Posts Tagged ‘New England Cooking Contests’

Extravagant Pies!

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

pie-flyer-web

Things are humming here in Hawley, Massachusetts. In just over a week—on Sunday, October 9—the Sons & Daughters of Hawley will host the Hawley Gentlemen’s Pie and Tart Extravaganza!

This event is modeled after our occasional pudding contest. It was inspired by two sentences I turned up in an old book many years ago while doing research for Hawley’s bicentennial.

In about 1920 in “A Sketch of the [Hawley] Ladies Aid,” Mattie Carter White recalled, “At one time there was a contest for the women sawing wood. The men had a pie baking contest. Mr. Clarence Gould got the prize for making the best pie.”

For years several of Hawley’s men—my friend Peter in particular—have lobbied for a revival of the pie-baking contest. No one has lobbied for a revival of the wood-sawing contest so we’re ignoring that. But we are at last holding a men’s pie contest as a fundraiser for the ongoing restoration of the Hawley Meeting House.

It will be open to men and boys who come from other places, of course. And it should offer fun for women as well as men.

The day will include a tour of historic sites, a sumptuous lunch, a pie parade, and an entertainment in which we reenact the circumstances of the original pie contest.

Of course, we have no idea what those circumstances were. We don’t even know what kind of pie Clarence Gould made or precisely when he made it. That won’t stop us from telling a fun story involving music, vegetarianism, and a chicken named Jerusha.

Please join us if you can—and spread the word! It may be another 100 years before we revive the contest once more.

Making Pie with Michael Collins

Making Pie with Michael Collins

Here is a recipe to get male readers started. It comes from my friend Michael Collins, now semi-retired as a chef. Michael’s main responsibility is cooking filling breakfasts for the guests at the Bed and Breakfast establishment he and his partner Tony now run at their home in Colrain.

Michael came on Mass Appeal with me this week to show how quickly one can assemble a pie. I prepared my Rustic Apple Tart, and he threw together this quiche-like concoction. The herbs and the mushrooms gave it rich flavor. And we had fun as always cooking together.

Michael's Pie

Michael’s Pie

Michael’s Breakfast Pie

from Chef Michael Collins at the Barrel Shop Gallery Airbnb

Ingredients:

4 to 5 strips of bacon
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (Shitake or the mushroom of your choice)
uncooked top and bottom pie crusts
4 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon fresh basil, crumbled
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, crumbled
a few gratings of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fry the bacon in a pan. Take it out, but do not remove the grease from the pan. Drain the bacon on paper towels, and crumble it. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining bacon grease. Return the crumbled bacon to the pan, and toss.

Place the fried bacon and mushrooms in the bottom pie crust. Whisk together the eggs, milk, herbs, and seasonings. Pour the egg mixture over the bacon and mushrooms.

Place top crust on the pie. Make a few holes in the top for ventilation.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for about 30 minutes more, until golden brown.

Serves 6 to 8.

And now the video….

Return of the Pudding Festival

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Chocolate Pudding Cakeweb

My favorite culinary event, the Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival, will return this coming Sunday, September 28, in my beloved Hawley, Massachusetts, after a five-year hiatus–an even longer hiatus if you consider the fact that the most recent festival (in 2009) took place in Charlemont, not in Hawley. 

Centering around a contest, the day is a whole lot of fun.

Good food, good scenery, good music, and good company. A perfect combination.

I hope readers who can will attend this festival—and perhaps enter a pudding! Here is the schedule for the day:

11 a.m.
Puddings arrive at the Hawley Grove in East Hawley. (We ask a $15 entry fee. And please bring the recipe!)
11:15 a.m.
Free tour of nearby Sidehill Farm (a wonderful organic dairy farm, and a donor to the contest).
12:30 p.m.
Lunch. (Donation requested.)
1:30 p.m.
Pudding parade, entertainment, and announcement of the contest winner(s). Puddings will be available for tasting after the judging—although you eat at your own risk!

Here’s a pudding to get you salivating. I was going to make it on TV last week, but we ran out of time so you see it in the video but don’t watch the preparation. It’s simple, and a variation on it is a frequent entry in the contest.

To make it more local, I used Taza Chocolate. Taza is a company in Somerville, Massachusetts, that buys organic cacao beans and stone grinds them. They sent me some chocolate to play with (they also generously donated a chocolate sampler as a prize in the pudding contest) so I used their cinnamon chocolate discs to make the pudding.

The recipe as it stands here is only gently chocolaty. If you are a major chocoholic, feel free to add more chocolate.

And if you’d like more information about the Pudding Festival, visit its website.

