When Fezziwig’s Marketplace in Oldtown O’Fallon puts on a food competition, it’s done right.
I was one of the judges July 15 for an amazing first pie baking competition at the wine, tea and gourmet food purveyor. Thanks to Carol Schlitt, of Freeburg, owner of Safe and Savory Solutions, and sisters Leisa and Amy Brockman, of Belleville, representing Southwestern Illinois College, we tasted, examined and did a lot of talking about the pies — eight each in two categories (Fruit and Baker’s Choice) — before arriving at our winners.
The pies were numbered, so we didn’t know who the contestants were, only that they made wonderful pies. So, much to my surprise, when I went to talk to Grace Thompson, the first-place winner in the Fruit Pie Category, I discovered the maker of the Ozark Mountain Berry Lattice Pie was 13 years old.
“We flipped through recipes, looking for the right one,” said Grace, whose basketweave crust with a braided edge wowed the judges, along with a delicious filling. (Recipes were not submitted for the contest.)
The second surprise was that Grace’s mother, Amanda Thompson, was the top winner of the Baker’s Choice Category for her Lavender Lemon Meringue Pie.
Amanda’s mother, Sheila Clement, was on hand to help with doling out samples. The family had moved just a month ago from Kansas to O’Fallon, Amanda said.
Other Fruit Category winners: second place, Judy Winkeler, for her Rustic Triple Berry Pie; and third place, Mickie Moore, for a classic cherry pie.
In the Baker’s Choice Category: third place went to Gail Long for her Southern Pecan Pie.
Best Crust winner was Judy Winkeler, whose Rustic Triple Berry Pie had a free-form crust that wrapped up around the filling.
Most Creative winner was young Grace Thompson, whose mother and grandmother said she did the detail work to create the lattice crust and braiding on her own.
The People’s Choice award went to Jami Bossart for her Peach O Berry Pie.
Fezziwig’s co-owner, Tim Moore, said the plan is to make the contest an annual event.
Put the rolling pin away
The Epicurious Test Kitchen has the solution for those of you who don’t want to make pie dough difficult: A flaky pie crust that requires no cutting butter into flour and no rolling out the dough.
Basically, there are a couple simple steps and you press the dough into the pie pan. Try it in the recipe here, or use it with your favorite filling.
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The Easiest Peach-Raspberry Pie with Press-In Crust
Keep your rolling pin in the cupboard—you won't need it for this simple press-in pie dough, which does double duty for both the crust and crumb topping.
CRUST AND CRUMB TOPPING:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 pounds ripe yellow peaches (about 3–4 medium)
2 pints raspberries (about 4 cups)
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Make the crust and crumb topping: Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour, salt and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Drizzle in butter. Stir just to combine, but do not fully incorporate. Texture should be crumbly with some large clumps.
Transfer 1 1/4 cups (loosely packed) crust mixture to a medium bowl; add cinnamon and remaining sugar. Knead with fingertips until well-combined but still crumbly with a few pea-sized pieces remaining. Freeze until ready to use.
Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons cold water to remaining crust mixture. Stir to form a dough, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the texture is smooth. Transfer to pie pan and press into bottom and up sides using a flat-bottomed measuring cup. Crimp edge with a floured fork, if desired, and freeze while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling and bake the pie: Position 1 rack in bottom third and 1 rack in center of oven; preheat to 425 degrees. Place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack to preheat.
Slice peaches into 1/4-inch-thick wedges, then transfer to a large bowl. Add raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and salt and toss well to combine. Fill pie crust with fruit mixture, then sprinkle with crumb topping.
Place pie on preheated sheet and bake until crust begins to turn golden, 20–25 minutes.
Rotate sheet, move to center rack, and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake pie until crust is golden brown and thickened juices are bubbling, 35-45 minutes more; cover crust with foil or a pie shield if it begins to darken too much before juices are bubbling. Cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours to allow juices to set before slicing.
Do ahead: Pie dough and crumb topping can be made and frozen for up to 3 months; thaw before using.
Epicurious, June 2015