2016-11-19 / Front Page

A slice of heaven

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Saco apple pie baker vies for Maine Harvest Festival blue ribbon
By ED PIERCE
Executive Editor

SACO—The secret to baking a blue-ribbon apple pie is simplicity, says a Saco resident vying for the title of best apple pie at the Maine Harvest Festival in Bangor this weekend.

Lindsey Green, 32, a hairdresser at New Angles in Scarborough and a professional makeup artist, earned the right to compete for the state title by winning a blue ribbon for her apple pie at the Cumberland Fair this past summer.

"The perfect apple pie is simple, not overdone or fancy," Green said. "The crust should have butter flavor, but still flake. The apples must be local and fresh is best. I take my family picking and prefer to use those apples. The ones my son picks always taste the best."

She will spend about six hours Saturday afternoon creating two pies from scratch and take the best-looking one to Bangor for judging on Sunday.

"The pies are judged on appearance, the flavor of the filling and crust and the recipe itself," Green said. "The idea is someone should be able to read my recipe, follow the directions and make their own delicious pie." 

Judging the competition will be Kathy Dorr, manager and co-owner of The Coach House Family Restaurant in Brewer, Chef Paul Beaulieu, currently involved with the new expansion at the Oriental Jade Restaurant in Bangor, and Laura Smith, the weekday morning anchor and reporter for ABC-7 and FOX-22 in Bangor.

According to Green, she didn't become serious about baking until she got married.

"I learned that baking made up for my lack of cooking skills," she said. "I really believe most people have talent in one or the other, baking or cooking, not both. I'm pretty terrible at cooking, but I can bake almost anything. My favorites are cakes, I used to be a cake decorator when I was in college and enjoy baking cookies and pie. I also like baking with my Babci (grandmother), her prune squares are my favorite."

Once she found she liked baking pies, Green began entering them at the Cumberland Fair in 2010 and this was the first year she won the blue ribbon there to advance to state-level competition.

"I've spent many years practicing my pie baking," she said. "Don't ever give up on something you enjoy, even if you don't win."

To get to this point, Green said she has experimented with lots of pie recipes, hoping to find the right combination to please the judges.

"I tried a lot of recipes I found in books and online," she said. "I came across an article about the science behind baking and I was really fascinated. It discussed things like how to change the ph of dough to achieve a flakier crust and things like that. I have combined recipes and made adjustments where necessary. The recipe I use is unique."

Green said she bakes the most during one particular time of year and that her favorite creation is not apple pie.

"I bake a lot in the winter, I love to warm up the house with yummy sweets," she said. "My favorite thing surprisingly is not pie, it's cookies. I look forward to making Christmas cookies every year for my family, neighbors and the mailman."

To Green, the best thing about being able to bake a blue-ribbon pie lies in the creative process.

"I find it fullfilling that you can take a few unassuming ingredients and make something spectacular," Green said. "I also like that you can make many people happy with baked goods and who doesn't love homemade treats?"

The worst part about baking, she said, is that her husband, Dave, usually eats all the goodies before she gets a chance to sample them herself.

"I need to start baking more things with raisins because he doesn't like them," Green said.

Her family and co-workers will be rooting for her this weekend, even if Green doesn't bring home a blue ribbon from the Maine Harvest Festival.

She said the pie she bakes to enter in Bangor will be baked on a non-returnable glass pie plate that originally belonged to a co-worker's late mother.

"I feel honored that she gave some of them to me to use," Green said. "It really means a lot to me and was a special gesture. My co-workers are all excited for my trip to Bangor to compete. They are all willing taste testers and I appreciate their honest feedback."

That is all except her co-worker Ron Hall.

"That's because he ruins my apple pie with cheddar cheese, yuck," Green said.

And her family will be the first to know if Green actually does capture the Maine Harvest Festival blue ribbon.

"They are all very proud," she said. "A lot of women in my family have varying degrees of culinary expertise. I think my skills are in my DNA. My husband also likes to brag about having a wife who is a blue-ribbon baker."

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be contacted 282-1535, ext. 326 or by email at editor@journaltribune.com.

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