Laura Dougald, of Preston, took home the blue ribbon Thursday in the “Just Desserts” cooking with wine contest, sponsored by the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, at the Missouri State Fair.
The contest is quickly becoming popular with contestants.
Dougald’s entry “Vineyard Grape Pie” served with homemade vanilla grape swirl ice cream won the judges hearts. She received her ribbon, including a high-five, from Danene Beedle, the marketing director for the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, along with a cash prize.
Placing second was Tami Walk, of Sedalia, for her “Wine-licious” Peach Cheesecake, made with St. James Winery peach wine. Faye Hunton, also of Sedalia, placed third for her Lemon Wine Cake with Raspberry Curd Filling, made with St. James Winery raspberry wine.
Dougald conceived her dessert idea due to a memory of her mother.
“My mother always told me about this great pie, it was back when you could get concord grapes,” she said. “Now you can’t get them this time of year, and I really wanted to do it — I though how perfect it would be for this contest. It took me a few test runs and I found I had use to red and black grapes, concord juice, and tapioca. I sliced the grapes and let them sit in wine a little bit, and I put the filling separate. And I made an almond crust, it has crushed almonds in it. That gives it so much flavor.”
Dougald said she took the pie dough and molded leaves to garish the crust, and to to serve with the pie, she made homemade vanilla grape swirl ice cream made with a Missouri wine.
She added that this is only her second time to enter the wine cooking competition.
“I’m happy, so happy” she said. “I was up at 2 o’clock baking, and I made it at my house. I live an hour away, so it’s crazy getting up here, and then you have to package it so it will make it. It’s so stressful getting your entries here in one piece. You really have to think it through.”
First time contest participant, Toni Warren, of Sedalia, didn’t place in the dessert category but she did take home a blue ribbon earlier in the day with her “Chicken Roll Blues,” in the cooking with wine entree division.
“It was my very first time to enter a contest at the Missouri State Fair, however I’ve been coming since 1984,” said Warren. “So I’m excited.”
Warren said she’d never cooked with wine before.
“And BOOM I won that ribbon,” she said of her chicken recipe. “I made a chicken cordon bleu with a white wine sauce.”
As for her dessert, “Have Your Cake and Drink it Too!” she used a sweet white wine.
Both cooking with wine contests are held, each year, on opening day of the Missouri State Fair. They feature a morning competition for entrees and and an afternoon competition of colorful and creative desserts.
The “Just Dessert”contest, in it’s third year, had approximately 13 entries this year.
“When we first started doing the contest we had a lot entries that were desserts,” said Beedle. “And then we had them judged alongside the entrees, so we just thought, ‘you know we have so many desserts we should give it its own category.’”
Beedle said more entries were turned in for the dessert competition than for the entree division earlier.
“Wine is a great way to integrate with things and dessert seems like a natural,” she added. “The dessert section is getting larger.”
She added that she thought the “Just Dessert” category was close to, if not at the top, in popularity out of all the Home Ec. cooking contests held during the 11 days of the fair.
Beedle also noted that cooking with wine isn’t difficult.
“No it’s not,” she said. “And the alcohol cooks out of it, so you don’t have that heavy alcohol flavor. But you’re left with the good stuff, the nuances of the depth that wine can add to a dish.”
The entries were judged on 40 percent taste, 30 percent on appearance and 20 percent on enhancement by wine. Winners received $150 for first place, $75 for second and $50 for third.
“We place all the recipes up on the website also,” Beedle said. “New this year, we’ve added taking professional photos of the food before it’s judged. We’re taking stage photos before hand so we can add them to the recipes once they come out.”
Beedle said that the winners of the competition will also be announced on the Missouri Wine and Grape Board website at www.missouriwine.org.
Prize winning recipes from past MSF food competitions are now available with the new “Harvest the Fun! Missouri State Fair Official 2012-2013 Cookbook” The cookbooks may be purchased inside the Home Ec. Building for $12.