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Berlin Octoberfest to feature pie-baking contest, $100 prize

(Oct. 8, 2015) Organizers of next weekend’s Octoberfest celebration in Berlin are looking for a few good bakers.
New to the event, which is set for Saturday, Oct. 17, is an apple pie baking contest with a $100 top prize. Second- and third-place recipients will receive a gift certificate from Berlin Main Street.
Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said the event adds an extra autumnal wrinkle to the annual Octoberfest.
“We usually do a peach-pie baking contest for the Peach Festival, so we thought this was a perfect fit for fall,” Wells said. “It’s harvest season and you can get local apples, and we’re trying to add more of a fall festival aspect to Octoberfest.”
Wells said the event would maintain its “fun, food, music and beer” theme, while becoming more family friendly.
“And who doesn’t love apple pie?” she said. “It’s for charity and also you’ll get some great press knowing you make the best apple pie in Berlin.”
Contestants will bake two pies – one for the contest and a second for a Chinese-style auction with proceeds going toward Berlin’s Christmas decorations. Tickets for the auction are three for $5.
Pies must be dropped off set up in front of the Atlantic Hotel by 11:30 a.m. Judging will begin at 2 p.m.
The entry is free and registration forms are available at the Berlin Visitor’s Center on 14 South Main Street, or by visiting
Signup forms for the “Born to be Wild Assateague Hobby Horse Steeplechase Race,” another new Octoberfest event, are also available at both locations.
Robin Tomaselli, owner of Baked Dessert Café on 4 Bay Street in Berlin, offered readers a few tips for homemade apple pie.
“Use tried and true family recipes when possible, or search for recipes on sites like and all, where they have been rated. Read the reviews,” she said.
Tomaselli said “all-natural, quality ingredients” yield the best results and suggested using tart apples like Granny Smith, or a combination of tart and sweet.
When making the crust, roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper, rolling from the center outward, making quarter turns to create a circle, then lift and invert the dough into pie plate.
“If pie crust intimidates you, don’t sweat it,” Tomaselli said. “Use store-bought and top with a simple crumb topping.”
Finally, she suggested getting the family, and especially children, involved in the process.
“Children of all ages like to be involved in the kitchen, especially when making dessert,” she said. “The key is to have fun and don’t stress.”
Tomaselli provided a sample recipe.
All-butter piecrust. Yields one double crust or two single crusts.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or “perfect pastry” blend
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder, optional
1 cup (16 tablespoons, 8 ounces) unsalted butter*
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon.
1. Whisk together the flour, salt and buttermilk powder (if you’re using it).
2. Dice the butter into small cubes or cut it into pats. Work it into the flour until it’s well distributed, but not fully incorporated. Larger, pea-sized pieces of butter will be scattered throughout the mixture.
3. Tossing with a fork or your fingers, drizzle in the ice water. Stop adding water when the dough starts to come together and grab it in your hands. If it holds together easily, without crumbling, it’s ready. If it has dry spots, or pieces break off easily, add a bit more water until it’s cohesive.
4. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Gently pat/shape each half into a rough disk. Roll immediately, if desired. For better texture, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling. If dough has been refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, allow it to warm at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, until it rolls easily.