The 2008 Great American Pie Festival, presented by the American Pie Council (APC) and sponsored by Crisco, drew the largest number of participants in the event's 14-year history. The festival, held last month in Celebration, Fla., was open to the public and served 50,000 slices of pie through its Never Ending Pie Buffet. The pie competition portion of the festival took place at the Orlando Sun Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee.
Held annually since 1995, the APC/Crisco National Pie Championships pit participants against other top bakers nationwide. During the 2008 championships, 123 of the nation's leading commercial, professional, amateur and junior chef pie bakers entered a total of 867 pies; 447 of which were commercial entries.
While no “Best of Show” is traditionally awarded in the commercial division, Baker's Square captured the greatest number of awards with 22 category first place wins. Commercial division categories consisted of family-wholesale less than $2, premium-wholesale less than $4, gourmet-wholesale less than $6, super gourmet-wholesale more than $6 and independent bakers with pie sales less than $1 million.
The number of categories for entrants has grown considerably since the competition's inception, and included raisin for the first time this year. Judges rated pies on appearance, flavor and texture with scores based on a 9-point scale, 1 representing “poor” and 9 “excellent.” Paula Frank, editor of Baking Management, a sister publication to Modern Baking, served as a judge at this year's event. The 2009 Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco and the 15th Annual APC/Crisco National Pie Championships will be held April 24-26 next year.