Last week I shared with you that I was heading to Maine this weekend. Going to Maine for any reason or no reason at all is a good idea, but this trip was for a purpose. The Kitchen & Cork bake off which was sponsored by King Arthur Flour.
After the girl’s party ended on Saturday, I made my way to the kitchen to start baking. I had registered to bake two pies for the competition, but in total I needed to bake four. One pie to be judged and one to be sold with the proceeds going to The March of Dimes. A very worthy charity and worth the extra baking effort for sure.
My first step earlier in the week was to head to the Salvation Army store to pick up some used Pyrex pie plates. We were told that our plates were not going to be given back to us after the competition, so my only option was to either use aluminum disposable pans or purchase used Pyrex dishes at most likely the same cost.
Pies never seem to bake right for me in the disposable pans, so Pyrex it was. Not to mention, that long drive required a sturdier container. I ended up paying $1.99 for my used Pyrex plates. A smart choice if I do say so myself.
My two entries were Southern Comfort Peach pie which was made with Southern Comfort of course, and Sublime Blueberry Lime. A zingy blueberry pie loaded with fresh blueberries and a ton of lime zest and juice nestled in a buttery pastry crust.
I baked from 3:00pm til midnight. Nine hours for four pies. Crazy, right? Well, the culprit was the dang peaches. Peeling peaches takes an eternity. Especially when you need twelve cups worth of peeled and sliced peaches.
First you have to score the bottom of the peaches with an X, then you have to blanche them all, and finally the peeling and slicing can begin. Lots-o-work and never again.
The blueberry lime was a piece of cake, er I mean pie. The decorative crust was the most time consuming, while the fruit just required a quick toss with the rest of the ingredients. Blueberries are a low maintenance fruit.
So, I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 5:00am to make my way to Scarborough Maine with my four pies loaded in the back of my car, praying for no bumpy roads along the way.
After two hours and forty-five minutes, I arrived at Kitchen & Cork with pies completely intact. Hallelujah. The Kitchen & Cork, located in Scarborough, is a wonderful shop filled with the finest kitchen gadgetry for the most enthusiastic home cook.
Products from Le Creuset to KitchenAid and everything in between, Kitchen & Cork has everything you need to whip up something blue ribbon worthy in your own kitchen.
I dropped my pies off at the entry table along with the other contestants. Of course I took a peek at my competition and there were many fine submissions…
Pumpkin, peach, apple and gulp… several blueberry pies. Cream pies, fruit pies, latticed topped, graham cracker based. All different kinds of pies and all looking very worthy of ribbons.
I’ve competed in baking competitions before, but never with pies. Something new for me, but I enjoy a challenge. Even if it meant that I got nothing for my efforts.
There was also a cupcake competition going on and for some reason I didn’t think to register for it. I should have considering it takes no time at all to whip up a batch of cupcakes. Certainly quicker than baking pies.
The cupcakes that were entered were beautiful. Judged in two categories, decoration and taste, the cupcakes were not only pretty, but had to be delicious too.
There was a long wait between judging and the announcement of the winners. So, I went across the way to a restaurant to have a snack while I waited. Only in Maine could you have a moose gazing at you while you snack on your hummus and veggies.
And while I was snacking, I reflected on this sign on the wall. I’ve said that very thing many times in my life, but with reflection I realized that it’s not quite that simple.
If you teach a man to fish he will still go hungry if you don’t teach him how to cook the fish he catches. Unless he likes sushi. Sleep deprivation + nine hours of pie baking= a loopy Melanie.
The entries were judged by a panel of four local judges. Two food writers, a chef and a board member for the March of Dimes.
They were in charge of sampling and scoring every entry. A job I would have no problem taking if it were ever offered to me.
After what seemed like forever, it was time to announce the winners…..
There were ribbons, Emile Henry pie plates, and King Arthur gift cards for the top three in each category. And as much as I hoped to place in the fruit pie category, I knew that there was stiff competition.
Everyone held their breath while the winners were announced…..
So, how did I do with my Sublime Blueberry Lime pie?
Blue ribbon. A very fun and unexpected surprise. Of course I’ll be sharing the recipe, but not until I bake the pie again and get better step by step pictures. Food photography never works at night, so I’ll wait until I have some time to do the post some justice with decent photos.
Also, I need a few days off from baking pies. I’m sort of burned out right now.
A big thank you goes out to Kitchen & Cork and King Arthur flour for hosting the bake off. It was so much fun and I look forward to competing again next year. But there will be no peach pie entry from me. That I’m sure of.
How about you? Have you ever entered a baking competition?