry ingredients except for the apples and maple syrup in a medium bowl.
• Roll out 1 pie crust and place in the bottom of a pie plate.
• Add ½ the sliced apples.
• Cover with ½ the mixture.
• Add remaining apples and cover with the rest of the mixture.
• Place other pie crust on top and crimp all the edges.
• Cook pie in oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
• Before pie is finished, boil the maple syrup.
• Remove pie from oven and brush maple syrup on the top of the crust.
• Bake another 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Second Place Apple Pie
• 1 recipe for Pastry Pie Crust
• ¾ cup unsalted butter
• 4.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup water
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• 6 to 8 Cortland Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place apple slices in a bowl.
• Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add sugars, cinnamon, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
• Pour a little more than half of the liquid mixture into the bowl of apple slices and mix together well.
• Place the bottom crust in pan. Fill with apple mixture. Cover with a latticework of crust. Gently pour the remaining liquid mixture on top of the crust (you can use a pastry brush to help distribute evenly)
• Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are soft.
PASTRY PIE CRUST:
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1.5 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 cup shortening
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon white vinegar
• 4 to 5 tablespoons water
• In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt and sugar. Mix well, then cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.
• In a small bowl combine egg, vinegar, and 4 tablespoons water. Whisk together and then gradually add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork. Mix until dough forms a ball. Add one more tablespoon of water if necessary. Allow dough to rest in refrigerator for 10 minutes before rolling out.
Third Place Apple Pie
• 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
• ½ cup unsalted butter
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup water
• ½ cup white sugar
• ½ cup packed brown sugar
• 1 shot good bourbon
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• Pinch of nutmeg
• 7 or 8 Granny Smith Apples – peeled, cored, and sliced
• Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
• Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a latticework of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
• Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.
PIE CRUST RECIPE:
• 2 and ¾ cup flour
• 1 cup shortening
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 6 tablespoons cold water
• Cut chilled shortening into small chunks and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
• Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
• With pastry blender or two knives cut shortening into dry ingredients until large and small chunks form.
• Add cold water a tablespoon at a time while mixing lightly with a fork.
• Turn mixture out onto floured surface. Form two uneven halves (larger half will go in bottom of pan). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before rolling out.