The 4th Annual Heights Great American Pie Contest was standing room only again this year! An outstanding showing of sweet & savory pie entries graced the Fire Station, and for the first time ever, each baker received a commemorative blue logo t-shirt at check-in!
Twelve culinary stars from Heights area locales stepped up to the challenge of determining the best pies entered. This year, 3 judges were tasked to exclusively judge the appearance and presentation of each pie at peak arrival. The remaining 9 judges were tasked to taste test each pie during an intense scrutinizing process. All our winners (see below) received an exclusive 2019 ribbon, embroidered apron, and a certificate personally autographed by all the culinary star judges.
SWEET CATEGORY WINNERS!
1st Place: Rebecca Thai – ‘Blueberry Pie’
2nd Place: Diana Acevado – ‘Healthy Key Lime Pie’ (dairy, sugar, gluten free recipe)
3rd Place: Ahn Du – ‘Watermelon Cream Pie’
SAVORY CATEGORY WINNERS!
1st Place: Peggy Coleman – ‘Onion Tarte Tatin’
2nd Place: Kris Elvin O’Brien – ‘Crab Pie’
3rd Place: Besty Boston – ‘Savory with Sweet’
It was a lively atmosphere all evening as MC Dewayne Ross and the DJ rocked the house with music and guests enjoyed adult and kid friendly refreshments served by HHA Ambassadors. Once the judging was done — the pie entries were open for a mega tasting by guests.
Special thanks to Danielle Stewart for assembling this year’s awesome roster of 12 Culinary Star Judges:
- Kevin Blasini, owner EQ HEIGHTS
- Greg Buchold, Heights pie-blogger, and legacy Heights Great American Pie Judge
- Evan Camp of Eureka Heights
- Maureen Demar Hall, multi-time winner of the Heights Great American Pie Contest
- Emily Ferrara, Head Chef/Owner of Orange Artichoke Kitchen
- Alli Jarrett, founder & owner of Harold’s in the Heights
- Bobby Jucker, Co-owner of Three Brothers Bakery
- David Leftwich, Co-founder of Sugar & Rice, Co-host of the Full Menu on Houston Public Media’s Houston Matters
- Jessica Lusk, owner of Red Dessert Dive
- Levi Rollins, Culinary Director/Co-owner of Urban Eats Bistro+Bar+Market
- Will Springfield, Chef/Owner of Your Private Chef Houston
- WILD CARD JUDGE, Rich Anhorn was picked from the audience!
Thanks so much to all who helped make this awesome summer event possible, including all our business members, co-chairs Dewayne Ross with Wedding Bliss Events (MC, judge systems & coordination) and Angela DeWree with Design & Inspiration/PartyProps2go (branding & decor), judge chair Danielle Stewart with Historic Heights Living Magazine, and J. Harding.
In addition, thanks to Greg Blasini of EQ HEIGHTS and Dan Long at Bliss on 19th for graciously providing the door prizes, Eureka Heights and Tea by the Sea for generously providing the refreshments.
And finally, a big shout-out to the volunteers behind the scenes: Amanda & Rich Anhorn, Donna Bennett, Jim Bennett, Jane DeWree Mast, Aaron Flores, Rubena Garcia, Emily Guyre, Steve Minatra, Marianne Terrell, Danae Stephenson.
We hope to see you again at next year’s contest, but until then, here are some more pictures from the festivities, plus some contestant recipes for you to try out!
More Pics from the Contest:
Sweet Potato Quiche
1 c Whole milk
1 c grated Swiss cheese
1 sweet potato, partially cooked, peeled and chopped
1/2 c red onion, diced
4 slices bacon (turkey or regular), cooked and crumbled
3/4 tsp nutmeg
Pepper to taste.
Place pie crust in plate, brush lightly with mustard.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together the milk, egg, cheese and & pepper.
- Stir in additional ingredients.
- Pour the egg mixture into an pie dish, and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. Or until the centre is set, and not jiggly.
This is also excellent without any crust. Freezes well.
Onion Tarte Tatin
We can’t get enough of this savory twist on the French dessert pastry—the cast-iron skillet helps the onions in this Tarte Tatin caramelize and become deliciously sweet.
Serves: 1 (12-inch) tart
2 medium yellow onions
1 medium red onion
. cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
. teaspoon kosher salt
. teaspoon ground black pepper
. cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
. (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
Garnish: fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cut each onion lengthwise into 12 wedges, leaving root ends intact.
- In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook, turning occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and honey; cook for 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, and pepper; sprinkle with Parmesan. Remove from heat.
- On a lightly floured surface, gently roll pastry sheet to remove crease lines. Using a knife, cut pastry into a 13-inch circle. Place pastry onto onions, carefully tucking edges down into skillet. Cut 2 small slits in top of pastry to release steam.
- Bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Carefully invert tart onto a serving platter. Serve immediately. Garnish with thyme, if desired.
1/4 cup softened margarine
1/4 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoom vanilla
- Your favorite single crust pie dough
Cream together the margarine, butter and sugar. Add flour and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing fairly well after each and then add buttermilk and vanilla. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie crust and bake at 400º for 8-10 minutes or until a knife comes out clean just off the center of the pie. Cool completely before serving and enjoy.
Watermelon Chiffon Pie
- 2 1/2 cups crumbled crisp gourmet cookies (such as Biscoff/Speculoos)
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 22 watermelon balls, using 1” melon baller
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp of finely grounded tapioca powder (such as Kraft Minute Tapioca)
- 1 Tbsp. lemon zest plus
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup powdered sugar, divided
- Heavily coat a 10-inch pie plate with cooking spray; set aside.
- Place cookies, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a food processor, and process until finely ground, 10 to 15 seconds.
- Add melted butter; process until mixture is moist and clumps together easily, about 5 seconds.
- Press crumb mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of greased pie plate. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
- Cut watermelon into cubes to equal 3 cups
- Place cubed watermelon in a blender, and process until smooth, about 20 seconds.
- Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, pressing gently to squeeze out juice; discard solids. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups of watermelon juice.)
- Place tapioca in a spice grinder or coffee grinder; process until finely ground, about 40 seconds.
- Sift ground tapioca through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of the tapioca powder.
- Stir together watermelon juice, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon tapioca powder, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan; let stand 5 minutes.
- Bring to a boil over high, and cook, whisking often, until tapioca dissolves, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Immediately remove watermelon mixture from heat. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.
- While watermelon mixture stands, beat 1 cup of the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of the mascarpone with an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form, about 50 seconds.
- Gradually add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 10 seconds.
- Working in batches, gently fold watermelon mixture into whipped cream mixture until smooth and blended.
- Spoon watermelon mixture into prepared pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- Scoop out flesh of remaining watermelon with a 1-inch melon baller, making about 22 (1-inch) balls. Place watermelon-balls on a plate lined with paper towels; set aside.
- Gently mix together remaining mascarpone cheese and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl just until combined.
- Add 1 cup heavy cream into mascarpone mixture and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 45 seconds.
- Dollop mascarpone-whipped cream topping on top of pie, leaving a 1-inch border.
- Place watermelon-ball along edges of whipped cream topping. Serve immediately.
“Make American as Apple Pie Great Again”
1 pie from Kroger. $5.99
144 American flags on 2” toothpicks from Arne’s. $2.99
Stick the flags in the pie and serve. Remove the flags before eating!