Every year we go to bat with our favorite pies in the KCRW radio sponsored pie contest which is held on the UCLA campus. This last weekend we brought our very best pecan pie and she won third in the nut category! This pie is really made by my sweetie pie and he asked me to help with the look and design. We were lining up pecans and cutting out pastry leaves into the wee hours of the night! The result, an award winning pie 🙂
If you want to make a great pie, my sweetie pie is the man to ask! He comes from a long line of pie makers. His grandma used to bake pies professionally in a bakery and she learned secrets from a trained French chef. Those pie wisdoms have been passed down and now he’s carrying the torch, or should I say oven. Anyway, pie jokes aside, he’s won a few times with his pie, so yes… this man knows his pie.
For the contest, you actually have to bake 2 pies. One goes to the judges and the other gets cut up and passed out to the public. We usually bake three pies and pick the best two from the bunch. You’ll find that the more you bake pie, the better you get at it. It’s definitely one of those “practice makes perfect” kind of deals. One of the reasons we compete every year is it forces us to think about how to improve. It’s also a very fun day of interacting with other bakers and pie enthusiasts. Everyone’s in a happy pie place and sharing tips and recipe improvements. You also get to eat pie which is the real reason I go 😉
It’s a good idea to try other pies and ask people what they use for ingredients. The gal standing next to us this year won Best in Show with her Honey Cinnamon Pie, and she used a new method to make the crust. It’s very similar to the food processor pie dough method I shared in the last post. Sometimes with just a few hints and tips from others, you can make huge strides with your recipe.
My sweetie pie makes his crust by hand. He cuts the butter in and adds the water a little at a time. For this pecan pie, he even adds a nutty almond meal flour that makes the crust incredibly flaky and flavorful. It compliments the pecan pie perfectly. The best part of the competition is getting to hand out pieces of your pie to the public and ask them for their suggestions. We received a few great ideas this year and may give those a whirl through this Fall as we bake pies for family! This is a part of the art of baking and even photography if you are a food blogger… constantly find ways to improve. And practicing your art will make you better!
Here’s the award winning pecan pie recipe! Hope you enjoy!