On July 28, Threadbare Cider House & Meadery is transforming into a scene from The Great British Bake-Off, minus Paul Hollywood.
The North Side cider house is hosting amateur bakers at its first-ever bake-off, The Great Threadbare Pie Bake-Off, to celebrate the debut of a new cider called Sweet Peach.
Threadbare’s Sweet Peach Cider is the meadery's sweetest release yet; most of its bottles are dry with less than 2 percent residual sugar. But because July is the peak of peach season, Threadbare decided to embrace the summer sweetness. And, as they say, “What other better way to capture the season than with a pie baking contest?”
Any and all amateur bakers can enter their pie to compete. Thankfully (for the bakers), the local bake-off doesn’t mimic its British namesake; there’s only one round of competition and contestants can bake pies from the comfort of their home. Every pie entered in the contest must be handcrafted using commonplace, accessible ingredients and made in personal kitchens. No commercial equipment allowed.
Each contestant will bake two matching dishes that qualify as "pies," but that's where the rules end. Bakers can get as creative as they want. The event's No. 1 rule: “Have FUN! You are baking pie!”
Organizer of the event, Elise Miranda, says she’s most excited about a maple creme meringue pie that’s been submitted to the contest. Miranda also mentions meat pies — specifically a ham-egg-quiche-pie — that might show up on the judges’ table.
Judges (the full panel has not been confirmed yet) will include Pittsburgh-famous pie enthusiasts. Miranda’s looking into local pastry chefs and pie lovers, including the pastry chef from Pie for Breakfast, Emily Bourdon.
The panel will rate the pies on a 25-point scale: 10 for taste, five for appearance, five for crust, and five for creativity (maybe that meat pie is good for something after all). The pie with the most points will win a bottle of the Sweet Peach Cider, two other Threadbare ciders of choice, two tickets for a tour of the cider house, and, perhaps most importantly, a golden cider bottle trophy. Second and third places will be awarded bottles of Threadbare cider.
If you love pie but can’t bake, eat your way through the bake-off instead. Competition pies are only for show, but Mezza Luna cafe will be on-site with mini-pies for purchase. The final date to register a pie in the bake-off is July 24.