Cinnamon Taza

Taza Chocolate Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ounce Taza chocolate (from a disc; you choose the flavor!)
2 tablespoons sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons grated Taza chocolate
1 cup boiling water

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Into a bowl sift 3/4 cup of the sugar with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk and vanilla.

Melt the ounce of chocolate and the butter together in a double boiler. Add them to the other mixture. Pour this batter into a greased small 1-1/2- to 2-quart casserole dish.

Blend the brown sugar, the remaining white sugar, and the grated chocolate, and sprinkle them on top of the batter. Pour the water over all. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 6 to 8.

pudding talkweb

I can’t leave you without a cute story. As you’ll see in the video below, I occasionally call myself the Queen of Pudding. (This distinguishes me from the winner of the Pudding Contest, who is known as the Pudding Head.)

At the end of Mass Appeal everyone was invited to eat pudding. One of the other guests took a bite, looked at me, and exclamed, “You really ARE the Queen of Pudding!”

I had to fluff up my feathers just a little. Well, maybe a lot.

Here is my video preview of the Pudding Festival. The corn pudding recipe will come soon!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MOEL8OZjk&list=UUhrpfuBCFEPoURYVpsi4iHw[/youtube]

Pudding Perfection

Sunday, November 15th, 2009
The Winner!

The Winner!

 
I know! I’ve been posting TOO MANY SWEET RECIPES lately.
 
But I haven’t yet written about this year’s Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival. So here’s a brief report for pudding fans along with the winning recipe, a (gulp!) sweet pudding.
 
Save it for Thanksgiving when the calories will be just a small part of the day.
 
Our Day of Pudding was exhausting—and exhilarating—and just plain fun.
 
Its spooky scheduling (Halloween!) this year was an accident—the result of musical director Alice Parker’s busy schedule. We were a little worried that having the festival on this busy day would reduce attendance, but we had no choice so we decided to do it anyway.
 
It turns out that Halloween is a GREAT day for puddings! Several contestants (and even members of the general public) came in costume. Everyone seemed to enjoy the new prizes for best costume, spookiest pudding, and best pumpkin pudding.
 
Our wonderful judges—Edie Clark of Yankee magazine, Kathleen Wall of Plimoth Plantation, and Michaelangelo Wescott of the Gypsy Apple Bistro—had to work extra hard this year.
 
In the past we have held a semi-final round a few weeks before the big day to cull our finalists down to a manageable 15. This year the Sons & Daughters of Hawley had a heavy schedule and couldn’t face adding the semi-finals to it.
 
The judges therefore had all 27 entries to work on. I have a feeling their digestive systems are only now recovering from the experience!
 
If we had cut off entries earlier, however, the panel wouldn’t have been able to taste the pudding that won this year.
 
Paula Zindler of Cummington, Massachusetts, told me she only decided to enter the contest the week before Halloween. Her pumpkin gingerbread pudding delighted both the eyes and the taste buds.
 
As always, our entertainment took a lighthearted look at the culinary history of my hometown of Hawley, Massachusetts. “The Witches of Pudding Hollow” stirred up a big pot of potion and a lot of fun for thespians and audience members alike.
 
To read Edie Clark’s description of the judging process, please visit her blog. And if you’d like to see more photos of our big day, please go to the Pudding Festival web site. Meanwhile, here is Paula’s winning pudding recipe.
 
 
The Witches of Pudding Hollow (I'm the short witch in the middle) sing about their brew.

The Witches of Pudding Hollow (I'm the short witch in the middle) sing about their brew.

 
Paula’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Pudding
 
for the Pumpkin Gingerbread:
 
Ingredients:
 
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted sweet butter
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan well; then line the bottom with buttered waxed paper. Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.
 
Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until smooth.
 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the pan, covered with plastic wrap.
 
Cut the loaf into quarter-inch slices and line a 10-inch buttered ovenproof dish with the slices. (The dish must have 2-inch sides.) Set aside.
 
for the Vanilla Custard and Assembly:
 
Ingredients:
 
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs plus 8 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
 
Instructions:
 
Combine the milk, cream, and sugar in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool by stirring for 5 minutes.
 
Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat lightly until well blended. Quickly whisk 1/2 cup of the slightly cooled milk into the egg mixture and then slowly pour the egg mixture into the milk pot, whisking continuously over low heat.
 
When the milk mixture just begins to put off steam, remove it from the heat and pour it into the baking dish. Allow the custard to soak into the bread for 10 minutes.
 
Place the baking dish into a pan of hot water in a 350 oven for 50 minutes or until the custard is set. Enjoy at any temperature.
 
Serves 8 to 10. 
 
Crowning the Winner
Crowning the Winner

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