Sweet smell of success: Londonderry baker wins apple pie contest
Londonderry resident Cathy Carpentier earned first prize for her traditional pie in Saturday's annual apple pie contest, held at Mack's Apples. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
"I put coriander in my pie," said Cathy Carpentier of Londonderry. "But I'm not telling you how much I use."
Saturday's victory wasn't her first: She's earned the blue ribbon on three other occasions over the years.
Like Carpentier, Victoria Pouliot is also a veteran participant in the annual pie bake-off, which is held at the orchard's farm store on Mammoth Road.
Pouliot's pie earned first place in the nontraditional category. Though this was the first time she's earned the blue ribbon, her tasty confection of sour cream, sugar and apples earned second and third place in previous years.
Earning second and third place in the traditional pie category were Londonderry residents Suzanne Smith and Janet Moran, respectively.
Mack's Apples pie contest is a long-standing tradition in Londonderry, though last year's contest was canceled due to a shortened apple season, according to event organizer Andy Mack Jr.
Participants were given the choice to bake either a traditional, two-crust apple pie, or a nontraditional pie containing other fruits, nuts or whipped cream — or even peanut butter and marshmallows.
Pie-judging typically takes about an hour and 45 minutes, with 10 judges, many of them town officials or local business owners, spending the first hour or so tasting each of the approximately 50 pies, which were labeled only by number.
During the second round, the pies were narrowed down to six finalists in each category, before the top three in each category were revealed.
First-, second- and third-place winners each received a goodie basket stuffed with gift cards and other treats, while the two top bakers also received a customized "Mack's Apple Pie Winner" plate.