I'm a winner!

Okay, enough about the Rockies already. Here is the post that will act as a salve to Dave's hurting wounds from the losing Rockies.

This weekend, another competition was taking place. A church in Westchester hosted it's 2nd annual Chili-Pie Bake off. Let's just put it this way: it was the world series for pie baking.

I knew the competition would be stiff, and I prepared accordingly. Following a strategy session with my next door neighbor Rick, who won last year's contest, I settled on a caramel pecan apple pie. I baked all day (along with putting the final touches on the kids' Halloween costumes) and took the pie out at 3.30. I desperately wanted the pie to still be warm when the judges tasted it. As we were driving to the church, I had a moment of panic when I saw the water that was sloshing around inside the pie. Why was it there? What had caused it to appear? Travis suggested I pour it off, and a dicey operation ensued. Luckily the pie survived the draining, but my hopes of winning were crushed. Who would want to eat a watery pie?

I was completely surprised when my pie was called as the winning one. I was so thrilled I ran up the steps to accept my apron, and then turned around and gave an impromptu speech to the crowd. There had been several winners for chili, but mine was the only speech. I must admit I'm a bit embarrassed about it now, but it was a rambunctious group so hopefully no one heard what I said.

For those of you who asked (you both know who you are!), here is the recipe. I have some tips included too, if you're interested. The irony of it all is that I really don't like pie. I'm not a fan of any kind of cooked fruit... I'm just in it to win it. Any suggestions for next year's recipe?


single pie crust

1/2 cup sugar

2 T all purpose flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt

6 med. baking apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Stir above together until apple slices are coated. Transfer apple mixture to pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or till top is golden. Remove from oven; sprinkle pie with pecans, then drizzle caramel topping over. Cool on wire rack.

CRUMB TOPPING: 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup butter until crumbs form.

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

my tips: I always used locally grown apples. This year was honey crisp. After peeling I coat them in lemon juice, so they don't brown. I also used vanilla sugar, which was introduced to me by the lovely and talented Elizabeth. She gave it to me a couple of Christmases ago... it's basically regular sugar with a couple vanilla beans in it. You just keep adding sugar to the container when it starts to get low, and leave the vanilla bean in there. It adds a great flavor to whatever you're baking.


Yah Yah said...




Finally a post I can really sink my teeth into. Was that the recipe I gave you to use last year?

carrie said...

Wahoooooooooooooooooo! Congrats!

I LOVE that you gave an un-solicited speech. Nothing is funnier than an unasked “I’d like to thank...” except for maybe an impromptu dance off. That is hilarious.

I hope you remembered to thank me in your speech. Not b/c I have anything to do with you being a good baker, but because you love me.

carrie said...

Ps. What happened to your bangs? I assume the fact that I finally cut some means that they are now out of style.

liz said...

Congratulations! wow Sara, now your life is complete. It's truly like being crowned prom queen of r.s.

scout said...

Yeah Sara!! you are a rock star.

Anonymous said...

i'm a little upset that i wasn't mentioned in this blog since i really do feel like i won too
...and i love carrie because of the bang coment!!

Design Mom said...

I'm meant to come by Sunday night for a bite. Can't wait to try this recipe. Congratulations!

ESL Teacher said...

I am fascinated by the competitive blood that seems to flow in all the lewis veins. What is the source? It must have been an intense great-granny somewhere....

Lindsey said...

You rocked the pie competition. All I heard were "Oh...this is so good! Did you try this one?"

Next year, if I'm not in charge--be prepared for some heavy duty competition. Rick better get ready, too.

Janice said...

Wow! I know about Lindsey's cooking and if she was part of it, I am super impressed. I had no idea you had this talent. Why didn't I get to taste your awesomeness in high school?

mom said...

I flew out from Colorado the day after the pie competition and tasted again and again the pie and it truly was a culinary delight--fabulously delicious!!!!

Chris Gustavson said...

Yaaay congrats Sara! But still, it pales in comparison to taking stake in basketball.

I was laughing about your acceptance speech... reminds me of last week when Chris and I decided to give one of our employees (ok, we only have 2) a bonus of $25 and I made up a little card. We interrupted his work while he was laying some tile in a client's basement. I told him he was doing a great job, and gave him the envelope, and he hung on to the card and literally gave an ACCEPTANCE SPEECH!!! It was very sweet, but also funny in a sick, perverse way. Is that so wrong?

sara said...

thank you, thank you. if i could remember the acceptance speech i gave, i would post it now. some responses:

janice: i am in no way as good a cook as lindsey. not even in the same ball park. the only reason i won is because she was in charge of the party and couldn't enter! a year ago we were arriving at the same christmas party and i carried in a pan of brownies she had made, and all night long people were telling me how amazing they were. i really wanted to take credit for them, but restrained myself. it felt good to be lindsey for a few hours though, and have everyone compliment your cooking!

carrie: don't worry about the bangs. i have plans to get them cut again in december, just haven't had time to get to the hair dresser (since she lives in colorado) and my bangs are quite long.

anonymous: i love it when you post. you and erin were as excited as i was. i never could have done it if not for your support. you've been the wind beneath my wings. did i mention you in my acceptance speech?

esl teacher: damn straight we are competitive. even when we were like 10 years old, our dad never "let" us win at anything.

chris: i love the story. i would have done the same thing as your employee. i'm always making mountains out of molehills!

Gabriela said...

Hey Sara: congrats on your pie and thanks for the recipe!!! It looks delicious.

Love, Gabs (aka J.Bianchi from FHS)

Gabriela said...

ps. I got here from Janice's blog (read: I am not stalking you!)