It was a damp drizzly day, but contestants, judges and onlookers alike huddled under the apple tent for a battle of baking. There were children and adults, veterans and rookies, and even a husband and wife pitted against each other in the quest for the pie plate trophy, gift cards, and a coveted seat on next year’s judging panel.
Across the spread of eighteen pies there were many varieties of apples used, some with a crumb topping, others sporting a traditional two-crust appearance. The three judges were excited to dive in: our own Head Chef Todd Heberlein, pastry chef Denyse Corio, and Sam Hendler from Jack’s Abby in Framingham.
Out of all eighteen pies, the pie that rose to the top was one made by eight-year-old Ben Yountz. As the youngest-ever first place winner, Ben and his family were thrilled to be champions! The entire Yountz family pitched in with the making of the pie. Ben’s mom Heather helped with the baking and his little brother Luke drew the face on the ginger man poking out of the crumb topping. It was truly a family affair with four generations present at the contest: Granny and Grandma had even come all the way from New Jersey to take part in the festivities!
This, however, was not the Yountz Family’s first rodeo. This was their fourth year entering our pie contest, and this time they weren’t walking away without a trophy. They even made seven test pies in preparation! Our judges loved Ben’s Gala apple pie, commenting on the gingerman decoration and the subtle ginger flavor. The judges also loved the crumble topping and appreciated the fact that the young chef left the skin on the apples, giving them great texture!
Ben and his family won a $150 gift card to Volante Farms, a Volante Farms cookbook signed by Chef Todd, a bucket of gear and $50 gift card to Jack’s Abby in Framingham (which his parents were excited about), a pie plate trophy, and a spot on next year’s judging panel!
Second-place winner Jen Bonniwell was thrilled to nab a place on the podium as well. Like the Yountz family, she had been competing in the pie contest year after year but to no avail. As a matter of fact, each year Jen joked with Ben’s mother Heather about how their crumb-topped pies were the “stepsisters” of the apple pie contest – they never took home top honors! This year Jen decided to go for a traditional two-crust pie filled with Granny Smith, Cortland and Gala apples which earned her second place. The judges called this a quintessential all-American pie with a fantastic crust and great flavor. She took home a $75 gift card to Volante Farms and a Volante Farms Cookbook signed by Chef Todd Heberlein.
Red Jonagold apples and caramel were the key ingredients in Virginia Borrelli’s delicious third-place pie. Virginia is a talented baker at only twelve years old! The judges raved about the caramel flavor and sweet apple filling, and all three judges commented on how delicious the crust was. Perhaps the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because Virginia’s dad Matt is a former Volante Farms employee! Virginia took home a $30 gift card to Volante Farms and a Volante Farms cookbook signed by Chef Todd Heberlein.
All in all it was a fantastic day under the apple tent. Thank you to all who participated in this year’s contest, your hard work is very much appreciated! And a special thank you to all our judges who had to endure ALL THAT PIE! Somehow, they managed. Happy fall, everyone!