Behold: The Amateur Pie That Won This Year’s National Pie Championships
Congratulations to Arkansas resident Rhonda Hull and her decadent Denali Caribou Crunch Pie!
Ladies and gentlemen, the waistbands have been stretched, the forks have been licked clean, and the results are in. The amateur winner of the American Pie Council's 2019 National Pie Championships is…. (drumroll please) Rhonda Hull and her decadent Denali Caribou Crunch Pie!
Each year, bakers are separated into amateur, professional, and commercial categories for a weekend of baking in Orlando, Florida. This year's event, hosted at the SeaWorld Orlando Renaissance Hotel, marked the 25th year of the American Pie Council's annual competition.
On April 13, Hull, who hails from Little Rock, Arkansas, earned the Best of Show title in the amateur category, beating out 185 entries in 16 flavor categories. In addition to Best of Show, Hull's drool-worthy Denali Caribou Crunch Pie (recipe here) earned her a $5,000 prize.
Inspired by a recent trip to Alaska, Hull's Denali Caribou Crunch Pie pays tribute to the majestic caribou she saw in the mountains of Denali National Park. She provided an eloquent description of her creation on the American Pie Council's website.
"My pie starts with a crunchy chocolate cookie crust. Then, staying with the colors of the caribou, the first layer is a white chocolate mousse sprinkled with mini chocolate caramel cups, chocolate-covered Oreo pieces, and chocolate covered crispy pearls," she explains. "Next, the caramel and pecan layer serves as a recollection of water flowing over rocks in the streams."
The third, final layer features chocolate mousse filling dotted with pieces of white chocolate-coated waffle cones and a finished with fluffy whipped cream, which "serves as an image of the snow that remains year around on the top of Mount Denali."
According to HuffPost, Hull had previously participated in baking competitions at the Arkansas State Fair. When she kept winning locally, she decided to go national. She competed in the National Pie Championships for the first time in 2017.
While she has won accolades for many different baked goods, Hull told HuffPost that she decided to start focusing on pie because "there's not very many pie bakers out there anymore."
"More and more people are going to cakes, cupcakes and trendy things," she said. "Pie is a dying art."
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As for what pie means to her, Hull offered a heartfelt explanation rooted in family history. "To me, pie brings back memories from my grandmother and mother. I'm hoping I can pass it on to my children," she told HuffPost. "A pie is home, it's warm and it's a significant way of expressing your love. I know this sounds silly, but I think of a pie as more loving than a cake."