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She made a couple of practice pies, which friends taste-tested, filling out comment cards about each one. That helped her tweak certain aspects of the “real pie.” For example, she overdid the peanut butter in the first pie but struck a nice balance in the second, her friends agreed. “One person was insistent that the other, Pie A, was better, but we told her that she was wrong,” Peterson said.
Mandy Dircks, a second-time contest participant, used a 100-year-old peach pie recipe that came highly recommended from her mom. It hearkens back to pioneer days. “Nothing too fancy,” Dircks said, adding, “I like the nostalgia of it.”
The crust recipe has been handed down in her family, and it involved lard, which was tucked away in the meat aisle at the grocery store, she said. The result is simple yet flavorful. “The natural juices from the peaches together with the crumble on top makes everything good,” she said.
And on Saturday …
The big day came, and everything went smoothly — until just before the winners were announced, event chair Meisner said.
At that point, a sudden storm with heavy rain and strong wind flooded the contest tent. “Thank goodness we memorized the four winners, because the paperwork was blown away,” Meisner said. Everyone made a mad dash for their cars after the results were announced.
By then, Pamela Phelan had learned that her Mid-Summer Daydream was a winner: It had captured the original/creative category and finished just one point behind the grand prize winner, a blueberry cream pie by Jackie Bollinger of Fridley. Patricia Hendrickson and Andrea Olson won the cream and fruit pie categories, respectively.
As for Ross Phelan, he didn’t place, but he wasn’t discouraged. He said he’s already looking ahead to next year.
Anna Pratt is a Minneapolis freelance journalist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.