Pics from the Great American Pie-Off in NYC (07/18/09)
Well, I had a great time once again this year with New York Theatre Experiment and their annual fundraiser, The Great American Pie-Off! This is their fifth year in existence and they made a birthday theme of it and many bakers showed up once again to sell some truly inspired creations. The really great pictures are on their Facebook page here:
I started out by making a Peanut Butter Icebox pie straight from Peanut Butter & Co.'s cookbook.
This is how it looks on the page. I made the crust using Famous Wafers. Then melted some Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips for a layer of chocolatey goodness! And whipped some heavy cream, which I folded into cream cheese and peanut butter (along with some confectioner's sugar, milk and vanilla). And the finished product, topped with the extra chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and salted peanuts. As this was a benefit for a theatre company, I thought a show inspired name would be most appropriate, so I called this "The Peanut Butter Icebox Pie Cometh". The top of the pie, all ready for it's close-up, Mr. DeMille! I was pretty happy with the way this turned out and it had a nice creamy texture and good peanut butter flavor and one off the judges said he liked the fact that the crust wasn't sweet as some can be. I thought the salted peanuts made for a nice counterbalance to the filling.
I have to give a big shout-out to my spiritual pie advisor, CajunKing!!!! He let me use his recipe for Lemon Chess Pie and was very helpful in giving advice to all of my last minute questions! Here is te pie, prepped for baking. I crimped the edges by hand and was very proud of doing that for the first time. Sadly, they did not entirely stay up throughout the cooking process. It still jiggled a bit when I took it out of the oven, so I was a bit nervous, but it firmed up just right by the time it cooled. Basically this is a butter-sugar-eggs filing with a healthy dose of lemon juice and lemon zest! I was very proud of this and thoroughly enjoyed the one piece I saved for myself towards the end. I might put an extra tablespoon of zest and/or juice in it for more pucker, but the lemon flavor really did come through and the texture was almost like a velvety pudding. I got a lot of positive feedback on this from many of the attendees and one of the judges. The name for this one was the "One Night in Bangkok Lemon CHESS Pie".
I made a third pie, more of an experiment really. I've always been fascinated by Grape-Nut Custard/Pudding in New England, yet have never tried it except as an ice cream flavor. I thought it might work well as a pie filling and so I searched the web for a recipe. Truth be told, I should have made this once or twice as a custard before trying to make this pie. Here we have the cinnamon graham cracker crust. And the shot of the pie, ready for the oven. The custard wasn't terribly wet and I think it may have dried out somewhat during baking. I forgot that Grape-Nuts have the ability to soak up unreal amounts of liquid! Instead of raisins, I used blueberries in the custard filling. I didn't bring this one with me to the Pie-Off, but sitting in my fridge, I have a feeling this might be best served as would a British pie or crumble, with some hot homemade custard spooned on top. We'll see... I came up with what I thought was a hilarious name (to me anyway) for it: The "I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Grape-Nut Custard Hill Pie (Richie Cunningham's favorite!)!" My slices for the judges. Sorry I didn't take more pictures this year. I wish I had sampled more pie too! One of the pie tables. A fine looking berry pie and what I believe was a milk chocolate masrhmallow pie were next to mine. On the opposite end were some "Makin' Whoopie" pies. I think those were endorsed by Bob Eubanks! As well as some Banana Cream Pies. I tasted a sample of this Bourbon Chocolate Chipotle Pecan Pie and it was AWESOME! Sweet and smoky at the same time, the heat kicked in every so slightly and lingered on my tongue for a bit. Very cool. Some guys jamming away to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" on Guitar Hero. And a very sweet French Bulldog with an underbite, just hoping that something, anything would fall to the floor. It took a few shots to get this one, but that face is so worth it!
I didn't win any prizes, but I had a great time, got to chat with some friends, met some really nice, really cool pie people at my table and ate pie! Hope to see some of you at the Bubby's Pie Social in Brooklyn this September!!!
post edited by billyboy - 2009/07/20 00:30:10