COTUIT – Here at Cape Cod Wave, we like pie.
We like pie so much we often refer to things that aren’t pie as pie.
For example, instead of saying, “Have you had lunch?,” we might say, “Have you had pie?”
In this example, pie is a stand-in for all food. We encourage you to try this at home.
As you can see, we are big fans of pie.
So when we heard there was a pie bake-off contest in Cotuit, we hot-footed it over there.
The pie contest was part of the Historical Society of Santuit and Cotuit’s festival, Autumn in Olde Cotuit, which took place on October 4. The fall festival took place of the grounds of the society’s Dottridge Homestead and Museums on Main Street in Cotuit. The first annual event expanded on an Octoberfest event from past years.
What we found when we arrived were a lot of mostly eaten pies.
There had been a judging of 16 pies and one master pie maker, Christy Evans Curtis, had taken both first and second place with a pecan pie and a caramel apple pie.
There was a tie for third place between Margy Kornblum and Beth Johnson who both made apple pies.
Scoring was based on appearance/presentation, crust, taste and texture with numbers 1 through 5 assigned to each category.
Coincidently, Margy Kornblum and Beth Johnson, the tied third place winners, live next door to each other.
“There was a healthy competition” between the two neighbors, according to Deborah Haskell, who is on the board of the historical society and co-chair of the committee that organized the festival.
Among the 16 pie entries were a couple of non-traditional pies, including the pear Moscato galette, made by Pat Cronin, a graduate of the famous chef’s school, Le Cordon Bleu.
Carol Wilgus of Cotuit approached the pie table with the discerning eye of a pie aficionado.
“I’m a pie lover,” she said unabashedly.
She went for the blueberry apple pie. “It’s really delicious,” she concluded after a couple of bites.
Wilgus said she is also a pie maker, in addition to being a pie eater. A favorite pie for her to make—and eat—is strawberry rhubarb, she said.
Wilgus believes in making pies the old-fashioned way with the process for the crust being a matter of precision and a point of pride for pie bakers.
“Sometimes the crust is the best part of the pie,” she said.
She mentioned ice cubes in water as one of the secrets to the perfect crust.
While sampling pie, she pronounced the crusts of the pies as being superb: “They’re flaky and they hold together, not dough-y, really good.”
She took another bite.
Wilgus said she learned a lot of secrets of pie-making from her 31-year-old daughter. “She’s a better pie-maker than I am,” Wilgus admitted.
Besdies Haskell, the other co-chairs of Autumn in Olde Cotuit were Pat Pisch and Molly DeMello.
Pisch, who is credited with coming up with most of the ideas for the festival, was on hand in a mid-1800s costume of her own making. The outfit matched the vintage of the Samuel B. Dottridge Homestead, which houses the historical society’s museum.
She said the idea of having a pie contest came naturally.
“We thought, when you think of a country fair, you think of a pie contest. What we found is there’s a lot of pie bakers in Cotuit,” she said.
“This was the first time we did it and we wanted to use it as a bellwether. I think everybody loved it,” Pisch said.
We think they had a pie full of fun.
– Laura M. Reckford