Well I think its time I write a synopsis of my pie story. Enough of you back home have asked about it so here goes….
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I found out there would be a pie contest at Southern’s Fall Fest. A coworker of mine encouraged me to find someone with a really good pie recipe and enter. I knew just the person: Caitlin Taylor! She won like everything at the Benton County Fair when she was in 4-H. Granted, shes like three years younger than me and is a baking genius and I’ve never made a pie in my life, but I thought I would give it a whirl. She sent me a couple of recipes but the one I choose to make was a sure fire winner according to Caitlin.
Thankfully I had Friday off the day of the competition so I had all day to gather my ingredients and get to work. I had to go to three different stores to find the blackberries and blueberries that it called for. Not remembering they are practically out of season, when I did find them I had to pay a fortune! I almost wanted to give up until I met a mom from the seminary at Kroger also gathering supplies for her pie. The competition was on! (haha…we weren’t actually in the same category but it motivated me nonetheless) I got home and started on my pie. I had read the recipe several times (any of you who know how I cook know that this was a must for me to be successful in my baking endeavor) but still realized I forgot something! I barely had enough Crisco…and I mean BARELY! I scraped out as much as I could get from that little container and hoped for the best. It even called for butter flavored Crisco but I just had the regular kind…this is just normal for me when it comes to the kitchen. I always feel like I am forgetting something, lacking something, improvising with something. (Don’t worry I am just building the suspense. It worked out in the end.)
I got everything together and my husband walked in when I started to cut out the leaves to place on top. Then I started to not feel very good so I had to lay down and entrust the rest of my leaf crust to Matt. He took the challenge and came through beautifully for me. I had to get to work for the Fall Fest and left the rest of the baking with him. He brought me the finished result to me at work and I was a little distraught when I saw how runny and juicy it was. So I found a squirt bottle and started to suction out some of the juice. Then the time came, I could fix it no longer. I had to turn it in. It did look so pretty with the golden leaves and purple berries peaking through. I sheepishly turned in my pie and hoped for the best.
Matt just so happened to be working the pie booth and was able to sneak me a piece of my pie to taste. It was the moment of truth…and it tasted AMAZING! I think I was a little shocked at how good it tasted. The night wore on and I started hearing reports from Matt (who I promise did nothing to rig the competition). He said they got that “Food Network” look on them when they each tasted my pie. Then I heard I made it to the top ten but I wasn’t going to get my hopes up. He did say though that they got a perfect cut out of my pie for the judges to see and taste. I later found out from Caitlin that when pies sit for a few hours the juices firm up so by the time the judges rolled around, my pie was perfect! The judging was based on presentation and taste and there were two categories: fruit and non-fruit. 49 fruit pies were entered and 30 non-fruit pie with 1st-3rd place winner in each category.
Then it came time for the announcement of winners. Let me set this up for you. The head of Institutional Administration is the middle of an arena in front of thousands of Southern students and families announcing the pie winner. He said third place, second place and by that time I thought, nah, it won’t be me. (I was crossing my fingers still though) Then he started in on the first place pie. He said the judges came together with a unanimous decision on the first place pie before deliberating about it. One judge, Prof. Timothy Paul Jones said, “I got saved again after eating that pie”, another said, “it was a spiritual experience”, and the last judge exclaimed, “it was the essence of pie.” Wow, I thought, that must be a good pie. Then I could not believe what my little ears heard, “it was a blueberry/blackberry pie by…..EMILY TYLER!” I think I was shocked and so excited at the same time. I have never won anything like that…ever! Matt yelled and cheered! I went to claim my prize…a Kindle Fire (Southern always gives the best prizes!) and then congratulations from all around came my way.
I think I caught a glimpse of what it will be like to announce you are pregnant with all the congratulations I have received. And before I let it get to my head, I think I may need to stop while I am ahead. I have this fear that I would go to make the same pie and bring it to a Church function it be awful and people secretly wonder how I ever won. Some have called me the “Pie Lady” but since this was my first pie I don’t know if I can rightly take on that title. However, I have received many requests to bake that pie again…I just tell them next time I have three hours to bake and $20 to spend on berries, I will. 🙂 So there’s my story. Mom, maybe I will see about making a pie for Thanksgiving this year!