My pear pie brought $3,000 at an auction. Read on.
Last night I had the privilege of attending the Corndog Kickoff with my husband, Mom, Dad, cousin Erin and her husband Ryan. We met up with more friends at this fundraising auction for the Blue Ribbon Foundation at the Iowa State Fair. Let me start off by saying, what an event! There are many food vendors offering the Fair’s finest eats and treats and there is plenty of beer and wine. The bonus for me was the endless number of people I ran into from every part of my life. I got to see and visit with so many nice people, some of my great friends from my childhood, 4-H days, high school and college. I didn’t feel like I had an adequate amount of time with any of them, most of the time I was running around like a spring chicken, checking on silent auction items and delivering the final pieces (cookbooks) of my donations.
Early in the night I snapped this photo of my donation of dinner rolls. Congrats to my friends (and new Grandparents), and great supporters of the Fair, Brad and Robin A and thank you for buying my rolls! I was the lucky bidder in the auction item their daughter Ashly provided… I’ll have great hair, and a nice lunch at Baru 66 with my “Fresh Look” package. I love silent auctions, ask anyone!
I had another donation of a private class for State Fair entry, along with entry tags donated by the Iowa State Fair and cookware donated by another business. I missed seeing what that one brought. Can you believe the people that attended!
They raised over $140,000 in the live auction alone and I’m pleased to say, the Harvest Pear Pie (*recipe below) I had entered in the auction brought $3,000. Holy Smokes. The whole scenario was unreal. All of the sudden, it was time for my lot. Al Conover, the Dad of one of my good friends back in my 4-H days was the auctioneer. He asked me to stand up. My cousin Erin came to sit with me and then the madness began, thanks to the generosity of the bidders in the crowd. People were bidding very quickly at the beginning, then the pie toppled over the $1,500 mark and there were still about 5 people involved, then it dwindled to 2-3 interested parties at the end. My friends Robb and Tiffany M. were one of the main bidding parties, didn’t they know that I’d make them 5 pies for free?! (This is a good cause though, you know?) I had a feeling they’d be involved in the bidding, they are great friends and Robb had mentioned “Lot #27”. They were sitting directly behind me and I couldn’t even look at them because I didn’t want them to think I wanted them to bid MORE! They did… at $2,000 I finally turned around and said, “I’ll make you whatever pie you want!”. They hung in until $3,000 when the winning bidder (who always wins the ‘last pie of the auction’) took home the pie and ‘The Pie and Pastry Bible’ cookbook that I donated.
I hastily went over and thanked them for purchasing my pie. They were enjoying the evening and I gave them some of my cards, 3 to be exact. I promised another pie (when pears are in better shape than they are now), dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. I will be in touch with them to get them more goodies, after all, $3,000 for one pie is insane. However, it is totally worth it because the money goes to the Blue Ribbon Foundation to aid in the restoration and revitalization efforts of the Fair.
If you know me well, you know we love the Fair. Our family have been regular Fair-goers since I can remember. I’ve worked as an Intern at the Fair, I’ve spent countless hours on the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit that was begun 10 years ago during my internship. In the past years I have come to enter quite a few baking and cooking competitions in the Food Department at the Fair. We haven’t missed a day. I enter my contests early, then take the kids around and check out one of the many activities and sights to see. (There are so many, it is hard to get done, even when we go every day!) This year we’ll be showing more pigs and my daughter will be gearing up for kindergarten, RIGHT after the Fair concludes. I won’t be entering as many items in food related contests so we can spend more time at the Fair enjoying ourselves. Win-win.
I plan on seeing you (in less than 25 days) at this years Iowa State Fair where “Nothing Compares”. That is the truth. If you haven’t been, you need to go. There are so many things to do and see. I’ll be posting more in the near future about our lovely Fair. Just make plans to attend! Would you comment below to help me in a little research?
What is your favorite thing to do at the Iowa State Fair? (Includes exhibits, midway rides, livestock barns etc.) We’ll talk food in my next post!
Here’s the $3,000 pie recipe. (The pie I made for the auction had a butter crust, though I make it with lard when we are at home.) Don’t rush off and make this now, the pears are not ready. The pie will be decent, but nothing like it will be this fall. Trust me.
$3,000 Harvest Pear Pie
by Cristen www.foodandswine.com
Makes one 9” standard sized pie
Lard Pie Crust: (Double this recipe if you desire a 2-crust pie instead of a crumble topped pie)
1 1/4 C All Purpose Flour or King Arthur Perfect Pastry Blend Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 C lard, frozen or well chilled, cubed into half inch cubes (You may sub unsalted butter here as well.)
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vinegar (apple cider or white)
3-4 TBSP ice water
Combine dry ingredients, whisk well. Cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs form. Combine wet ingredients, add them to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. This mixture is ready when you can grab a portion of it in your palm, squeeze and it sticks together. Turn mixture out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. When ready to roll crust. Remove from refrigerator, remove plastic. Generously flour workspace, roll crust out to 13-14” disk. Place in pie pan. Do not stretch. Patch any imperfections (holes, etc.) Roll excess crust under, crimp decoratively. Return to refrigerator or prepare pie immediately.
*At this time after crust preparation, preheat your oven to 400 so it has time to get to temperature.
6 Bartlett Pears (firm yet ripe), peeled and sliced ¼” thickness
1/4 C flour
Pinch of salt
1 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional-lends a fruity note, people always ask ‘what’s that?’)
2 tsp lemon juice (if fruit is browning quickly)
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
Combine all ingredients, mix well. Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Cover evenly with crumble. (Recipe follows).
1/2 C room temperature butter
1/2 C sugar
1 C All Purpose flour
1/4 C rolled oats (oatmeal, not instant)
Cut all ingredients together until homogenous consistency. Evenly distribute on top of pie.
BAKE: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Make sure you wait for 10 minutes after your oven preheat beeps to say it is at temperature.)
Cover outside of pie with foil ring**. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 40-45 minutes until slow bubbles form in the juices around the edge of the pie. Remove from oven, let cool 4 hours.
**Here’s the foil ring trick, this will protect the outer crust of your pie from overcooking.