Hello Cookie Lovers!

How are you?

Where were you on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28?

As for me, I was happily in motion, so to speak. 🙂

By 8:00 a.m. on Friday, I was ready to walk over to the hotel convention center where the 2012 Crisco National Pie Championship was going on. Although the actual tasting or judging wouldn’t start until 9:00 a.m., there was a big crowd at the display table. One could find all kinds of flavors under the sun here.

Pie tasters were eventually seated, five or six at a table. Joann, Christopher, Rob, Karen, and I were at table 11. Everyone agreed that Rob should be the table captain because he was a seasoned participator of this championship.

We were to taste all possible versions of pumpkin pies ranging from family, to premium, to gourmet, to super-gourmet, to independent. Since there were 22 entries for this flavor, we had our work cut out for us.

We were to score these pies on a scale of 1 to 9 with 9 being excellent. The emphases were on flavor, mouth-feel, crust, aftertaste, 1st impression, and overall impression.

As the volunteered server, Chuck, presented each pie to us, we all took a look at the whole pie, at a piece after it was cut. Then we tasted it, both crust and filling. We evaluated the flavor, texture, and aftertaste, if any. We were allowed to discuss our opinion with one another only after everyone at the table had turned in the evaluation sheets.

There was a half-an-hour break for us to enjoy a box lunch.

The entire judging process went smoothly and pleasantly to the end. By 2:00 p.m., I was soaking in the Florida sun by the hotel pool. Well, someone had to do it. 🙂

And on Saturday,

I neglected to mention that “commercial” was yesterday category. Homemade pies made by amateurs are in the pipe for today.

It must be a popular category because so many people had signed up to be today judges. Each table had to accommodate eight or nine tasters. I was assigned to table 9 this morning to lend an opinion on cream cheese pies.

Not a problem! I love cream cheese.

By the way, when you sign up to be a judge, you can name your preferred flavors. Event organizers would only let you taste pie flavors that you prefer.

There were 24 interestingly different versions of cream cheese pies to taste. The process proceeded a bit slower than it did the day before because of the large number of tasters.

Nonetheless, I was on a hotel shuttle heading for the pie festival in Celebration, Florida by 2:30 p.m.

There was an All-You-Can-Eat, Never-Ending-Pie-Buffet at the festival. As a volunteered pie taster, I received a free ticket to this buffet. However, my taste buds seemed to have had enough of pies by then.

If you want to participate in next year Crisco pie championship, I would highly recommend that you sign up to be a judge for no more than two days. I plan to be a pie taster one day and a pie server or cutter another.

A few photos taken at the pie championship, festival, and tips on baking perfect pies are here.

Until next time ….Keep on baking.

Published date: May 10th, 2012

Copyright 2012 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved.