April must be a good month for baking. I’m not just saying that because we stay indoors more during spring rains, but because there are an awful lot of baking contests going on this month. The World Cup of Baking just took place in France and here in the US, we’re about to see the 2008 Great American Pie Festival and the 43rd Pillsbury Bake-Off.
The Great American Pie Festival is sponsored by Crisco and the American Pie Council. Not only do they rate and review the best commercial pies in a number of categories, but they evaluate commercial (large scale), professional (smaller bakery) and amateur pies, so there’s really something for everyone. The contest is usually televised on the Food Network and the amateur pie competition is always fun to watch. The pie-makers are really dedicated and for some of the categories (especially the sponsored “theme” categories, like cream cheese and raisin, which aren’t always included in your average pie) they get really inventive.
This year is also the 43rd Pillsbury Bakeoff. Entries have already been submitted and cut down to 100 finalists. The finalists will compete next week, April 14, in Dallas, TX, for a grand prize of $1 million dollars. All the recipes have been posted online if you want to browse through them and mentally vote for your favorite.
Update: I’m going to be attending the Bake-Off (not as a competitor or as a judge, though) so expect some Bake-off related treats and stories in the next week or so, counting down to the announcement of the million-dollar prize winner.