Friday, September 04, 2009

Big surprise!

Big surprise in the mail today: an envelope from the SuperEx, our annual summer fair. This year, as a way of recalling the exhibition's roots as an agricultural fair, they held an apple pie contest. Since I have a certain reputation as a pie maker, I baked a pie and entered it, getting in just under the wire, a few minutes before closing. Mine was entry #68, and there were a total of 69 entries. It was a very tempting event, as the first prize was $500, but as the evening wore on, and nobody telephoned, I figured that I was just one of the many entries not to win, and dismissed it from my mind.

Lo and behold, today arrives an envelope, which I figured must be a "thank you for participating" note (but it seemed a bit bulky). I opened it, and out falls a ribbon, and a notification that I'd won 3rd prize! Even better, a cheque for $100!!  It's so nice to get something like that after you've given up any expectation - and honestly, I never win anything, so I'm really on cloud 9 today!

Just by chance, this morning I'd baked another apple pie (made from Vista Bella apples - the winning pie was made with a combination of Paula Reds and Cortlands), so even though it's not THE pie, here's a picture of it with the prize ribbon.


Blogger Priscilla said...

Congratulations, it looks delicious! I've never heard of Vista Bella apples. Must be a Canadian variety? Here in Oregon Apple country we have dozens of varieties to choose from. My latest favorite eating apple is the newer Honey Crisp. We only have to drive about four of five miles to pick fresh apples. Right now the peaches and plums are ripe. In another couple of weeks the apples will be starting. Love Autumn. Love apples.

I always wanted to enter a pie at a fair. Never had the chance. Either I was teaching or the fair was too far away.
My daughter is overseeing the Oregon GOP booth at the state fair in Salem. It has been so busy she hasn't ha time to think. People are really fed up with HopeyChange. She has had to drive 100 miles round trip each day. All this just to keep the volunteers in line. My other daughter and I are going to drive down tomorrow. I've never been before. I'm looking to my first corn dog in about 15 years. I may even spring for some cotton candy (or candy floss as it is called in UK). I'm sure they are very bad for you. Can't wait!

6:13 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Vista Bella is not a very commercial apple variety - you probably won't find it in regular stores, but if you go out to the orchards or maybe farmer's markets where people sell what they've grown themselves, you might find someone with a few trees selling the apples. The thing about them is that they're a very EARLY variety. August really isn't a very good time to hold a pie-baking contest, when you think about it. Last year's stored apples are pretty much all gone, and it's too early for most of this year's crop. October would be a better time - much better selection - but the EX has always been a summer fair, so we just have to do the best we can.

6:37 am  
Blogger Priscilla said...

What about the NZ Apples? Our stores are full of them all spring and summer.
Personally I have always preferred to use in-season produce. It makes it more precious some how, and therefore more enjoyable.

9:23 am  
Blogger Tina said...

That is a gorgeous pie! I have never eaten $100 pie. Congratulations on getting the recognition for your skill!

I have never mastered getting a pretty edge. Any tips?

We can grow a few varieties of apples here but not many, as it does not get cold enough long enough. I did plant two granny smiths last year so am looking forward to a crop in years to come.

11:14 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Priscilla - ah, no. The rules were that the pies had to be made from ONTARIO apples (agricultural fair, celebration of locally-grown produce, and all that). So we were stuck trying to scrounge up the few early apples that might be out in August, or using storage apples from the previous season (and there weren't many of those left, at least not suitable for cooking). Not a good time of year for an apple pie competition.

Tina, the way I make my pies is to trim the bottom crust right up against the edge of the pie plate, then lay the top crust on and trim it so that it hangs at least 1/2" over the edge. Then tuck it under the bottom edge, sort of like making a seam when you're sewing. It keeps the filling from dripping out when it's baked, and you end up with a thicker edge. Then I go along the outside edge making a decorate edge by putting down my right forefingertip and pinching the dough up along either side of it. You get that "fluted" effect, and the dough is thick enough that it doesn't rip.

11:34 am  
Blogger Tina said...

Thank you very much. I will refer back to this next time I make a pie. It is going to have to cool off a bit first - pie is winter food! :-)

9:53 pm  

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