y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: KCRW Good Food Pie Contest

KCRW Good Food Pie Contest

Last month KCRW and LACMA (L.A. County Museum of Art) hosted the 3rd Annual Good Food Pie Contest. I added it to my calendar spring of this year to make sure I attended in the fall. Have to get those priorities straight!

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual Good Food Pie Contest in Beverly Hills, behind the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The spacious setting, apron fashion show, pies to taste everywhere I looked and ample shade made it a great event. 

My very favorite pie of the day, and there were outstanding ones, was this Sour Cherry and Halva Pie that I often still dream about.

The man in top hat sharing his pie tastings with his dog added to the unique vibe.

This year drew in 200+ pies with very passionate bakers and pie lovers contributing to a wonderful sense of pie community.

It was perhaps a bit less organized, lacking shade/seats, had much larger crowds/lines compared to last year, but still worth experiencing.

Categories: nut, cream, fruit, savory and Tim Burton inspired (to complement the current Tim Burton retrospective exhibition at LACMA). What a great theme for pies!

You can find the winners at this link. For some reason this year just bakers' names were announced, not the pie names. And if you were in line for tasting, you were far from the stage, so it was really hard to follow who won what during the event.

However, I love that Best in Show went to a Classic Apple Pie, as making a perfect classic trumps trendy flavors all the time in my book.

A lot of articles and blog posts give insider views of entrants/bakers, judges and contain lovely pie photos. I'd love to show you what it was really like there. The exciting, crazy energy and the pies after being cut into.

Nut Pies

As much as I love pecan pie, my strategy of saving tummy real estate made me walk past some dazzling pies. I tried Stuart Faber's prize-winning Pecan Toffee Pie and this Fleur de Sel Pecan Pie. Both were great.

Kristin Anderson's Marcona Almond Pie, which also placed in the awards, looked devastatingly delicious and drew such a crowd I moved on without tasting.

Cream Pies

Aside from banana cream pie, this isn't my favorite category. A Banana Cream Pie and Banana Nutella Cream Pie both placed in the awards. I tried to get a taste of the Banana Nutella Pie, which looked like a cloud of heavenly cream, but did not want to fight the crowd to get to it.

Crack Pie, invented and made famous by Momofuku Milk Bar's Pastry Chef Christina Tosi, was a fantasy pie for me to taste (since I don't live in New York and don't bake). With an oatmeal cookie crust and sweet/salty flavors, it's right up my alley.

The original is made with a butterscotch filling, but this Crack Pie with Chocolate version really rocked. The chocolate, not over-sweet, held equal billing with the crumbly crust.

Due to figs being in season, a lot of them appeared. They taste great and look great, so the choice is a natural. I didn't taste any of them.

This Guanaba-Strawberry Cream Pie lured me in with tropical fruit promises. Although the pie tasted very good, the flavors didn't stand out too much over the cream.

This key lime pie with candied zest and piped cream definitely stood out. The base appears to be both crust and a layer of cake.

This gooey concoction of peanut butter cream cheese, chocolate ganache and graham cracker crust felt comforting and tasted great.

I didn't taste the Chai Cream but can imagine chai flavors (tea, cardamom, ginger, cloves) working quite well in a cream pie. It's probably like dunking a biscuit into the team.

Loved, loved, loved this lady's enthusiasm, outfit and beehive! Who wouldn't eat her pie? It was also fun seeing her in other parts of the museum well after the pie contest ended.

Tim Burton Inspired

The winner in this category, Emily Baker's James and the Giant Peach Pie did indeed have a whole peach perched on top.

The BEET'le Juice Chocolate Pie looked dramatic in bright red. I love beets and they seem to work well flavoring everything so I'm sure it tasted good too.

This Beetlejuice Pie of green tea mousse and 'slimed goo' tasted and looked beautiful, but unfortunately, the photo is too shady. The goo part had a good seedy texture.

