Tag Archives: Tinky Weisblat

How to Judge a Pie

Notes from a Fan

I try to be open minded in my real life, not judgmental – but when it comes to Pie….well, this is not my first pie judging. And there is a difference between the good, the very good and the sublime. I have yet to have bad homemade pie (commercial pie is a whole ‘nother world), but I am willing to keep tasting to risk it!

Pies have 2 parts – crust and filling. They are evaluated separately and then together.

There were 2 criteria – appearance and taste. I would add name as a criteria….because what you call it raises expectations, but can also be clarifying. And it has to deliver. Promise and delivery – that’s the name of the pie game.

 Appearance:

Appearances Count!

Crust:

Pastry Soapbox time: Pie dough, pie crust – whatever you call it, it should be golden, and browned and beautiful- not pale or wan. It needs to contribute to the whole – otherwise, put the filling in a greased casserole dish and call the whole thing pudding!

To quote Martha Stewart Living  magazine Nov 2016 p. 142

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“With pies, color equals flavor: We can spot a pale, underbaked one a mile away! Look for deep golden-brown top and bottom crusts, and major bubbling action in the center.” *

*Fruit pie have the bubbling center action – other sorts of pie, not so much or not at all!

Without proper browning, the flour is pasty and the fat component is just greasy. Many pie recipes are far too timid  in the baking – start with a hot oven – you can turn it down in 10 or 15 minutes – and really build some color and depth of flavor.

Pale crust says ‘Not sublime’ And now back to judging criteria….

Slice – It doesn’t have to hold be perfect, but it has to hold promise. If it has a sloppy or runny filling, use a spoon to serve so we know that you know what’s going on. Spoons are more traditional!

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1642 – Willem Claeszoon Heda 

 

Taste:

Scent is part of the first taste – what does it promise?

A quick note about names….what you call it sets an expectation, too. And it should deliver. There was a chocolate cream pie that looked rather more like pate …a name label made a HUGE difference on my expectation!

Three tastes are necessary for judgment – the first impression; the second after your mouth knows what’s coming, the middle notes; the third for a lasting impression, the one you take away. Mouth feel, spicing, balance, texture, funny bits…all things to look for in taste.

First impressions are sometimes a surprise. That’s why you need a second taste (and maybe a bottle of water) to get a real grasp of what’s going on.

Memory – 5 minutes later….which are the pies you want to go back to? Was the flavor hit fleeting or lasting?

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Because I was late to the Pie Contest in Hawley, the other judges had already begun. They had moved the tarts, quiche and clafuti into a separate category, so that we were judging pies against pies.

FYI – Every pie had a prize. Because I know how Tinky plans these things, I was pretty sure that there were as many prizes as pies. No one went home empty handed (even the judges got booty bags).

 

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Judgement Day

No, not THAT Judgement day –

PIE Contest judging day!!!!!

THIS Pie contest

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So much talent

Such mighty fine pies

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Pie Parade – I’m bringing up the rear with Alice Parker’s pie, since she – as Alfred Parker, is playing the piano and didn’t have a hand free. Tinky is in the hat, singing like a bird.

Like any good pie, this story has more than one slice…..

thelma-and-louise-car

Our car had a roof, so we were dry in the rain. And we had fall foliage. And no Brad Pitt.But we were driving towards PIE!

pie-lemon-merinque-sliceSlice one – This year I did not go alone. Baker Tani wanted to go to taste pies, too. So early in the morning we left, driving out from coastal Plymouth to the Hills of Hawley. Three hours and Fall Foliage and maybe we got a little lost up the mountain later, we get there.There was also rain and Honey Dew coffee and Doughnuts and the Mohawk Trail and  Thelma and Louise-ishness. At least the part about 2 women on a road trip. Neither of us could remember much about the movie, just the image of  two women in a car, one with a scarf. And Brad Pitt.We remembered Brad Pitt.

 

thelma-louise-brad

pie-lemon-merinque-sliceSlice 2 – The judging of pies

pie-lemon-merinque-sliceSlice 3 – Ham and Bean Community lunch

pie-lemon-merinque-sliceSlice 4 – The entertainment after lunch and before the winners were announced. This including the singing of the town song…..

whoville-xmas-morning

There’s a certain Whos of Whoville  vibe about the town song

pie-lemon-merinque-slice Slice 5 – The Winners (there are no losers in PIE!) and the prizes

pie-lemon-merinque-sliceSlice 6 – The PIES

 

To be continued……..

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HOPE

Hope is a thing with feathers…..

EmilyD

 

I was going through my files and found a recipe  for HOPE cake.

Not dated, not accredited, just a print out. I have no memory of ever  making it….it sounds great, though – Pineapple and orange pound-cake with a cream cheese honey icing….is HOPE Honey-Orange-Pineapple …???Eggs????

Google and discover.

Monday, really Big Fourth Celebrations here in America’s Hometown (that would be Plymouth, not to be confused with all those other America’s Hometowns). Parade with lots of fire trucks and police trucks, all with sirens blaring. Politicians smiling big, waving like the Queen of England, shaking hands; floats with people tossing candies into the crowd. Youth sports teams and other groups of young people, waving their trophies high. Bands, oh those bands. Marching bands, jazz bands, and even rock bands on floats…..and a group from the Priscilla Beach Theatre did a number from A Chorus Line in front of the Grandstand.

pbtchorus line

 

ONE

(Singular Sensation)

Kay and Bunk were there on their red, white and blue bicycles…this image is from another year…..there’s photo another of Bunk at July 4th – Plymouth MA

Bunky and Kay 4July

Cheering, waving.

