Rolling Out the Pies

Pie lovers worldwide head for the 2008 Great American Pie Festival.

Pie in Boy Face

A young participant gives his all in the pie-eating contest.

Courtesy American Pie Council

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From fruit to sweet potato, chocolate to custard, pumpkin to citrus, and nuts to berries, all matter of pie flavors and fillings will flow April 19-20 at the 2008 Great American Pie Festival in Celebration, Florida. More than 25,000 pie lovers from all over the world are expected to visit during the two-day event.

Presented by the American Pie Council and sponsored by Crisco, the popular festival returns with activities that have made it a family favorite for six years. The American Pie Council is the only organization committed to maintaining America’s pie heritage, passing on the tradition of pie-making and promoting America’s love affair with pie.

The highlight of the festival is the Never Ending Pie Buffet, a smorgasbord of 50,000 award-winning slices from local, regional and national commercial bakeries, restaurants and markets, including Bakers Square and Village Inn restaurants; Publix SuperMarkets Inc.; Schwan’s Bakery featuring Edwards; Bonert’s Slice of Pie; Harlan Bakeries; Rocky Mountain Pies; and Wick’s Pies. An array of ice cream flavors and toppings from The J.M. Smucker Co. and Publix will be available to help everyone to create their ultimate slice of pie.

Between trips to the buffet, attendees will enjoy pie-eating contests, baking demonstrations, food and beverage vendors, more than 20 craft vendors and live entertainment. Youngsters can make their own pies at the Crisco Kids Creation Station, make pie tin art, create a “PieCaso” painting or play in inflatable bounce house, on a rock-climbing wall or on the world’s largest pinball machine.

While attendees enjoy the food and fun of the free-admission festival, the competition heats up for the APC/Crisco National Pie Championships April 18-20, at the Orlando Sun Resort by Lexington in Kissimmee. The nation’s leading commercial, professional, amateur and junior chef pie bakers will vie for top honors in each category. The grand prize in the amateur and professional divisions is $5,000. Last year’s winners submitted versions of Key Lime, Strawberry Cream and “Funky Monkey” pies. For the recipe for FunkyMonkey Pie, click here.

The baking competitions are not open to the public. The award ceremonies for the Amateur and Professional divisions, however, will be part of the festival, with the Amateur awards presented at 6:45 p.m. April 19, and the Professional and Junior Chef awards presented at 2 p.m. April 20.

The Great American Pie Festival will be at Lakeside Park, 631 Sycamore St., in downtown Celebration, Florida. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 19, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 20. Admission to the festival is free. Cost of the Never Ending Pie Buffet is $10, adults; $5 ages 65 and up; and $5 ages 6-12.

For more information, visit the Front Porch Celebration Community Web site at, or the American Pie Council’s Web site at The APC offers personal, professional and commercial memberships.

FunkyMonkey Pie

Best in Show, Jordan Arcuri

2007 APC Crisco® National Pie Championships®

1box (11 ounces) vanilla wafers
1 cup butter-flavored Crisco
5 squares Bakers semi-sweet chocolate squares, divided
4 medium bananas
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups vanilla soymilk
2 packages (4 ounces each) Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2 cups Cool Whip whipped topping, divided
1/2 cup chopped Planters peanuts

Heat oven to 350°F.

In Ziploc bag, add vanilla wafers and, using meat mallet, crush wafers until there are tiny pieces. Place them in medium size bowl.

In liquid measuring cup, melt Crisco. Add to crushed wafers and mix together. Firmly press wafers into bottom and up sides of large pie plate, then place in oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Cut bananas in half lengthwise and then lengthwise again (quartering). When crust has cooled, place bananas on crust. Set aside.

In medium bowl, place 4 chocolate squares and peanut butter; microwave for 1 minute. Stir and pour over bananas in crust. Set aside.

Pour milk in bowl and add vanilla pudding, mix well. Add 1 cup Cool Whip and fold it in so it stays fluffy. Pour on top of chocolate. Place rest of Cool Whip on top. Take last chocolate square and, using a peeler, make chocolate shavings. Chop peanuts and place both on top of the pie. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.