I served my community by judging the pie contest at the Slow Food Miami picnic on Saturday. The picnic took place at The Barnacle in Coconut Grove. Please visit this lovely place if you’ve never been. It’s a gem of a spot for a picnic. It’s just a dollar to visit, and on Sundays there are musical performances on the water.
Palo! supplied the music and everyone brought their own food. There were nine pies in all. After the judging, everyone enjoyed slices. Pies were judged on taste, appearance, creativity, overall impression, and use of local ingredients.
The contest required bakers to use as many regional ingredients as possible. Pies were named a la Waitress.
The first place pie was the exceptional “Summer’s Bounty.” Francis Brown and Alex Arenciba used local mangos, lemongrass, and avocado in the pie. They poached the mangos in lemongrass syrup. The avocado was sweet, making it a surprising pie ingredient. Brown used Thai basil from her yard in the crust which was a tasty, savory balance to the pie.
Hunter Reno and her family won second place for their lovely, fresh “Eat it Raw” pie, which would have done Tracy Glaser proud. Reno assembled the pie right before the contest, with the help of her children. The pie included Florida blueberries, backyard bananas, coconut from the Glaser Farms market, and local mangos.
The third place winner was Hillary Scurtis with her delicious “O Passion Pie.” Tangy passion fruit was crowned with velvety meringue. Oreo crust may sound unusual, but it was a good complement. Some of the children were digging into this one. You can download the O’ Passion Pie recipe (blurry copy, sorry) here.
The winner for most creative pie was the “She Ran Off With Jose, But Left Me With The Cuervo” by Ian Cole. This was a key lime pie with tequila-a margarita pie. The alcohol was strong, but it was definitely an original idea.
The rest of the lovely pies:
Coco Palenque baked the “Please Don’t Leave Me Pear Pie.” This was an old fashioned deep dish pie with a filling of pears poached in port. I loved the hint of gruyere in the crust. Palenque said, “If pleading, begging, cajoling doesn’t work, serve him this.”
The “Stolen From My Neighbor’s Yard Mango Pie” was contributed by Tamara Lush, although she stipulated that the mangos fall into her yard from the neighbor’s tree. She also used Bacardi rum. Although Lush said she felt like the “Little Miss Sunshine” of the contest, I thought it tasted fresh and not unlike tasty fall pies.
Robert Barnum of Possum Trot Farm baked a “Crumbly Apple Mess” with apples, local mangos, and a homemade granola topping. Possum Trot Farm is located near Monkey Jungle in the Redlands. Barnum grows hundred of plants on his farm, including tropical fruit, spices, and medicinal plants. He also makes wine, offers tours and cooks private dinners at the farm.
Dawn Fine usually bakes cakes, but she contributed a “You Can Take A Girl Out of Texas, But You Can’t Take The Texas Out Of The Girl” pecan pie. Fine also graciously contributed her recipe, which you can download here.
The other judges included Kris Wessel of Red Light, Erik Peters of Club Med, Elizabeth Smith of Wine News Magazine, and Wirth Munroe. Munroe is the great grandson of Commodore Ralph Munroe, who built The Barnacle and designed boats.
Slow Food Miami hopes to reprise this event next year, so start working on your pie ideas!