Today, for the first time ever, I am entering a pie in a bake-off. I've always wanted to enter food contests...baking ones, not eating ones (too many hot dogs or marshmallows stuffed in my mouth and I think I'd puke). But usually there is some lousy reason it doesn't work out - I find out too last minute or it's too expensive or it requires traveling or something. Actually, I did once try entering a recipe into the Pillsbury Bake-Off, but that didn't go very far, and there was no event where all applicants prepared their recipe and brought it to a judging panel to taste. That was only for the 100 finalists.
When I read that chef Evan Kleiman of Good Food on KCRW (Los Angeles's NPR radio station) was hosting a pie contest, I got really excited. I'm not even a regular pie baker, though I'm also not new to pies. The contest rules said I could enter up to 4 pies, one for each of the 4 categories: fruit and nut; cream, custard, chiffon and mousse; savory; and interpretive pie, one that "defies categorization." I didn't want to overdo my first ever bake-off experience; one pie was plenty. I called up my mom, told her about this contest that was happening on a weekend when she happened to be visiting my sister and me in LA, and we spent a couple nights devising a delicious pie recipe to co-enter! We chose the mousse category.
I won't divulge the recipe until after the contest is over (and only if the pie is not a complete failure or embarrassment to the pie-eating world), but I will say three ingredients that are featured in our pie: Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Bananas. My mom and I each made the pie in our respective kitchens and then reconvened by phone to discuss any modifications we felt were necessary. Last night, with my mom in town, together under one roof, in my Los Angeles kitchen, we prepared the official pie entry. Mother-daughter activities are the best!
Speaking of judges, take a look at this incredible list of judges!
- Mark Peel - Executive Chef & Owner, Campanile
- Russ Parsons - Food Editor for the LA Times
- Stefan Richter - Chef & Owner, Stefan's at LA Farm; Former Contestant on Bravo's Top Chef (Season 5)
- Eric Greenspan - Chef & Owner of The Foundry on Melrose
- Elizabeth Belkind - Executive Pastry Chef/Owner of Cake Monkey
- Amy Scattergood - Food writer, LA Weekly
- Eddie Lin - of the blog DeepEndDining.com and the book Extreme Cuisine
- Amelia Saltsman - author of The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook
- Pim Techamuanvivit - Food Blogger and author of The Foodie Handbook
- Clifford Wright - Noted Chef and Cookbook Author, Co-Founder of the Venice Cooking School
Wish me luck!