The East Nashville Farmers Market would like to express our deepest gratitude for everyone who joined us in celebration of our 1st Annual Pie Festival and Bake-Off last Wednesday. What a spectacular success and fun had by all! Contestants, local farmers, pie vendors, volunteers, judges, and all of you who came to see the outstanding pies created for our first time Pie Festival and Bake-Off, we are deeply grateful for your participation. Our market is already cooking up ideas for next year’s Pie Festival and Bake-Off and looking forward to hosting even more events that celebrate local culture, food, and most importantly, our local farmers, artisans, and food vendors.
Our community really came together for this one, gang. Amateur bakers, professionals, and a rich range of ages, cultures, and ethnicities were represented, and the results were down-right delicious. Our pie table was a veritable culinary fingerprint of our diverse Nashville community with traditional American pies such as apple, peach, and berry; contemporary fusion pies with ingredients such as duck fat, balsamic vinegar, and bourbon; Southern American pies like pecan, tomato, and chess; a Portuguese-inspired pie —Pastel de Nata; an Uzbek minced meat and potato balish pie; and much, much more. Crusts ranged from light to deep amber to dark golden brown, from smooth to incredibly flaky, and everything in between. Fillings consisted of fruits, nuts, chocolate, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and more. The variation in colors, textures, flavors, and smells was marvelous, and we are excited to see how the pie table transforms for years to come.
Though all of the pies were delicious and carefully prepared with love, the winners must be chosen and our judges worked diligently tasting each one until their decisions were made. In the Savory category taking third place was a real original — a Nashville original — called “Nashville Hot Chicken Cottage Pie” baked by Mary Yang. This pie had a kick, for sure, and really impressed our judges with its flavor and ingredients. Second place in the Savory category was our very own Bethany Costello and Kaylee Klein of Eat Like Kings Bakery and their “Basil, Pecan, and Tomato Pie.” This pie was perfectly golden with a shiny, egg-washed crust that was oh-so flaky and irresistible. And the first place winner of the Savory category went to Laura Wallace Johnson’s “Ratatouille Pie with Homemade Ricotta.” A layered, vegetable galette with zucchini, onions, and tomatoes, creamy ricotta, and a red pepper puree. It’s construction and appearance was as flawless as its flavor profile. Congratulations, Laura!
For the Sweet category, our farmers market had over twenty contestants, yet only three could be chosen to go home with winning ribbons. In third place for the Sweet pie category was Natalie McLaughlin’s “Traditional Apple Pie.” Our judges loved the well- balanced flavors and exceptional crust. Taking second place was Georgia Copeland’s “Pecan, Weekend, Baby!” Georgia’s pecans had the right smoky, savory quality that is needed to balance the sweet filling of a traditional pecan pie. And finally, the first place winner of the Sweet category was Kelly Pruitt’s “Garden Peach Pie.” This wining pie could only be described as fresh, fresh, fresh! Kelly’s pie peaches were still vibrant and the essence of local basil added to the brightness of the pie. It was a refreshing experience to taste and we would like to congratulate Kelly on her win!
Next year, we are brainstorming for new and different categories for the 2nd Annual Pie Festival and Bake-Off. Perhaps some more pie vendors, a pie auction, and a popular vote. What do you guys think? We want to hear your suggestions, critiques, compliments, and recommendations!! Please leave a comment below or email us at PieFestival@EastNashvilleMarket.com. So start working on those winning recipes for next year, folks, and we will see you at the next East Nashville Pie Festival and Bake-Off. May the best pies win!!