I called my pie ‘Star Kissed Strawberry’ and, as the name suggests, it was a baked strawberry pie. Most strawberry pies are fresh rather than baked so I thought it might be fun to make a pure baked strawberry pie.
To keep it interesting I infused a homemade strawberry jelly with star anise, rosewater, lemon peel before adding the fresh strawberries. This added a depth to the pie without taking away from the strawberriness. I also dusted the top crust with anise seed sugar to echo the star anise in the filling.
I’m not entirely sure how it tasted because I’ve never made this exact pie before and I couldn’t stay for the tasting. I had class. The contest was a berry pie contest through the farmer’s market. I’ll post a link to the recipe – they’ll be featuring it on the website.
- Stay for the judging. I really want to know what the judges thought. I liked my spice/flavouring combination but an external opinion(s) would have been great.
- Don’t cut patterns into the outer edges of the top crust. If you look at the picture at the bottom of the page, you can see that a lot of the filling bled through This is because I cut stars into the edge of the crust. Instead of coming out clearly the filling just bubbled through and destroyed my lovely stars. It looks messy rather pretty and in this case I would have preferred pretty.
- Simple is better. Don’t go fussing around with anything super fancy if you haven’t tried it before and you’re new to competitions. This isn’t Top Chef and you want to build your confidence up. Simple and yummy beats fancy and strange tasting every day of the week.
- Brushing with egg and sugar makes the pastry gorgeously golden brown. This is great to make pie cut-outs stand out or to accent certain parts of the pie. Look at the star above for a beautiful example.
Besides mulling over pie competitions, I also began to wonder when people started making pies. It turns out that pies have been around since the Neolithic Stone Age or 9500 years before the common era making them more than 12500 years old. Clearly pies have aged well. Ancient Egyptians started making pie to preserve food. Food preservation seems to be a common reason for the development of new food technology. The earliest Egyptian pies wrapped honey in ancient forms of pastry, yummy.
From there, pie kept developing and transforming as new cultures put their own stamp on it. My ancestors from Great Britain loved their meat pies with the cornish pasty being a well-known meat-filled treat When the pie crossed the Atlantic Ocean First Nations people showed settlers berries, and fruit pie became a popular and delicious North American staple.
Now that I have one competition under my belt, I am raring to enter another pie competition! I have found BBQ-on-the-Bypass, which is a BBQ cook-off as well as a pie competition. Plans are underway to enter pies in at least two of the categories so check back in September to see how I do.
Shonagh explores the guts of food in An Offal Experiment