If you bake it, they will come. While that may not be the exact line from the film “Field of Dreams,” it was certainly an accurate description as a large crowd attended the Missouri First Lady Pie Contest at the Missouri State Fair Thursday morning.
Many in attendance in the Home Economics Building came to support their favorite bakers while others were there to learn more about the art of pie making. All who attended were treated to samples of the pies after the winners were announced, which made for a very satisfied audience.
First Lady Georganne Nixon was on hand to present awards to the winning bakers. Her husband, Gov. Jay Nixon, also made an appearance at this year’s event.
Jay Nixon had the opportunity to sample a few of the finalists before Kristie Price was awarded the Grand Champion ribbon for her German Chocolate Pie.
“I am really just amazed and excited,” Price said. “I’ve entered contests and won before, but never anything like this.”
Price said her pie was essentially chocolate filling, whipped cream, nuts and coconut.
“It’s not a family recipe or anything like that,” Price said. “I created it on my own. I search Pinterest a lot and I found something similar to it,” she added.
It was only the second time Price had made the pie, saying she wanted to try more versions of the pie before the State Fair competition.
“I simply ran out of time to try to do anything else with it,” Price said. “You know how sometimes life can get in the way.
“I think I’ll be making a lot more of them now,” she added with a laugh. “This will probably become a family favorite.”
Price said her philosophy on the contest was “go big or go home.”
“I guess that really paid off this year,” she said.
Contest Coordinator Jackie Barb said the 16 fruit and 14 cream pies were a smaller number than previous years, but it did not affect the quality of the entries.
“We really have some excellent entries this year,” Barb commented. “It will be difficult for the judges to choose.”
Six judges, three for each division, judged the pies on their appearance, filling and crust, and flavor.
The judges first visually judge the pie and then they are given samples to taste. Each judge completes a score sheet that is used to determine the winners in each class.
Last year’s winner, Kathrine Kanneman, was on hand as a spectator.
Kanneman could not enter this year because she won both divisions last year and won the grand champion pie last year for her raisin cream pie.
When asked what it takes to create a grand champion, her advice differed from this year’s winner.
“I just keep them simple,” Kanneman said. “Really, it has to taste good and for me simpler is better.”
History almost repeated itself as Tracy Shipe took second place in the soft pie competition for her s’mores pie with flaky graham crust, and third place in the fruit pies with a wild blueberry.
News anchors Angie Bailey and Meghan Joy of KOMU-TV were the moderators for the pie baking demonstration that was hosted while the judges chose the winners.
Bailey and Joy first came to the pie competition six years ago when they were asked to be judges.
It was a job they repeated this year. While the two did not judge the preliminary rounds, they were asked to choose the grand champion pie.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484