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Award-winning pies at the fair

By Staff | Jul 9, 2010

Some see the strawberries piled high with a touch of fresh cream and sprig of mint leaves and think pie! Others see the crimped edges and think pie!

Those partial to meringue swear it is the only way to think pie. Soft, cool and ever-refreshing on a hot day are ice cream/yogurt pies. What everyone can agree on from the recent pie contest at the Pierce County Fair is that the love of pie continues in our county!

The third annual pie contest was held last week during the Piece County Fair. This year the contest was sponsored by Thrivent Financial. Bless those bakers who, amid the slaying heat wave, took to their rolling pins and mixing bowls and created flattering and tasty pies for this contest. Really each pie is a masterpiece of its own in these contests. When you view the cut out pastry stars, the crumbled textures, the pointed tucks, or perhaps it is the smooth satin finish of a pumpkin pie, you realize that you are in the company of opulence–tiny lemon wedges floating on whipped cream, graham cracker crust frolicking with yogurt filling, and pie vents cut like they belong on an airliner. One look at those whipped cream footstools show casing fresh raspberries, and I know images of whimsy delights are all over your brain. Would you not agree when one enters a pie contest your attention to detail is attuned? Pie baking contests allow us to put some imagination into our practical and domestic baking data.

Over the years I have been privileged to judge many pie contests, and each one has its own special awning. Under these canopies gather some of the finest pies bakers can fashion. Each year I am delighted and most pleased to see the efforts of local bakers. This year assisting in the judging details was the very pie-passionate Marge Fritel Heilman, of Rugby.

For years I have known that Marge is an accomplished baker. She grew up in a large family, and she shared with me that her mother, Catherine Fritel, was certainly an accomplished baker as well. It was, however, when Marge shared with me that she loves to make Ann Landers Lemon Meringue that I truly knew she was devoted to good pie baking. She said, “I love making that pie, and I have kettles all over the kitchen. It is worth it because it is so delicious!”

There can be an advantage to entering a pie which is void of a top crust. Your taste buds flirt first with the filling, and as we all know, first impressions are often lasting. As we judged this contest, we both shared the elements of fine pie crust. It is the touch of the bakers hand and experience that makes the perfect crust. I have made hundreds of pies and still fall short of the excellent pie crust that my mother makes. Each pie that we create gets us closer to that perfect pie crust. There are many elements that determine flaky crust, and I know that fat being thoroughly chilled before adding to flour aids greatly.

Life is full of all sorts of twists and turns, and we know as we age, wrinkles and folds will appear. We can be comforted by the fact that our pie crust hopefully will mirror these gentle wrinkles and folds. So keep working on your pie crust, and it will serve you well in years ahead.

Repnow is a Rugby


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