Dragonflies like crazy all morning. HUGE dragonflies.

The woman seated near me up on Cole’s Hill passed her sunscreen over to me as the morning wore one, Hawaiian Tropics coco-nutty SPF 50 or 70 or 85 – something uber screening for pale Irish skin.Hawaiian tropic several

…..Hawaiian Tropic, an old summer friend, shared by a new friend by location

Milling with the post parade crowd, old friends to catch up with.

Time to head home, buy some OFF and take a little nap to go back for the Phil concert.

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Sprayed the OFF on, milled about, kept seeing people I knew, but not able to get up to them before they were lost in the crowd. And it was a crowd. Finally picked a spot where I could see the firework barges in the harbor that didn’t have trees crowding the view overhead AND see the bandstand.

A Bus comes down the blocked off street – the Philharmonic arriving!

They played all the  usual suspects, as well as a Star Trek tribute (50 years since the show first aired) and a tribute to the King – Elvis Presley.

Last number – The 1812 Overture, of course.

And then the fireworks begin.

OOOOOWWW!

AAAAAAHHH!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

 

And then – and then a really big display, mostly low down, close to the water.

And I thought to myself,” It almost looks as if the barge is on fire.”

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Denise Maccaferri Photography

july4th 2016

Then nothing.

People around me started saying it was a pretty short show this year and were getting up to leave.

I had to get up so I wouldn’t get trampled by the people climbing up the hill to get to their cars.

Almost every announcement about the fireworks during the day included remarks about how expensive they were, it wasn’t too late to donate…..so a short show WAS a possibility.

I only live a couple of blocks from the waterfront, so I was home lickety-split.

An hour or so late, I found it there really was a fire on the barge.

And thus begins a week of promise that just kept going downhill……

As if Orlando weren’t bad enough, St. Paul, Baton Rouge and then Dallas….too much red blood on too many American streets….

Early this morning a little bird held on the the edge of my window screen,

House_sparrow04

and I thought of Emily Dickinson…Hope is a thing with feathers…..

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
– Emily Dickinson

And I remembered the cake –

A  Cake called HOPE

It was from Tinky Weisblat’s blog  In Our Grandmothers Kitchens to celebrate the Inaugural of Barack Obama back in January of 2009…
Tinky had also e-mailed me on Thursday to ask me to judge in a Pie Contest.

I said YES.

I’ve been to Pudding Hollow before for judging Puddings….and I love Pies
Pudding hollowjudgesweb

Edie Clark on my left; Michelangelo Wescott to my right – was this 5 years ago?

Feathers of hope, wafting this was way and that

 

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More Pudding ( a wicked way back one….)

and a Pudding Contest.
Here are the rules for the 2014 Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest:

This is the pudding mold/crown for the winner of the contest – knowing Tinky, there will be other wonderful prizes as well

1. Contestants must be able to come to Hawley, Massachusetts, on September 28 by 11 am. If you are unable to attend the actual contest, you may send your pudding with a representative. You will be eligible for some prizes but not for the first-place award. Contestants must bring enough pudding to serve at least eight people and must march in the PUDDING PARADE. (If finalists are coming from far away, they may arrange to reheat their puddings in local kitchens.)

2. All recipes must be from original sources. That is, the formula for your own squash pudding or your Aunt Myrtle’s rice pudding is eligible. A recipe from a book is not.

3. Ingredients must be listed in the order used in the recipe. All ingredients listed must be used in the recipe instructions.

4. No pudding that has reached the finals in a previous year may be reentered.

5. Recipes will not be returned. The Sons & Daughters of Hawley and the Merry Lion Press reserve the right to reprint all recipes. No pudding will be accepted in the contest without a recipe.

 

and now for a pudding from the past, in verse no less….

Receipt for a Pudding

 If the vicar you treat,
You must give him to eat,
A pudding to hit his affection;
And to make his repast,
By the canon of taste,
Be the present receipt your direction.

First take two pounds of Bread,
Be the crumb only weigh’d,
For the crust the good house-wife refuses;
The proportion you’ll guess,
May be made more or less,
To the size that each family chuses.

Then its sweetness to make
Some currants you take
And Sugar of each half a pound
Be not butter forgot
And the quantity sought
Must the same with your currants be found

Cloves & mace you will want,
With rose water I grant,
And more savory things if well chosen;
Then to bind each ingredient,
You’ll find it expedient,
Of Eggs to put in half a dozen.

Some milk don’t refuse it,
But boiled ere you use it,
A proper hint this for its maker;
And the whole when compleat,
In a pan clean and neat,
With care recommend to the baker.

In praise of this pudding,
I vouch it a good one,
Or should you suspect a fond word;
To every Guest,
Perhaps it is best,
Two puddings should smoke on the board.

Two puddings!– yet – no,
For if one will do,
The other comes in out of season;
And these lines but obey,
Nor can anyone say,
That this pudding’s with-out rhyme or reason

Contributed by Mrs. Cassandra Austen(Jane’s mother) to Martha Lloyd’s collection of recipes, 1808The Poetry of Jane Austen and the Austen Family  by David Selwyn (Editor)

Jane Austin

Jane Austin

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