There was plenty of pie to go around in the offices of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce Oct. 15, leaving those who judged the Harvest Faire Pie Baking Contest with full bellies and a sugar high.
Talented local bakers submitted 10 entries in the sweet category and another five in the savory division. The judges sampled them all, taking into account overall appearance, flavor (taste and smell), texture and creativity.
In the sweet category, Elaine Lasater took first place with her delicious Apple Pie. Kate Robinson garnered second with her delightful Kilkenny Country Apple Pie with Blackberries.
One of the judges, an expert baker who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, loved everything about Lasater’s apple pie.
“The winning sweet pie filling was the perfect blend of both tart and sweet,” said the judge. “You could taste that the apples were fresh, and it was baked just perfectly. A couple of minutes more and apples can be applesauce. I loved the crust also.”
The judge later learned that Lasater, owner of Tea Lane in downtown Fallbrook, used apples from her own trees in her pie.
In the savory category, Jodi Daly triumphed with her very satisfying Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Pie. Julie Hardesty took second with her creative Roasted Beet Root Tart with Fennel & Dill.
The judge said Daly’s creation was her top pick overall.
“The savory pie was my favorite,” said the judge. “The mushrooms and the caramelized onions made the most amazing combination.”
The judge added that the competition ran deep in this year’s contest, making it tough on those called upon to select a winner in each category.
“It is a hard job to judge all the pies,” said the judge. “They were definitely all unique and delicious. But the winners had it all – presentation, taste, appearance, great crusts and cooked to perfection.”