Blue Ribbon in the Malibu Pie Contest 2012

by Dorothy Reinhold on October 14, 2012

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I almost didn’t enter the Malibu Pie Contest on Saturday.  I had a million things to do, not enough hours in the day, deadlines unmet, clothing unwashed, meals unprepared, garden unwatered, late taxes unfiled…you know how it is. Consult your own calendar for examples.

But then I remembered that pie makes everything better. Whatever is wrong, pie will improve it. The flaky crust, the jammy interior, perhaps the crispy crumbs on top. It’s all better with a fork and a wedge of pie in front of you.

pie cooling on washing machine -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012Actually, the methodical act of baking the pie, well, that’s part of the solution. From the first resolute step of turning on the oven, to the zesting of lemons, the softening of butter, the scooping of sugar (two kinds if you’re lucky!), to the final acts of judging whether that wiggle and jiggle in the middle of the baked pie is exactly right, or it needs a couple more minutes of heat to set properly, and then placing it out of the way on the washing machine to cool.

Yes, the pie-baking process is part one of the fix.

And whatever is weighing on you, well, the pie-eating process will put it to rest. Your mind will quiet, your demons will sleep, your undone to-do lists will be written in disappearing ink, if only for a few moments. Fork to mouth, delicious bite after delicious bite — some nearly all filling, some only crust. This prescription involves nothing more than butter, sugar, a rolling pin and some pie love.

Kahlua Chocolate Pecan Pie -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012Luckily, I snapped out of my ennui, turned on the oven and baked a few pies Friday night.

The annual Malibu Pie Contest is one of the highlights of  life in this small town, which really ought to be renamed Malibu RFD. While a million people may visit our area each year, only about 12,000 live here, and it is a close-knit group. Just like any small town, you run into your neighbors in the supermarket, at the library, you fight for the same few parking spaces in front of popular stores, and you see the same people surfing the same waves on their favorite stretch of the coast. Everyone knows when you highlight your hair, you unwittingly gain a few pounds, or you trade in the old beater for a newer car. Substitute the name of your own small town for mine, and it’s all the same.

The first time I entered the pie contest, in 2003, it was on a whim. No one was more surprised back then than I when I came home with a 2nd place ribbon for my World’s Best Caramel Pecan Pie. (Oh, and it is, my friends, it is.) I was hooked!

Dorothy with blue ribbon -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012So this was my 10th year of entering the pie contest, and my 10th year of winning a ribbon. Without knowing it, I seem to have a streak going! It’s been a good run, with 23 ribbons in all — eight 1sts, six 2nds and nine 3rds. If you’re interested, you can see a list of my winning pies here.

When my 10-year-old son  — he of the soccer tournaments, the trophies, the winning medallions and the athletic acclaim — heard that I won, he asked a simple question. “You do it for fun, right?”

Yes, yes I do.

But fun includes all these reasons, too:

Pies in the car -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012For the  challenge of getting the pies from my house to the contest, intact. (Remind me to tell you sometime about the year I had one of the pies on the back seat, I turned the corner a little too vigorously, and  that pie did a gymnastic flip and ended up on the car mat, upside down.) Good times, my friends, good times.

Pie check in -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012For the community spirit — joshing with the volunteers who check in 90 pies in 1 hour at the entry table. (Those are my pies being labeled!)

Volunteer runner -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012For the volunteer runners who take the pies from the entry table to the judging table, in good spirits and with ultimate patience when annoying entrants like me want to tell them how to do their jobs. Sorry!

Kids' entries -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012For the kids’ entries — funny, charming, full of life and joy!

Photographers -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012For the crazy pie-eating contest, which has as many photographers documenting it…

Pie eating contest -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012….as it has entrants! Go here if you’d like to see a short video of what our pie-eating contest is like.

Judges -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012For the judges, who bravely sacrifice their Saturday to shovel bite after bite of sweet stuff into their pie holes.

For the good works of the Malibu United Methodist Church, which uses proceeds from the contest (entry fees + sold pie slices) for their good deeds. It’s not my church, but I know that every dollar counts in charity.

