kcrw pie contest. 2015.

So, I finally decided (committed to) entering KCRW’s 7th annual Good Food Pie Contest at the Fowler Museum at UCLA on Sunday, October 4th, 2015. We didn’t win, but it was fun as hell.

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Gift/swag bag for pie contest bakers.

First, I ordered (2) 10″ pie pans from amazon. Then I signed up for the contest online, paying the $15 entrance fee (last day of registration, of course). I was committed.

I knew that I would be making my blueberry pie. I usually make it in a tart pan, but the recipe has all the essential pie elements, so I did not need to make any adjustments. Little did I know that blueberries would be hard to find that weekend. Tried the regular market and they were really pricey. Trader Joe’s, where I usually find the large container, was completely out of them. Luckily, I was able to stop at the local farmer’s market on the way home and supplement my (2) bags of frozen with (6) containers of fresh. Putting me back about $40 total. All for the cause!!!

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From the farmer’s market. Plump & delicious.

Crust

In order to make the process less stressful, I decided to make the dough for the crust and the crumble topping, a few days before baking. Plus, It all needs to chill.

Often, I double the recipe and freeze half of it for later. Can come in very handy for a last minute pie.

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Butter and lemon zest.
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Cutting in the flour.
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Adding the egg & almond meal.
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Work it to combine.
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Shape with hands.
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Divide into 2 discs. Wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Crumble Topping

Next, I throw together the crumble. Basically about a stick of butter, cup of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated, 1/4 cup almond meal, 1/4 cup oats, teaspoon each of salt & cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Feel free to add/subtract spices, nuts, meals, oats. The base is the butter, flour & brown sugar. You want it to be crumbly and for each little crumble to have a bit of all the ingredients.

Place in ziplock, store in fridge or freezer until ready to use.


Pie Day

I decided to bake the pie the night before, to give the flavors time to meld and the consistency time to congeal.

First, I rolled out my chilled dough discs, lined them in the pans, weighted them down (see the cool patterns) and baked until lightly browned:

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Next, I made the blueberry filling. I used the measurements on the box of quick tapioca—adding that and sugar, then added the zest from 1 lemon, and the juice from 2.  Mixed that thoroughly. I poured the (2) bags of frozen and the (6) fresh containers into the same bowl and gently tossed until combined. It is a good idea to left it great for about a 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.

Fill the pre-baked pie shells with the blueberry mixture. I threw a couple of raspberries on top, just because they were getting a little soft in my fridge, and I figured, why not?

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Crumbled the topping over each pie:

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And then topped with some shapes made from the leftover scraps of crust. Sprinkle sugar  over the shapes.

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Ready to bake.

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All done. Set out (un-refigerated) over night. Cover loosely with foil.IMG_7207

Packed and ready.

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Showtime

Sign in & apron making crafts in the Fowler courtyard:

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Our set-up with my #1 assistant:

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I did it! Sophie proudly showing off our first ticket from a “customer”:

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There were over 300 entries:

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Our pie was devoured, with good reviews!

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A couple of other entries that were lovely:

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