Pie Challenge, one of our beloved cook-off gettogethers! See the big winners, then check out pie recipes that are perfect to make for Pi Day!
Wikipedia says: "The number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter "π" since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes spelled out as "pi" (/paɪ/)."
Nan says: "This mathematical constant is a great excuse to think about pie, make pie, buy pie, eat pie. I love pie. Did you bring any pie?"
On a chilly March morning, we gathered at Rebecca and Charles' house for the Pie Challenge.
We gathered to eat and to drink and we were certainly merry about it.
Though we didn't have as many pie entries as we had originally anticipated (some folks had to bow out on account of colds, bugs, pregnancy fatigue, or a combination of all) we still had four beautiful pies to eat and vote for.
We also had an entry of a half-gallon of homemade vanilla ice cream!
Though we didn't know in advance what the flavors would be, or how many sweet versus savory it worked out perfectly in that there were two savory pies and two sweet pies!
We all had a filling meal of the savory pies followed very closely by a whopping dessert of the two sweet pies plus ice cream.
The pie entries
Savory Tourtière from Bryan: made in the French-Canadian tradition with pork, potatoes, and vegetables enclosed in a flaky crust. Slices are served with Dijon mustard and sweet gherkins.
Spaghetti Pie from Kari: another savory pie where angel hair pasta comprises the crust and is filled with marinara sauce and gooey, melted cheese.
Baileys Sweet Irish Cream Pie from me: a crust made from vanilla wafer cookies with a sweet, creamy filling of Bailey's Irish Cream, marshmallow, and whipped cream. A layer of Irish cream-soaked Cocoa Puffs cereal is hidden inside the cream.
Marbled Pumpkin Tart from Lisa: this torte has a beautiful shortbread crust and is filled with sweet and smooth pumpkin cheesecake filling.
Philadelphia Style Vanilla Ice Cream: creamy and very vanilla, this ice cream made from David Lebovitz's recipe was a perfect companion to our sweet pies.
Some pies sliced well enough to give everyone their own portion to judge, but others were cut into large slices to be shared between couples—or to be devoured by half of the couple before the other could get their fork in! And the little kids got to taste it all too, though they were far less interested in voting for a winner.
My husband came up with five categories for the pie voting and judging. These categories were originally created in anticipation of dozens of pie entries but they still fit the entries we had:
- Best Sweet Pie
- Best Savory Pie
- Best Twist On A Classic
- Most Unexpected Pie
- Best Overall Pie
Though there were cries from the crowd to declare every pie a winner, the judges dove in undeterred to tally the votes and let the voice of the people be heard.
And the winners are:
Best Savory Pie: Spaghetti Pie from Kari
Most Unexpected Pie: Spaghetti Pie from Kari
Best Overall Pie: Marble Pumpkin Tart from Lisa
Best Sweet Pie: Marble Pumpkin Torte from Lisa
Best Twist On A Classic: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream by Kelly & Shawn. (Quite a twist to find an ice cream entry in a pie challenge!)
In past cook-offs, we've had just two categories: Popular Vote and Chef's Vote. However, we really enjoyed the change with this challenge of having multiple categories. It allowed for more consideration of all the entries on multiple criteria... and it was fun to watch Kari and Lisa clean up with the wins!
Our gathering lasted well beyond the challenge, and that is always the best part of all our cook-offs and competitions. We played with kids and dogs on the floor. Games of Pitch lasted into the evening as we picked at the leftovers (though there was not much left... those pies went quick!) It was our 8th cook-off and it was a glorious success!
Happy Pi Day: Here's a big Pie Round-Up!
Host your own Pi Day celebration! Below are some of my favorite pie recipes that are sure to be a hit.