Humble Pie

I love to bake.

I love to turn on some music, claim the kitchen as mine for an hour or two, and cook up a storm until the world melts away into a haze of flour and sugar and other such wonders.

At the moment in Wellington, we are in the middle of ‘Wellington on a Plate’ – a food festival that highlights the amazing culinary experiences to be had in our capital city. One of the events that is being held is ‘Bake Club’, that has the aim of crowning Wellington’s ‘best’ baker.

Now I have absolutely no expectation that I am Wellington’s best baker. Sure, I have a good reputation in relation to my cooking abilities among my friends. And maybe some others thanks to my job. But I am quite sure that there are many a better baker than me. I entered anyway, because some friends I spoke to about it seemed so keen and enthusiastic! I thought, why not? I have nothing to lose. I’ll even get to see my friends a bit more…

Each week we’ve been issued a challenge, and we compete in our little ‘bake club’, and then at the end the winner from each separate bake club will go to the Wellington final. This week the challenge was pie.

I thought hard about what kind of pie I was going to make. In the end, I was seriously considering 3 different options – lemon meringue pie, pumpkin pie, or peanut butter and dark chocolate pie. I asked a few people, and they all agreed that peanut butter and dark chocolate pie was the best for this competition, and so I set about gathering my ingredients.

Then I came down with a cold. Baking pie was about the last thing I wanted to do. I couldn’t let my friends down though, so I went ahead with it. I made the pastry and the filling with the greatest efficiency and energy that I could muster from my worn out body. The next day was judging day.

Unfortunately my rushed and careless job on the pastry showed, I used a recipe I’m not familiar with, and made it in the blender. The result was tough pastry that shrunk in the cases, and didn’t serve as a worthy support to the amazingly gooey and delicious filling. And while I was keen to honour this food writer and her tribute to her much loved and sadly lost husband, I feel would have done better to have taken more time about it, relaxed, and enjoyed the experience.

So my point, finally. Baking should be something done to show people love. That’s why i bake. It’s my motivation, and it’s why I love it so much. All of my love and good wishes go in to the food I make for people. I lost the competition, and had to handle the humbling pie experience in admitting defeat to my friends. Their pies were amazing, and deserved the praise they received. Lesson duly learned.

Enjoy the amazing photos taken by my friend, Rose, and dream of what kind of pie you’d make if you were competing for best baker – then go make it for someone you love! Challenge.

The original recipe for these pies uses biscuits for the base – this should definitely be paid attention to.

The winner.

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