While some people are into hot dog eating competitions or even weight loss competitions, I, on the other hand, consider myself a champ at the annual Fourth of July Pie Eating Competition at Pocono Lake. Despite the fact that my partner, Sarah, and I have never actually won the contest, we have the technique down pat. Over the past eight or so summers, Sarah and I have fine-tuned our pie-snorfeling skills down to an art (yes, I made up the verb “to snorfel”).
In order to minimize the amount of time that your pie is on the table, the first step is to fast going into the contest. A hungry stomach can snorfel (yes, I will continue using this word) a mediocre pie much faster than a content, filled stomach. Proper preparation is crucial for success in the pie-eating contest, especially with so much solid competition. Once the whistle is blown to commence the snorfeling of pie, you must maximize teamwork to quickly make the sugary pastry disappear. To get rid of any problems that the pie pan may cause, the first partner must flip the pie out of the pan at the beginning of the contest (mmmhm this means licking pie off of an old wooden table…). At this point in time, each bite matters. Each bite is an opportunity to make a solid portion of the pie vanish. So this being said, it is critical to fully submerge your face into the pie each time your head goes down to take a bite. More pie in the face, on your forehead, and even in your nose means less pie on the table. These techniques will surely lead to success. Hopefully none of my competition will read this post…
Now knowing our skillful techniques, you may be wondering, “why on earth have they not demolished their competition and won every year?” Interestingly enough, the population of Pocono Lake Preserve contains a ridiculous number of talented pie-snorfelers. Typically, a duo of buff men who have been training all year takes home the trophy from this competition. Though last year, Sarah and I finished only one fateful bite after the winning pair (though my vision may have been impaired due to multiple blueberries in my right eye).
But as I mentioned before, one key step in the pie-eating process is removing the pie from the pan. Once it is outside of the pan, it may resemble a galette (though not a very pretty one seeing as the goal is to continually mash it with your face). This weekend I listened to my stomach and practiced some serious procrastination by baking a strawberry galette. Strawberries at the Teeter were 4 for $5—so what excuse did I have to not make a sweet strawberry surprise for my siblings?
Here’s the recipe: (thanks to Martha Stewart and Julie Ruble)
Strawberry Galette: Makes one galette.
- Crust: 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup cold shortening, 1/2 cup cold butter (chopped), 4-5 tablespoons ice cold water, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon heavy cream for egg wash
- Filling: 2 quarts strawberries, hulled and quartered, strawberry jam, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 large egg, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, mascarpone cheese
- Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. To make the crust, pulse flour and salt together to combine. Add scoops of shortening and pulse into the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Add in chunks of butter and pulse until butter pieces are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Add minimum amount of water and pulse on low. If dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another tablespoon of water. Add as little as is required to enable the dough to be rolled into a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes (for our purposes, we will chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes).
- Roll disk of dough out to around ¼ inch thick.
- Toss strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and the cornstarch. Spread a circle of strawberry jam on galette dough and then pile strawberries in the middle. Fold edge of dough over berries. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Whisk together egg and water. Brush dough with the egg wash, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Dot berries with butter. Bake until crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve spread with mascarpone cheese.
Don’t worry if your galette springs a leak. I’ve made this recipe three times, and each time there has been leakage. You can always drizzle the strawberry liquid on top when it comes out of the oven. Also, I’m not a fan of mascarpone cheese, so I always eat my galette with a scoop of vanilla icecream. The cold and creamy icecream balances the warm and sugary galette leaving a soothing, homey, and dare-I-say southern taste on my palate. So here’s to strawberry galettes and pie-eating contests! Enjoy!