We clearly watch too many cooking competition shows at our house. When we have a few extra apples in the house, Meg and Clare's first instinct is to have a apple pie bake off. Last year, they followed the same recipe, but Clare decided to add extra cinnamon. When Ryan judged the pies, he chose Clare's pie and Meg has not forgotten the pain she felt in her defeat.
This year the battle was on again, but with a twist. Clare (with Anne as her sous-chef) used our usual recipe. We have long used the recipe "Jessie's Apple Pie" from The Boxcar Children Cookbook. We found this recipe when Meg was in the midst of her Boxcar Children phase and have loved it. It makes a good pie and is easy.
Meg decided to use the recipe found in the back of the picture book How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World. If you haven't discovered this picture book yet, definitely check it out. The book allows the reader to travel around the world to gather ingredients for an apple pie. One must gather wheat in Italy and cinnamon in Sri Lanka. Eggs must come from a French chicken, because French chickens lay elegant eggs. Sugar must be obtained from Jamaica, while you must stop by Vermont to get apples. It is a fun book and not a bad tool for teaching geography.
Stinging from her defeat last year and remembering that her dad liked cinnamon, Meg decided to add lots and lots of cinnamon this year. When the pies were side by side, her filling was shockingly darker than Clare's filling and that was due to the cinnamon.
Both girls took an artistic route with their pie crusts. Meg tried a mixture of a solid top and a lattice crust. Clare went with a solid top with a heart cutout added on top. The competition was tough. They were watching each other closely and stealing each other's ideas when they seemed good.
In the end, Ryan declared Meg's extra cinnamon filling to be the best. But he also said that Clare's pie looked like it should be in a magazine. They were both winners in their own way, though I'm sure what they will remember is how they can improve on their pies to be declared the sole winner next year.