Last Sunday Mike and I went to The Boston Pie Experiment at The Middle East in Cambridge. Last week I wrote about the pre-competition cocktail hour where I met the organizers and several of the contestants. You can read that post here. The main event was unlike anything I’d ever been to before, which makes sense, as I’ve never been to a food competition. There was so much creativity beyond the flavor variation – in how people dressed, decorated their table, created pie ingredient signage, and served their pies. I was very impressed. This event was so much fun and very different from how we spend a typical Sunday.
We started off with Table 1 and went straight through, tasting as we went. Some people seemed to have a different technique. They would gather samples and bring them back to a central location to eat and ponder. Mike and I thought the contestants might run out of pie samples, as it was so crowded and it seemed like we were towards the back of the line. About 10 pie samples in, I realized we needed to pace ourselves if we hoped to make it through the entire line up. We started sharing some of the larger samples. After eating through the savory pies, we began with the sweet pies.
Meeting the contestants and tasting so many varied flavors was an awesome experience. I was a little sad that I had decided not to participate, but I was happy to have spent my Saturday at the beach instead of 12+ hours baking pies as many of the contestants did. I thought my pie would have fallen flat, been lost amongst a sea of professional creations. I was pleasantly surprised that most all of the contestants were not professional chefs or in the food industry. Most of them were like me, working in a totally unrelated industry, but really passionate about food, cooking and sharing. I felt like I was at the threshold of a new group of friends, all lined up and waiting to be met.
After tasting all the pies, Mike and I sat down in a food stupor to mull over our ballot. This was such a hard decision! Comparing apples to apples is one thing – but comparing apples to pork chops is quite another – and that’s what this felt like. The judges must have had a hard time deciding on the winner. Although in so many ways, all the chefs and assistants were winners. They found the energy and chutzpah to chop, stew, saute, and bake for hours to feed the hungry and curious taste buds of an army of strangers. For that, I thank each of them.
I’ll leave you with the full rundown of contestants, pies, and my description and commentary. Can you guess which was my favorite?
|The Contestant Teams||The Pies||Details/Commentary|
|Wine Among Friends||Attack of the Killer Tomato Pie||Cheese, tomato, pie crust – yum!|
|Chef Diesel||Plymouth Rock Pie||This was like mini Thanksgiving dinner with a pastry topping – turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, etc. Perfect lunchtime pie.|
|Pie2-D2||Chicken & Beer Pot Pie||Good traditional fare. I’m not a fan of chicken pot pie but this was surprisingly tasty|
|The Skinny Beets||Cubano Pie||I didn’t taste this one, as I don’t eat pork. Mike liked this – it was basically a mini Cuban sandwich|
|Gee Point One Four||Pissaladiere||French caramelized onion pie with anchovies. Delicious and unusual, in adorable bite-sized pie shells. The chef and partner duo wore matching French-inspired outfits.|
|Laurie Lufkin||Tomato Caprese Pie||3 kinds of tomatoes and a puff pastry shell – heavenly!|
|The DS9 Supper Club||A Pie Called George||A vegetarian pate made from eggplant all in a little pie shell. Unusual and delicious. I want to try this recipe some day.|
|Nomsense Food||Nomsense Foolproof Quiche||A standard quiche. Quite tasty, but nothing outstanding|
|La Pelle a Tarte||Mousse pie with chocolate and cream (mislabeled on the ballot)||This was amazing – and the first of the sweet pies. It melted in your mouth and tasted very sinful, without being too heavy|
|Gotta Have Pie||Japanese Sweet Potato/Apple Pie||The filling on this was lovely – perfect consistency with the nice surprise of apples. I wish the crust was a little thinner and flakier|
|Piegate!||Vanilla Maple Mousse w/Bacon (optional)||This was very nice, but perhaps a bit too sweet for me. Mike thought the bacon addition to be delightfully crunchy.|
|Right in Your Piehole||Pretzle Me Sweetly||Peanut butter chocolate pretzel pie – what more could you ask for? I loved it and loved their enthusiasm! Crust was crushed pretzels and filling was dark and chocolatey.|
|Sweetie Pie||Cherry Frangipane Tart||This was surprising and fully of almond flavor. Delightful and refreshing without being too rich. Nice balance of flavors. Something I could easily eat more of if I wasn’t pacing myself.|
|Abraham Heavy Industries||Marshmallow Black-Bottom Pie||Points for use of technology and ingenuity. This was like a s’mores in a pie – with a torched melted marshmallow on top. Interesting. Very appealing to the children.|
|Bones N’ Rose||Blueberry Crumb Pie||This was the largest sample size – mini pies baked in individual disposable tins. The blueberries were very fresh and tasty. The crumb topping and crust had room for improvement.|
|The Pie Guys||Crystallized Ginger Peach Pear Pie||What a lovely combination of fruit and spice. Delightful flaky crust. I can be very sensitive to ginger and spice, but found this to be enjoyable.|
|Bourbon Banana Cream||Bourbon Banana Cream Pie||Banana Cream Pie. I don’t care for cooked bananas, so I had a hard time judging this one.|
|Butter Love||Palatial Plum Pie||This was a lovely fruit pie filled with plums.|
|Hungry Monkeys||Ooey Gooey Butter Crunch Pie||A butter pie with Indian spices. Imagine pecan pie without the pecans and that was the consistency of this pie. Very different and surprising on my sugar-logged taste buds.|
|Cutie Pie||Fruit Pie||This mother-daughter team baked up the best peach pie I’ve tasted. I felt like I was sitting on a porch somewhere in Georgia.|
|Clara’s Cake Shop||Blueberry Pie w/Lemon Curd||Refreshing combination of blueberry and lemon. Strong flavors of lemon zest.|
|Simply Sweet Boston||Upside Down Apple Pie||I always love the classic apple pie and this one didn’t disappoint. Served a la mode too!|
|Oh My! Cherry Pie||Cherry Pie||Good cherry fruit pie.|
|Gluten Freedom||Banana Cream Pie||Again, banana cream pie is not my favorite dessert. I think if you like bananas, you would have enjoyed this. Hard to believe it was vegan, as it had a nice creamy consistency.|
|Sticky Toffee Pudding Pie||Sticky Toffee Pudding Pie||Intensely sweet and sticky. Perhaps I had already had too much sugar to enjoy this.|
|Pi R Round||Strawberry Rhubarb Pie||This was refreshing and delightful. Good balance of sweet and tart with the filling taking center stage over a nice pastry crust.|
|Cheery Pie-Rates||Sailor Jerry Cherry Pie||I was too far gone on pie overload to fully enjoy this. Had a nice crust and full fruit flavor.|
If I missed your blog or contact information please let me know and I’ll update this list!
See a full list of the “official” winners at The Food Experiment.