This Dr. Pepper, Pepita, Pink Peppercorn Pie also sounded and looked interesting. I'm not sure what movie or character it references. Pepita is the Spanish word for pumpkin seeds.

So I asked a taster if I can shoot her plate of pies. It doesn't look too pretty when it's all thrown into a paper plate, but it still tastes great. My plate looked similar although it contained mostly savory flavors.

Some of my friends and I snuck some chairs out of Ray's restaurant to sit and eat a bit to make room for the many, many other tasters in line.

That red stained plate reminds me of a painter's palette.

Fruit Pies

This Bourbon Peach Pie with Crystallized Ginger Crust really won it hands down among the fruit pies I tasted. The crust held up without getting soggy and the peaches tasted sweet and tart, just how I like them.

Cherry pies are among my favorites too. By this time I was sticking to the unusual and impossible to pass up pies, knowing my appetite was dwindling with each passing minute.

Savory Pies

The Filipino Chicken Adobo Pie with sesame seed latticed crust succeeded well. Very tasty, balanced filling with right amount of crust.

The Individual Aussie Meat Pies had a flaky, light crust. I found the meat filling a bit too salty, although overall a great effort.

It's always a treat running into my friend Cecilia Fabulich and trying her food. This Herb Tomato Pie had cheesy, quiche-like, bright flavors. She's competed and won many cooking competitions.

The Mushroom Forest Tart is a great idea, but also felt that it was a bit strong on salt and the mushroom garnishes dried out a bit. The vegan Fried Chicken Picnic Pie next to it looked interesting as well.

One of my very favorites of the day, Terry Sweeney's Persian Tart (won the savory 1st place ribbon), really brought taste and creativity to the game. Just standing near it, the herbal and savory scents wafting by totally drew me in. His friendly demeanor made it even more appealing.

The filling of shredded chicken blended beautifully with tamarind, fenugreek and other fresh herbs and spices.

The Good Food site posted the recipe and mentioned his plans to make the same pie with lamb cubes too. That might even take it to more stratsopheric levels of tastiness.

After taking the tiny bite I requested, I regretted not taking the full slice he originally offered me. Had there not still been a very long line, I would have gone back for seconds of only this glorious pie.

Uncertain Which Categories....

And just when you thought you've seen it all, a couple of pies popped up that fell more into the grey areas, category-wise.

This Purple Yam Pie is a mainstay of Filipino flavors (called ube) I'm told. I believe yams are tubers, but this tasty pie probably was considered a fruit or cream pie.

I saw a sign for Artichoke Heart Pie and expected to see a savory tart with sliced artichoke hearts on top. This one looked more like a lime colored pumpkin pie. And surprise #2 was that it was not savory, but sweet!

It tasted fine, although it was a bit hard to wrap my head around it. The presentation could have been more indicative of the ingredients, in my humble opinion.

What a wild ride! Looking at these photos it brings home how many pies we tasted that day, still not having room for so many more that looked as good.

I felt bad looking at pies or locking eyes with bakers and saying 'no' to their offer of a slice. I would have tried them all if I could, but never do well with large quantities of sweets.

There's always next year too. Cannot wait!

3 Responses to “KCRW Good Food Pie Contest”:

  1. Beehive lady brought that Dr Pepper, pepita and pink peppercorn cream pie. It was a play on the fact that Dr Pepper is Tim Burton's favourite drink... I don't think he'd have liked the pie though.

  2. Wow, Dave. I loved beehive lady and loved the ingredients of the pie (but didn't taste it - too pie'd out by then). Was wondering what the Dr. Pepper connection was to Tim Burton. I guess some pie references were more obscure.

    What was your favorite that day? And what is your favorite in general? I am all about the banana cream pie but like many many others.

  3. I finally posted my Dr. Pepper, Pepita, Pink Peppercorn Pie recipe on my website. I had entered it in the Tim Burton category, as Dr. Pepper is his FAVORITE bevvie.

    Stop by and say, "HI"!!


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