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Judging Olympia’s best baked good wasn’t ‘easy as pie’

Pie Fest brings out tasty creations, raises money for Thurston County Food Bank

Pie makers and pie lovers converge for the Olympia Bakers Guild's annual Pie Fest at the Olympia Center.
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Pie makers and pie lovers converge for the Olympia Bakers Guild's annual Pie Fest at the Olympia Center.

What makes the perfect pie?

A flaky crust? A sweet, fruity filling? Should it have unusual ingredients or intricate design?

Judges attempted to find Olympia’s perfect pie Saturday at the ninth annual Olympia Pie Fest, hosted by the Olympia Bakers Guild. Bakers from throughout Thurston County contributed their masterpieces, which were judged by volunteers and professional bakers.

Volunteer bakers judged the pies first, and their top picks went on to the professional judges.

Winners were picked in six categories: youth, teen, apple, fruit, other, and a grand prize.

An unusual oatmeal pie wowed the professional judges, earning Jennifer Cronquist the grand prize. Summer Schief, who bakes pies at King Soloman’s Reef, said the pie had a comforting, homey taste.

“I just feel like I’m at my grandmother’s house,” she said.

Judge Josh Murphy, who works at 8 Arms Bakery in Tumwater, said the oatmeal pie was so good he wanted to order 10 more.

Volunteer judges John and Katrina White, a father and daughter, admired an unusual apple cheese crumble pie. It had a traditional apple filling and cheese mixed in with the crust and crumb topping. Katrina White called the pie “delicious and unique.”

“I love to have cheddar cheese in my apple pies,” she said. “I usually bake it into my crust.”

Winners were picked in six categories: youth, teen, apple, fruit, other and a grand prize.

However, the apple cheese crumble pie didn’t make it to the next round.

Meredith Morgan, 11, said she looks for pies baked with fresh ingredients.

“Sometimes, people can be really good at making pies, but they don’t use the best ingredients,” Morgan said. “I want pies made with fresh fruit.”

Volunteer judge Kelsey Hulse said pie is one of her favorite foods, and she looks for a good crust.

“I look for a crust that’s nice and flaky, evenly cooked and golden brown on top,” Hulse said.

The judges weren’t the only people eating pie Saturday. At 1 p.m., the event opened to the public. People purchased pie for $3 or three cans of food. Proceeds were going to the Thurston County Food Bank.

“It’s a great community event, it also raises a lot of money. So we call it a sweet way to serve your community,” said Andrea Ballard of the Olympia Bakers Guild.

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445, @Amelia_Oly

Adult Pie Fest winners

Apple

First: Martha Guilfoyle; apple and cherry.

Second: Amy Ray; caramel, walnut and apple.

Third: Wayne Clifford; apple and cranberry.

Fruit

First: Andrea Cotey; mixed berry.

Second: Katie Walt; marionberry, rosemary and vanilla.

Third: Amy Ray; mixed berry.

Other

First: Steve Pogge; pecan.

Second: Christopher O’Brien; blueberry and bacon.

Grand Prize

Jennifer Cronquist; oatmeal.

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