We were a household full of sugar-starved females in a season notorious for pie consumption, and somehow we gained access to cases upon cases of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries for free.
I think you know the rest of the story.
I’ll give you two hints: Pie Competition.
It began with all of the donated fruit (Gretchen catered a tequila saturated event for Driscoll employees and in their hangover haze they left all of their product behind), and soon enough one of our friends casually dropped the whole “We should have a pie-making competition” line within earshot and soon enough there were twelve of us lined up around the kitchen, mouths watering, waiting to try three very delicious looking berry pies. A massive bowl of whipped cream and a pint vanilla ice-cream awaiting, we served a small slice of each pie to each judge and quickly got to work.
Contestant: The Hot Shot
Overall: Made by the local pie expert, pie #1 was all about the crust. With barely any sugar in the filling, this blackberry/raspberry pie had a classic delicate crust and tart, evenly cooked filling.
Process: The maker of this pie strut into our kitchen well before any contestant and had a crust rolled and ready in about twenty minutes flat. A seasoned crust connoisseur, he insisted on bringing his own pan and accessories. Better caught dead than without a pastry cloth.
Secrets: Ice water in the dough; chilling the dough before rolling it out; barely any sugar in the filling; touching dough as little as possible to ensure flakiness
Results: The fact that there was the least amount of this pie left in the pan after the judges got to work might just speak for itself.
Contestant: The Artiste
Overall: The artiste came up with the idea for the contest and had his crust made the night before. Definitely the best dressed, this pie wins the beauty contest. Extra points for the cinnamon sugar on top.
Process: Making the crust the night before may have made the rolling-out process more challenging for him, but the artiste refused to complain. With furrowed brow and beer in hand, this meticulous contestant showed patience and perseverance as he wove a pie-crust worthy of children’s book illustrations or Martha Stewart Living.
Secrets: Sour cream and vinegar in the crust; cinnamon sprinkled on top
Results: Tasteful, tantalizing, and tangy.
Contestant: The Natural
Overall: This pie profited from a luscious, smooth filling made complex with the use of all three types of berries (blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries) and generous helpings of lemon zest. The most original of the three, The Natural’s pie also had an oat crumble crust making it a cobbler-pie hybrid.
Process: Ah, the process. Halfway through a compelling conversation, The Natural looked down to her bowl and realized she had stirred its contents into a marmalade mush. Almost at her mind’s end, she saved the day with an oat/brown sugar crust and plenty of lemon.
Secrets: Three kinds of berries; lemon zest and juice
Results: Most agreed that while sweeter than the other two pies, pie #3 also had the more complex and layered flavors, making it the most original and the best pick for late night leftover bite.