To get audiences in the mood for the upcoming production of “Waitress,” the Victoria Theatre Association and Fox 45 recently hosted a “Baked from the Heart” pie contest.
In the Broadway musical, which will be on stage at the Schuster Center June 25-30, the lead character, Jenna, selects names for each of her pies inspired by her emotional state. For example, there’s the “Almost Makes You Believe Again Pie” and the “Key (lime) to Happiness Pie.”
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Local pie entries had to include a personal story symbolizing the baker’s emotional tie to her pie, as well as a creative name. Examples? “Mom’s “Wake up and Smell the Coffee” pie or Grandma’s “Must Have Every Thanksgiving” pie.
The winner is Jennifer Nystrom of Clarksville who named her pie “Key Lime and Coconut Day at the Beach.” She’ll receive four tickets for opening night and her recipe will be included in a cookbook being sold to audiences at each performance.
Area finalists also included a “Lumberjack” pie from Mandy Smith of Kettering; a “Missing My Momma Pie” from Mary Alice Heinrichs of Celina and “Mom’s All American Pie” from Toni Scearce of Dayton.
Mini-pies — salted chocolate caramel pie and apple pie — will be sold during intermission at the Wintergarden during the show’s run.
Entering the contest
Nystrom learned about the contest on Facebook.
“I’m a cooking/baking contest junkie!” she admits. “I see a contest and my adrenaline starts flowing and I immediately start planning what I can enter!”
In this case, she wanted to create a pie that reminded her of one of her favorite family vacations.
“One year for Christmas, when my children were all teenagers, we took a family cruise to the Bahamas,” Nystrom explains. “What great memories we created! One of our favorite days on the cruise was the day at the private beach. The kids went snorkeling, beach combing and eating all the delicious food served at the beach picnic.”
During that trip, her family spent a day at Key West. “This is where we all fell in love with Key lime pie!” she says. “Coming from the Pacific Northwest, Key Lime pie was not often served. I had to come up with a pie that paired key lime and coconut to get the full impact of a perfect day on a Caribbean beach!”
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Nystrom says she’d wanted to see the movie or play because of the subject matter, but hadn’t had the opportunity. “I’m a member of the American Pie Council and when the show debuted we were all excited because we love all things pie!” she says. “I compete every year at the National Pie Baking Championships so I especially wanted to enter the ‘Waitress’ contest!”
Now she’s looking forward to the opening night of “Waitress” where her she and her pie will be honored. “I love to share my baking and for it to be acknowledged is very gratifying.”
Nystrom’s winning “Key Lime and Coconut Day at the Beach” pie
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
In a 9 inch, deep dish pie plate, mix the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar. Press evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven to cool.
Key Lime Layer:
one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup Key lime juice
1 egg yolk
Zest from 1 lime
¼ cup toasted coconut, chopped fine in a food processor
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, egg yolk, and lime zest until smooth.
Pour the Key lime mixture into the pie shell and return the pie to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes. Do not let the pie brown.
Let cool completely before adding the coconut layer. Then sprinkle the toasted coconut over the Key lime layer.
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut, chopped fine in food processor
one 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
½ cup half and half
4 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup toasted coconut, chopped fine in food processor
In a large saucepan, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, finely chopped coconut, coconut milk, half and half, egg yolks, and salt.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for about three minutes or until it becomes thick.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter until butter is melted.
Once cooled, spread evenly over the top of the Key lime layer.
Spread a second layer of toasted coconut evenly over the top of this layer.
Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
White chocolate shells
To serve, whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla until it forms medium stiff peaks.
Pipe around the outside of the pie, leaving the toasted coconut showing in the center.
Decorate with white chocolate shells.
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