A Humbling (Pie) Experience: Judging the Third Annual Pie Social
Two of the pies I was most excited about, both pear varieties, were a huge letdown. Had the flavors been balanced correctly, they would have worked. However, both of them overwhelmed the delicate fruit with spices. The first was ambitious: pear cardamom pie with Gruyère crust from Vonceil's Pies. All three flavors are favorite ingredients of mine, but there was much too much cardamom, making the filling not quite jive with the delightful cheese crust. The second, a ginger pear pie with oat topping, came from Pie Snob Traci Wilbur, who swept the 2011 Pie Social, taking home four of five prizes for her apple chile pie. Well, you can't win them all, and surely this slip-up won't affect her stellar reputation (the name says it all).
Lauren Saria Cardamom pear pie with Gruyère crust
The pie I just couldn't get into for a second was from another pie maven, Mamma Toledo, who operates a popular dessert-only food truck. She adventurously crafted a mango chili lime pie, which is not on her menu of 31 pies -- and should stay off. The flavors seem like they'd go together, but they just didn't. Maybe with some tweaking Mamma (Tonya Saidi) can make this one work. At least the pecan cookie crust had good flavor, and the key lime would be respectable without the extras clashing with it.
Lauren Saria Mamma Toledo's mango chili lime pie
So, fellow pie tasters, which ones were your favorites? And -- since I was too stuffed to stick around for the community pies -- please chime in if any home-baked goods were worthy of a review.
7520 S. Rural Road, Tempe, AZ