CORNER BROOK — When it comes to the perfect pie, Frank Diamond says “taste is the most important thing.”
After sampling 28 entries in a pie baking contest at First United Church in Corner Brook on Saturday, Diamond and his fellow judges, Elaine Brown of the United Church Women’s group at First United and local radio personality Gerri Lynn Mackey, found that perfect pie in a traditional apple variety. The winning pie was baked by Wince Wiltshire of Corner Brook.
The contest was held as a fundraiser for the church. Brown said the money raised through the entry fees and subsequent sale of slices of the pies along with some tea or coffee will go towards the cost of renovations to the church sanctuary.
“We have three criteria,” Brown explained as the judges set about sampling the pies. “One is appearance ... the physical appearance of the pie, the other is the taste, of course, and the last one is the texture.
“So we’re looking for something that has all three of those,” Brown said.
Brown has baked quite a few pies over the years, but doesn’t consider herself an expert. She just enjoys baking.
“And I know what I like,” she said. “I like a pie with a very nice pastry, a pie that’s easy to cut and nice and firm, and something that’s very tasty.”
She and her fellow judges found all that in the pies they tasted, everything from traditional apple, raisin and partridgeberry varieties, to some fancy coconut cream, pecan and chocolate ganache with raspberry delights.
As an instructor in the culinary arts program at Academy Canada, Diamond had the most expertise in knowing what to look for and he was impressed with what he saw and tasted.
“Really top notch,” he said. “Nice appearance, nice flavour, even the texture. Really high-quality products.”
He said what set the pies apart from judging student baking is the experience came out in the pies.
“You can tell these people are experienced, no doubt they’re experienced,” Diamond said. “Right from the flavour, right up to the appearance, they know what they’re doing.”
One area where Diamond’s expertise really came through was in the way he sampled.
“You can’t eat everything,” he told his fellow judges.
And while small morsels of the portions of pies he tasted remained on the plates, Mackey finished every bite.
“I can’t cook or bake and I like to think I’m a bit of an expert taster,” she said.
Once all the pies were tasted and the judges selected their top choice among the group the three top pies were once again put to the taste test.
Following Wiltshire’s first place apple pie, was Audrey Whitehorne’s coconut cream pie in second place and Joan Rowe’s raisin pie in third place. Each of the winners was awarded a gift card from Sobeys.