Among the winning pies at this year’s American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships was a pie designed to resemble the engagement ring worn by soon-to-be Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton.
The media are calling Kate’s April 29 nuptials to Prince William the “Wedding of the Decade,” while foodies from major outlets including the NY Times, Nation’s Restaurant News, NPR, Yahoo and The Food Channel have all said, in effect, “Move over, cupcake! 2011 is the year of the PIE.”
This year, the American Pie Council (APC) married these two delicious pie-in-the-sky stories by adding a brand new category to the pie competition—the Royal Wedding Pie. The competition took place at the Caribe Royal in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month.
The new category challenged professional bakers to use their imaginations to create a pie fit to serve the royal couple at their wedding. And the winner created a blueberry pie symbolizing Kate’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
The winner of the Royal Wedding Pie category, Bryan Ehrenholm of The Lunch Pail in Modesto, Calif., also took the Professional division’s Best in Show out of 142 entries for his creation called “Engagement Ring Pie.” Of his sweet confection, Ehrenholm wrote, “The engagement ring worn by Kate Middleton is rich with history and grace, symbolizing the eternal love of Diana for her son William and William for his future Queen. So this pie is rich with history of English walnuts and dates, graced by a meringue crust and topped with the deep color of blueberries and encircled with the lightness of whip cream and diamond dust.” In case you’d like to bake this pie to celebrate the “wedding of the decade,” you can find the recipe here.
Among judges for this special category was Chef Darren McGrady, “The Royal Chef,” who was personal chef to Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and Princes’ William and Harry for 15 years. McGrady also signed copies of his book “Eating Royally” from which he donates all royalties to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.
“Pie making is all about fun and enjoyment, and what better way to add some excitement to this year’s competition than to add a Royal Wedding category,” said Linda Hoskins, APC’s executive director. The Royal Wedding Pie was just one of three new categories at this year’s championships. In celebration of Crisco’s 100th birthday, the contest also featured a “Crisco Innovations” category for one special year only. The third new category, likely to remain in the competition, is Gluten Free, to meet the needs of pie lovers who have wheat allergies or celiac disease.
The APC pie competition is held each year in conjunction with the Great American Pie Festival and the Never Ending Pie Buffet, an event which draws an annual following of more than 32,000 pie lovers and features more than 87,000 slices of pie!
This year’s pie championships drew 896 entries in four divisions: Amateur, Professional, Junior Chef and Commercial, and featured three exciting new categories: “”Royal Wedding,” Gluten-Free and “Crisco Innovations.” The pies were judged by 174 pre-qualified volunteer chefs, bakers and assorted pie aficionados.
Winners in the junior, amateur and professional divisions, as well as winning pie recipes are posted online at www.piecouncil.org, where you can also find out how to become a member of the APC or to register for the National Pie Championships.