Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apple of My Pie - An Exercise In Last Minute Baking and My First Baking Contest!

I tend to live my life in a last minute fashion. It makes planning things a little bit of a challenge, but that's what makes life exciting...right?

Wednesday, September 22nd, I was scanning The Skint, a great email list that lets you know of all the fun/free/low-cost events going down in the city. Mixed in along with the usual music and art listings I saw something that involved one of my favorite foods: PIE.

Greenpoint Open Studios in Brooklyn was going to be holding a pie bake-off to raise money for their programs. First Prize? A dinner for two with the Brooklyn Edible Social Club, the exclusive underground supper club with secret locations and luscious five-course menus. I just had to enter! So what if the contest was the next day?

I emailed the moderator, Joanne Kim, for the scoop. She replied with the quickness, letting me know that I'd have to bake two pies and that I'd be going up against at LEAST 30 other contestants. THIRTY FREAKIN PIES. What would be a recipe that would really wow them, something modern, but comforting.

Everyone loves apple pie (and if you don't you're a cyborg), and most people I know love combining salty and sweet. My favorite apple crumb pie that I make combines a couple of recipes that I've enjoyed, and I add my own little spin to it. I use 3 types of apples, a variety of spices to compliment, and a couple of other tasty tweaks, so I knew I What else could I possibly do to put it over the top? The idea came to me in a flash.


I implored the assistance of my good friend John in making the pies (I was going to make an extra pie to bring to my coworkers), and for the use of his kitchen, which is way nicer than mine. We started at about 7:30-8....and didn't finish until 3am. We got a little delayed during the actual baking due to the firefighters that came because the of the clang of the smoke alarm.

No people or pies were harmed in the making of this post!!! This will be a picture heavy post because I'm: 1. lazy and 2. not posting my recipes for the pie or or sauce. Maybe one day, but for now it'll be a secret. :-)

Apples! I used three different kinds. Got a nice balance of textures and flavors.

Here are the apples soaking in all sorts of tasty stuff...including Calvados.

A closer look....oh God. These smelled so delicious...and gave up a lot of juice too.

Crust makin'! I used a mix of butter and shortening because I wanted a nice combo of flakiness and tenderness.

The three bowls of apples with some of their ingredients.

Time for crumble topping!

It was super warm in John's kitchen from preheating the oven. I had to work fast to form the crusts.
Finally throwing down some crumble.

Ready for the oven!!!

Caramel and pies. No pictures of the caramel process because it was almost 3 in the morning and we were DEAD TIRED. Plus it was my first time making the stuff and I wasn't trying to burn it and have the fire dept come around...again.

Here are some pictures from the contest itself, which took place at the Diamond Bar in Greenpoint.

The pie, up close and personal.

A Root Beer Pie!

Butternut Squash Ginger Nut....
Crawfish!!! Savory.

My pie was the first to arrive, thus I was assigned the number 1 spot.

These lovely ladies preparing the Banana Jackfruit Coco Cream pie...OMG SO GOOD.

Pear Rasberry Pie from the yiEATn camp. Delightful.

Prob one of my FAVORITE pies to make: Banoffee Pie (Banana Toffee). Hers was good...but the one I make is better.
In all there had to be at the very least 33-35 pies. So many different and exciting ideas and tastes! I became full very quickly.

Now, I didn't win (someone had a BACON BOURBON PECAN PIE, sigh..), but the pie went like freakin' hotcakes. It was pretty exhilarating to have all these people love what I made. I cook for my friends all the time, but this was my first time doing something like this for complete strangers. I can definately say that I've caught the bug and now I'm prepping for my next contest: Enid's Apple Pie Bake Off at Enid's in Brooklyn.

Wish me luck!!!


  1. You should have won! I could eat your entire pie in one sitting! This will be another holiday option for me..

  2. i keep tinkering with the recipe so the next time i make it, it'll be even better!