My husband says that I shot myself in the foot, entering a contest right while moving into a new apartment. You know…different kitchen, utensils, etc. Sure, that might have been a factor, but not good enough to cover for everything.
North Market had an autumn celebration on Saturday. Online, they advertised a pie competition, so on Tuesday I sent an email to the woman in charge to see if it was too late to enter. Surprisingly, there was still a slot open.
The rules…well, there really weren’t any rules. You could be as creative as you wanted, as long as you brought one apple pie to the kitchen by 1:45p.m. on Saturday. Easy enough, eh? The problem, though, is deciding what the judges are looking for; should I bring something traditional? organic-Short-North-ish? healthy? And then, what sort of crust would be best? lattice? dutch crumb?
My research was done mostly on Allrecipes.com. If the recipe has over 4,000 reviews (and good ones at that), it must be decent. Again, the rules didn’t specify that your pie had to be from an original recipe.
My test pie was too sweet, the crust was gooey, and it didn’t hold it’s shape when sliced. We did like the hint of fresh raspberries that I had added from the backyard. Linda’s hadn’t cooled down enough for us to sample before we headed to bed, but the next morning I tried a slice. The gingersnap crust and the cranberry topping made a pleasant pumpkin pie.
Cheddar cheese is supposedly a nice pairing with apples. Some people even mix grated cheese into their crust, so I decided to give it a try. However, I used Gouda. I also cut out the syrup that was supposed to be poured over the sliced apples. Mistake: I didn’t start the crust from scratch. I used leftover dough that had been in the freezer and just mixed in some cheese. The texture wasn’t great (expected), but there was a hint of cheese flavor.
This was the last chance. We had just received the apartment keys on Thursday afternoon. Now it was Saturday morning. We had slept at my parents the night before and were expecting guests from Findlay sometime before noon. So I grabbed my ingredients and we drove to our apartment after eating a toasted English muffin for breakfast. I decided to use a disposable aluminum pie plate to take to the contest. That changed things a bit…it was smaller. My oven was also smaller and electric. I don’t know if I just gave up or gave in. I liked the idea, but didn’t have time to perfect it, so whatever would happen would happen.
We arrived at North Market early enough to see the pumpkin pies. Linda was there snapping pictures with her cell phone. About 45 minutes later, she hadn’t won, but had gotten good comments. Perhaps even gotten 4th place (there had been a tie for 2nd).
Doug, Lori, and Linda sat with me while the judges went through the apple pies. They made comments about the judges hesitating and taking more than one bite when mine came up. But no. No place. Probably last place and only two comments: “bland-apples not cooked- no spices” and “under baked”. They were right.
So, a few people have asked, would you do it again? Maybe. Maybe not. But I do have ideas in my head to make improvements. Apple-Raspberry with Gouda can’t be a complete loss, can it?