How to Judge a Pie-Baking Contest

sweet apple-pie image by Maria Brzostowska from

County and state fairs often hold pie-baking contests, as do other local festivals. Those who love to bake enjoy the reward and acknowledgement that goes along with entering a pie-baking contest, even if they don't win. Contest judges sample and analyse each pie according to a set of predetermined factors. Judging a pie-baking contest is simple and enjoyable as long as you know the criteria to use.

Computer image by Altmann from

Open up a new document in your computer's word processing program to create a judging criteria sheet. This sheet will provide you and other judges with direction on how to judge the pies. The criteria sheet also lets bakers know what judges will be looking for.

Put the name of your event at the top of your word processing document.

Add judging criteria in the following manner:

Overall Appearance: Before slicing Texture and consistency of crust or topping Inside texture--runny, firm or juicy

Taste: Flavour strength and balance of ingredients Mouthfeel Taste of crust Aftertaste

Overall Impression: Memorableness of pie Is the pie impressive?

Level of Creativity

Assign point values to each category, then break the point values down in the subcategories.

Print your judging criteria sheet for use while judging.

apple pie slice image by Xavier MARCHANT from

Examine the overall appearance of the pie. Look at the crust and the edge to check for even baking. Use a fork to check for crust flakiness. Slice a piece of pie with your knife, remove the slice of pie to your plate using a pie server, then check the appearance of the inside of the pie. Make notes, if needed, and assign points for overall appearance.

Taste one small bite of pie. Chew it slowly and allow it to sit in your mouth so you can get the full flavour and assess "mouthfeel." Taste a small piece of crust only, then follow with another small bite of pie. Assign points in the "Taste" category.

Consider your overall impression of the pie. Write down how memorable it was and what was memorable about it. Decide whether or not you were impressed with the pie and why. Assign appropriate points for this category.

Judge the creativity of the pie. Consider what made it unique and what made it stand out from the rest. Assign appropriate points.

Total the points on your criteria sheet. Write down the pie's entry number and set the sheet aside.

Repeat all the steps in the "Judging the Pie" section for each pie in the contest. Compare scores to determine your first-, second- and third-place ribbons.

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