Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Second Annual Thanksgiving Throwdown! This year's dish? Pumpkin Pie!

I was invited to "wrangle" pumpkin pies at the Second Annual Thanksgiving Throw Down on the Cleverley Radio Show last week. As official wrangler my job was to coordinate all entires and provide blind samples of 6 pies for three judges to decide which pie tasted best, was the most imaginative and finally was the best looking. As the official wrangler, I was not allowed to influence the judges by offering my opinions... which was tough, because I usually have pretty strong opinions! 
Chef Kiran Verma's Pumpkin Pie

The winner for best tasting pie was unanimous and I am happy to add that it was also my choice. Congratulations to Chef Kiran Verma of Kiran's Indian Restaurant! When it came down taste this was one of the best pumpkin pies I have ever put in my mouth. The crust was fresh, buttery and crisp and the filling was light and custardy with a diverse but not overpowering spice blend with subtle Indian nuances that left you wanting more. The good news is that Chef Kiran is making this pie available as part of her "Kiran's Thanksgiving at Home"  Make sure to read through the offerings here because even if you aren't looking to totally outsource your Thanksgiving meal, you can certainly add creative element's when it comes to sides and of course deserts. 
Tandoor Roasted Turkey
The Tandoor roasted turkey is another culinary feat featured in the Houston Chronicle last year. The recipe can be found here on an earlier post in my blog.  I have big Greek family, and one of the things we do well is cook. However, Kiran's pumpkin pie will be on our desert table this year. 
B & B Butcher's Pumpkin Pie
Now, on to the best looking pie! The award went to Ben Berg's B&B Butchers for their version of pie which included a surprise ingredient. There was a layer of artisanal bacon between the crust and the filling adding a savory slant to the flavor profile. Also incorporated into the pie was Dr. Pepper.. Yes, that is correct... Dr. Pepper. On top are more sweet and savory elements such as whipped cream, candied bacon bits, along with a drizzle of a Dr. Pepper based sauce.  

The pie is available as part of B&B's "Butcher Shop Thanksgiving Menu" which includes a plethora of other choices from turkey to prime rib and a melange of traditional sides and deserts. If you haven't been to B&B's yet to dine or to sample the the fare available at the Butcher shop, get there as fast as you can. You can thank me later. And don't forget to pick up some of New York's finest bagels, made right here in Houston at the Butcher shop. Tell Bob, John sent you! 
Lady Luck's Pumpkin Pie
Finally, the pie that won for most creative was submitted by Facebook Houston Foodie Friend member, chef and caterer Lauren Kelly of Lady Luck Catering. Lauren's pie had a distinct chocolate topping that set it apart from the others while it also delivered a traditional pumpkin flavor profile. I found the  addition of pecans to the filling to be quite pleasing. 
Pies to go from Lady Luck! 
You can order pies throughout the holiday season from Lady Luck Catering on line. Also, look for Lady Luck Catering on Facebook

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