KCRW’s 7th Annual Good Food Pie Contest


On October 4, 2015, KCRW held its annual “Good Food” Pie Contest on the UCLA campus outside the Fowler Museum. KCRW reported that there were 382 submissions.   “Good Food” is one of my favorite programs put on by KCRW (89.9 FM), the flagship NPR member station for Southern California. I could talk about how much I love the show and how I quietly geeked out sitting next to the host, Evan Kleiman, at a pop-up underground supper club of sorts called Wolvesmouth – Cut Your Teeth, but let’s save that for another time. If I know one thing about Ms. Kleiman, it’s that she loves pie, which no doubt inspired and brought back this event year after year.

This was my first time attending, and in the days leading it up to it, I thought only about all the pie I was going to get to eat. Although the event was free, organizers attempted to control the number of slices attendees could eat by only giving us 3 (or was it 4?) tickets. Luckily for me, some pie contestants refused to accept our tickets, which allowed us to sample more than 3 slices! In end, I called it quits after about 20 bite-sized samples shared among friends.

But what pies were there, you ask? There were 7 Categories: Fruit, Savory, Cooked Custard, Cream, Nut, Vegan, and “World”. “World” is a bit of a catch-all category that featured pies from countries other than the United States, but sometimes it included those that just incorporated “exotic” ingredients. I think the name could be better thought out, rather than lumping the rest of the world into one category, but I’ll let you know when I come up with it!  The winners were as follows:

Best in Show: Steak & Guinness (The judges emphasized that the flavors and great crust won them over – click the link at the bottom and take a look at the photos on KCRW’s site and you’ll know!)

Best Fruit:
First: Triple Berry Cabernet
Second: Salted Caramel Apple
Third: Blood Orange with Vanilla Bean

Best Savory:
First: Steak & Guinness (yes, again!)
Second: Lemon Herb Chicken Pot Pie
Third: Chicken Pot Pie

Best Cooked Custard:
First: Lemon Blueberry Icebox
Second: Coconut Custard
Third: Indiana Sugar Pie

Best Cream:
First: Salted Chocolate Mud Pie with Rye Crust
Second: Chocolate Silk Pie with a Brown Butter Shortbread
Third: Chocolate Caramel Cream Pie

Best Nut:
First: Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie
Second: Pecan Espresso Chocolate Chip Pie
Third: Chocolate Pecan Pie

Best Vegan: (Admittedly I didn’t use any of my tickets on these pies because I’m biased in favor of butter and lard, but under normal circumstances I would have loved to have tried them – my loss)
First: French Apple Pie
Second: Bourbon Pear Frangipane
Third: Vegan Peach & Berry Pie

Best World:
First: Yuzu Pie (This is the one winning pie that I sampled, and it was definitely my favorite! Imagine, a key lime pie, but instead substitute yuzu – a citrus fruit with East Asian origins that is like a hybrid between a sour mandarin and a Ichang papeda – a hearty citrus fruit of Chinese origin that is bitter or sour. The result was a floral yet slightly puckering citrus flavor that was mellowed by whipped cream).
Second: Apple, Gogi Berry with Himalayan Honey & Sesame Pie
Third: Southwest Ceylon Pumpkin, Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache, Cacao Nib, Pepita & Pine Brittle Pie

Find photos at the KCRW site, here.

There was a great turnout, and although I got to try a lot of creative pie entries, I have a better game plan for next year so I get me some of those winning pies – identify all the winners by face, and then hunt them down. Although with so many pies to eat for everyone, there really can’t be any losers!


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