Lemon Cloud Pie -- -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012And yeah, for the chance at a ribbon. Blue is my favorite color, but I’ll take red or white, too. My winning pie this year was Lemon Cloud Pie, decorated with slices of the cutest baby kiwi.

 And now, a round of applause, please,
for all of these talented pie bakers!  

Winners -- Malibu Pie Contest 2012Adult Categories


  • First: Naked Apple by Laurie Principe
  • Second: Zimmer Family Apple Pie by Max & Suzanne Zimmer
  • Third: Organic Sweet Apple Pie by Laurie Principe


  • First: Lemon Cloud Pie by Dorothy Reinhold
  • Second: Organic Blueberry Pie by Laurie Principe
  • Third: Strawberry Rhubarb by Laura Hicks


  • First: Chocolate Mascarpone by Beth Milliken
  • Second: Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Pie by Dennis Principe
  • Third: Girl in the Curl Chocolate Mint by Abby Blackwood


  • First: Ricotta Nut Pie by Dominica Schiro
  • Second: Pumpkin Cream Pie by Helena Little
  • Third: Chicken Pot Pie by Laurie Principe

Meringue/ Cream Pie

  • First: Crack Pie by John Loy
  • Second: Lemon Curd Meringue by Christine Hogue
  • Third: Fresh Pineapple Pie by Laura Hicks


  • First: Lemon Cheesecake by Dominica Shiro
  • Second: Tamara’s Rumball & Coke Cheesecake by Tamara Gross


Children’s Categories

6 and Under

  • First: Fresh Strawberry Pie by Lindsey Little
  • Second: Apple Pie by Malibu Methodist Nursery School
  • Third: Gummy Bear Town Pie by Zoe Doyle


  • First: Key Lime Pie by Marielle Mandeville
  • Second: Pumpkin Happiness by Luisa Beck
  • Third: Nutter Brain Pie by Joshua Doyle

Ages 11-14

  • First: Extreme Cheesecake by Tiffany Martin
  • Second: Ava’s Key Lime Pie by Ava Norrell
  • Third: Pumpkin Pie by Helena Mandevile

Photo of me with blue ribbon courtesy of Mary Tafi. Group shot of winners by Caren Leib. Thanks, Mary and Caren! Baby Kiwi courtesy of Melissa’s Produce

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes October 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

Congrats, Dorothy! I love me some good pie, especially this time of year, and yours looks so delicious! Those baby kiwis are adorable!


suebaby October 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hmmph. Hummm. Sigh. Okay. Now I’m officially jealous… not only do you bake like a true Woman of Justice… you have a GREAT FIGURE. HOW? If I made every delicious thing that you make, I would no longer fit through my front door and would have to live on the lawn… although I’d probably make a dandy Halloween decoration with strategic application of a little orange paint.

That being said…. a very well-deserved CONGRATULATIONS!!! You truly rock… and you share your fabulous recipes with the rest of us. If that isn’t the best food karma out there, I don’t know what is (maybe that explains your marvelous metabolism??). Three Cheers!


Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought October 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

Congratulations! There is such an art to baking pies and you obviously have it mastered! Job well done.


CJ at Food Stories October 15, 2012 at 10:35 am

Wow … Major Congrats 🙂


Rituparna October 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

How interesting. I hope I get to attend one of these events once in my life.


Pat Brunette October 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

Congratulations, Dorothy!
We’re not too big on lemon flavored anything, but the second place chocolate category pie, chocolate peanut butter dream pie, by dennis principe, caught our eye. Suppose you could get him to share that recipe?

Pat B., out here in East Whatsis Land


Dorothy October 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I will ask him!


Laura @ Family Spice October 15, 2012 at 1:56 am

That is so awesome, Dorothy! I suspect if I mastered the pie crust, I would be addicted to making pies, too. I certainly like to eat them! Congratulations for ten years of award-winning pies!


Dorothy October 15, 2012 at 5:56 am

Thanks Laura! But even if you don’t make your own crusts, I say still make the pie. I am a fan of the Pillsbury rolled crusts in a box, for when you want to take a shortcut.


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