Monday, September 10, 2012

Piefest XIII

Until this past weekend I wouldn't have thought it possible to have too much pie.  I love pie!  I would have scoffed had anyone suggested such a thing.  Inconceivable!  Piefest XIII proved me wrong.  There comes a point when you just have to step away from the fork.  Don't get me wrong, I wanted to eat more pie.  But short of going all Roman, I simply couldn't eat another bite.  

Piefest is the creation of Adam's co-worker, Evan.  Although this is Piefest XIII, it was our Piefest premier.  

Here is how Piefest works:

1. Bring a (homemade) pie

2. Eat as much pie as you can
3. Vote on which pies you like best

The categories for voting are:


BBQ is Adam's thing.  He struck on the idea of making a BBQ pie for the savory category.  Thursday evening he got a brisket, and started smoking.    

And pastry is my thing, so I offered to make the crust.  Initially, I had an empanada-like crust in mind, but that would only work for mini-pies.  I didn't think it would be strong enough for a full-size pie, and we weren't sure mini-pies would comply with Piefest regulations.  It was the good idea of another of Adam's co-workers, Andy, to have a biscuit crust.

Cut butter into the dry ingredients.

Wet ingredients added, ready to roll out.

Rolled out thinner than for biscuits.

In the pie plate.


Since the dough was so soft, I didn't think I'd be able
to get it on top in one sheet.  The solution was to
cut and apply as biscuits.

Brisket was fully cooked prior to going in the shell.
BBQ sauce added to make it more like a pie filling.

Biscuits applied and brushed with butter, ready for the oven.

Pie in the oven, a little garden-fresh snack for the chef.
When I got Chagall, I taught her to sit on this
little stool so she wouldn't be underfoot in the kitchen.


Ahhhhh, yesssssss.....

Your pastry chef!

With love!

Meat pie baked and ready (I couldn't help but think of Sweeney Todd during this whole procedure.  Rest assured, only beef was used in the making of this pie), we headed out to Piefest.

Wow, what a selection!  So many pies.  We arrived early in the fest, and initially I was able to keep up with pies as they arrived.  There came a point when they were arriving too quickly, and, as I mentioned, I just became overly full.  Sadly, I did not sample all of the delicious pies.  Baked goods aside, a pie theme is a really great idea for a party.  Being an introvert, it's draining for me to make small talk in a large group of people I mostly don't know.  With all the pies, there was natural conversation.  Everyone was up and mingling, eating and talking about pies.

Our BBQ Brisket Pie

Quiche'n Tov, this one had a potato pancake crust.

Pad Pie - Pad Thai filling in a scallion pancake crust

Politician "Cherry" Pie with Lie-cing.  It was actually beets.  Very
tasty.  I forget what all was in the crust, it
it included hazelnuts.

That's how I felt after so much pie.
Elmo Pie

The Piemaster, Evan, and his awesome pie shirt.

The Least I Could Do Pie

Chicago Deep Dish Apple Pie

Pie-cake-in (like a Turducken) - a pie inside a cake

Banana Buttermilk

Yes, I will have some more pie!

Occupy Pie Street
Cream puff protesters

Piedog and Piemistress, Shama.

Most of the Piefest photos by Adam, who agrees the new camera is great to use.  Not only did we not try all the pies, we did not get photos of all the pies.

So, who won?

PRESENTATION: Occupy Pie Street

AMBITIOUS: Pie-cake-in and Occupy Pie Street
CRUST: Chicago Deep Dish
ORIGINAL: Politician "Cherry" Pie
MISCELANEOUS: Politician "Cherry" Pie
CREAM: The Rich Toff
FRUIT: Rock Da House Rhubarb
BEST IN SHOW: 3-way tie between Thanksgiving, Quiche'n Tov, Occupy Pie Street

That's right, we won for savory!  Hooray!  Below is the biscuit recipe, it is my favorite.  As Chef Art says in the recipe intro, they have a slightly crunchy crust with a soft interior.  You'll have to ask Adam for details on the brisket.  As far as I know, you rub it with spices, then cook it for a really long time at a low temperature with charcoal and wood chunks.  Pitmasters everywhere are shaking their heads in disappointment.  

If you'd like to hear an audio description of Piefest and an interview with the organizers, listen to a podcast at The Stupid Nerd blog.  It's episode #63, scroll down. 

Happy eating!  Enjoy some pie.  


P.S. Please find the companion Facebook page here.  Share your everyday joys!

Boarding House Biscuits
from Back to the Table by Art Smith

Makes about 14 biscuits


1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
3/4 c. buttermilk, as needed


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.  

Whisk all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly with a few pea-size pieces of butter.  Stir in enough buttermilk to make a soft, sticky dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Quickly knead the dough just enough until it comes together; do not overknead.  Pat or roll out the dough until it is 1/2" thick.  Using 2-1/2" biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits and place 1" apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Gather up the scraps, knead briefly, and repeat until all the dough has been used.  

Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes.  


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