This past Tuesday, in honor of the great food holiday, the Culinary Society hosted its first ever Thanksgiving Pie Competition. Entrants from all over the Columbia and Barnard communities came out to showcase their baking skills, with pies of all different flavors. Of course, there were the classic Thanksgiving favorites, like pumpkin and apple pies, but there were also some incredible variations on the classics, like kabocha pie (a relative of pumpkin), vinegar pie (a variation on the classic Canadian “Butter Tart”) and sour cream apple pie. The complete list of entrants went as follows:
1. Dezi’s Pumpkin Pie
2. Kittyball’s Strawberry Rhubarb
3. Erica’s Fresh Pumpkin Pie
4. Procrastibaker’s Cranberry Apple
5. Bakinator’s Pumpkin Pie
6. 3.14159’s Chocolate Cream Pie
7. Suzanna’s Bavarian Cream
8. Suite Kitchen’s Fudge Pie
9. Rebecca’s Chocolate Pecan Pie
10. Nina’s Apple Pie
11. Matt’s Caramel Apple Pie
12. Treat Yo’self 2011 Kabocha Pie
13. Kelcey’s Sour Cream Apple Pie
14. Mad Foodie’s Chocolate Pecan pie
15. Sarah’s Pie Apple Pie
Unlike previous competitions with the Culinary Society, where a panel of judges voted on the best entrants, the Thanksgiving Pie Competition was judged by the general student body. Thanks to an ingenious idea from one of the Culinary Society’s e-boarders, the votes were recorded via text message, giving everyone with a cell phone a quick, efficient, and easy way to voice which pie was their favorite.
With 15 pies in the competition, and 60 eager judges waiting outside to get their tastes, it was a bit of a hectic evening. In all, it only took about 40 minutes for the tasters to completely devour the pies and vote on their favorites. I, for one, thought it was one of the fastest 40 minutes of my life!
Although I only got to taste a couple of the pies, the student body was extremely pleased with all of the pies. There was something for everyone: super-sweet pies, savory/less sweet pies, fruit based pies, custard pies, pies with toppings, pies with double crusts, pies with crumble tops… you get the idea. It was veritable feast of sweets.
The third place pie was the Procrastibaker’s Cranberry Apple pie. The combination of apples, almonds, and cranberries, topped with an apple cider reduction, proved to be a winning variation on an American classic.
The second place pie was Mad Foodie’s Chocolate Pecan pie. Serving this pie warm was a great idea, leaving the chocolate smooth and melted, in combination with the warm, toasted pecans. This pie was one of the firsts to go!
The grand champion of the evening was Rebecca’s Chocolate Pecan Pie. Made with chocolate, pecans and a healthy splash of Grand Marnier, this pie was quite a bit more complex than the classic pecan pie. The addition of the Grand Marnier added a citrusy sweetness that proved to be the winning component.
Although the Culinary Society ran out of funds to provide a prize for the competition, the winners, Rebecca and Emily, took this in stride. All they wanted was a simple “2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate?” cheer from the bakers and tasters, which was given enthusiastically.
This competition was a delicious and memorable success, which we hope to continue next year. However, with Thanksgiving around the corner, there’s no need to wait a year to enjoy these pies again! And even if you didn’t get to come to the competition yourself, we at the Culinary Society hope that you challenge some of your families’ classic pies with your own culinary ideas. Who knows, maybe you’ll stumble upon a fabulous recipe to take grand prize next year!
And if you want to try this year’s first place pie, we have also provided the recipe for Rebecca and Emily’s winning pie. Enjoy! Continue reading Club Re-Cap: Culinary Society’s First-Ever Thanksgiving Pie Competition!