Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Afternoon in Williamsburg: Daisy Flour Pie Contest at The Brooklyn Kitchen

(Photo courtesy of The Brooklyn Kitchen)

Late this afternoon, on the third day of the latest deadly heat wave, we braved the brutal temperatures and humidity to walk four blocks to the Brooklyn Kitchen, the indispensable place to find all your kitchen goods needs. (We have very few, since we don't cook or bake and mostly push buttons on a microwave.)

We were there to catch part of the Daisy Flour Pie Contest, which, somewhat to our disappointment did not involve pie-throwing and Rupert Murdoch but actually pie-baking, a less violent, sweeter pursuit. And yes, these were sweet dessert pies only, not the disgusting stuff that's savory and produced by the likes of Mrs. Lovett.

The contestants had to use a bag of Daisy Flour (which we'd never heard of before, but then we don't know from flour, never having bought a sack of it in our lives; we couldn't name any other brand, either, and so we assume Daisy is organic and the best brand that all cool bakers use) and make a sweet pie. (Contestant Jose Moran Moya has a nice pic of the start of his pie, with the official Daisy Flour bag at Flickr.) Everybody loves pie, right? Our favorite is pumpkin.

The photo below is courtesy of the journalist Paul LaRossa, a real photographer who has the best pics of the event at his Tumblr blog. Paul's wife Susan, who writes A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn, entered a delicious buttermilk pie.

It was very crowded and very hot in the room (Liz Richards overheard someone say, "Odds are, if you see a girl in a sundress, she probably made a pie"),

so we didn't stay for long, arriving just as judges were about to taste the pies and award first, second, and third place prizes. The judging panel consisted of pastry chef extraordinaire Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, whose Brooklyn location is not far away at Metropolitan and Havemeyer; Rachel McBride of The Blue Stove Bakery, just a couple of blocks away at Graham and Withers; Roberta Stickler of Daisy Flour (we hope we spelt everyone's name correctly); and the wonderful Ann Kansfield, pastor at the Greenpoint Reformed Church, whose wonderful Greenpoint Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry received the day's proceeds - which turned out to be over $1500!

The Grand Prize - a Cuisinart Food Processor - was awarded to the popular favorite. We'd never seen so many good-tasting pies in our lives in one place. If you bought a ticket for five dollars,

you could taste as many of the thirty or so handmade pies as you could manage. (This was not, however, anything like Nathan's Famous on July 4th. A pie-eating contest, like a pie-throwing contest, might have more action, but this was a refined crowd with sensitive palates, not insensitive dolts eating crappy pies where only the sugar is refined.)

Very impressive was second-place winner Dave Mellor's citrus meringue pie (photo of Dave's pie courtesy of Mossberger & Fries, who make a mean bourbon-braised short rib, but that's another story.)

Thanks to the Brooklyn Kitchen, Daisy Flour and the contestants and judges for this sweet event. We're very grateful for any crumbs in a heat wave.

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