It’s fall-like alright — the winds are cooler, the sun sets sooner, and there are apples, pears and pumpkins to put in your ovens from local farms. It’s basically time to think about making pie. Fortunately, we’ve got some inspiration from three bloggers who’ve already gone that route, to much success. Last week, I asked local food bloggers to post their best seasonal pie recipe for a chance to win two tickets to the fifth annual “Let Us Eat Local” fundraiser party held by Just Food. This is not your average party, let me remind — it’s a buffet of food thoughtfully prepared and hand-served to you by the chefs of New York’s best restaurants, including Blue Hill, Gramercy Tavern, Butter, Telepan, and gosh, a lot more. You can still score tickets to this event in advance here. But one of these bloggers, and their date, will be attending it by virtue of what you and our judges think of their recipes. Check them out below and comment to choose!
Yes, your comment/vote will help decide whose pie wins this contest. But first, let me introduce the panel of judges who will also be weighing in with their favorites to determine a winner. They are:
Jessica Gaffney, Events Director, Just Food: Jessica is a nonprofit maverick. She loves food, of course, but she has spent the past three years working with Just Food helping to promote better access to fresh food from local farms to all New Yorkers with the organization. She also organized a professional pie contest amongst local businesses that will take place at this year’s Let Us Eat Local event.
Allison Kave, First Prize Pies: Allison entered and won (first place) in a Brooklyn pie contest in 2009, and took the momentum to build her own artisanal pie bakery, First Prize Pies. You can find her wildly inventive and delicious homemade pies at restaurants and groceries such as Essex St. Market and every Saturday at the Brooklyn Flea’s Smorgasburg. (Her signature first-prize pie was a Bourbon and ginger-infused pecan pie, by the way.) Allison will be amongst the competitors at the Let Us Eat Local pie contest herself, so she’s definitely no stranger to this game.
Emily and Melissa Elsen, Four & Twenty Blackbirds: Their caramel apple pie will make you die of happiness. Their salty honey pie will give you a foodie revelation. They are the sisters behind the Brooklyn pie shop, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, which features local and seasonal fruit fillings tucked into mom’s can’t-beat butter crusts — and they even grow some herbs to spice them up on the storefront’s windowsills.
And now, our three pie contest entrants:
At Fork This, Melissa Sands took inspiration from her shared crisper drawer, and a recent promising date: she made a Chai-Spiced Pear Pie with Walnut Crumble using Bosc pears from her roommate’s CSA share and sweet memories of a previous cardamom-laced pear bread pudding she once made (and that date). The warm spices of chai and especially cardamom with the mild, autumny sweetness of pears are a beautiful combo. And I’m hoping that second date was just as perfect!
At Making Michael Pollan Proud (don’t you love that blog name?), Katie Clements went the savory route with a layered pie of tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant stacked in a buttery crust. The vegetables were picked straight from her parents’ garden, and Katie stresses the importance of minimally seasoning them to preserve their just-picked integrity. I’d say she made her guru proud with this one.
At Dave’s Kitchen, Dave and his ladyfriend Karol perfected the peanut butter concord grape-jelly pie of their dreams. Check out that modernist crust! For the seasonal, Upstate New York fruit, Dave went through the task of popping them out of their skins, straining out their seeds, and returning their skins to cook until a thick, tart-tasting sludge to pour inside the peanut butter crust. Definitely an improvement on the childhood lunch staple.
So there are your choices, and above are their blog post links so you can read more about the recipes. Tell us whose pie you like best in the comments below! Voting ends Friday at midnight, and the winner will be notified on Saturday. Good luck, and thanks to all the great cook-contestants!