Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

New Zealand's top pie to be named tonight

Photo / File / Thinkstock
Photo / File / Thinkstock

The most perfect pie in the country will be named later tonight at the 2013 Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards.

A record number of 505 bakers have entered more than 4500 pies for the popular competition, including a company more renowned for its burgers.

And there's a battle brewing in the meat versus sweet pie stakes after fruity dessert pies took the top title for the past two years.

Head judge Tim Aspinall, and his trusty team of 18 judges, measured, prodded, dissected and tasted their way through the entries.

"It's not about whether it's dessert or savoury, it's about whether the pie ticks all the boxes," Mr Aspinall said.

"It needs to look delicious, but that's not all that matters. The pie needs to taste delicious at first bite, then the flavour should linger. It's a bit of a fine art."

This year's celebrity judge, Michael Meredith, owner and head chef of Meredith's, said the winner needs to strike a balance between innovation and tradition.

"The classic steak and cheese pie is a favourite, it's what I grew up with, but I'm looking for innovation, bakers who demonstrate the different things that can be done with the iconic Kiwi pie," he said.

Last year's winners, Shane and Kathy Kearns of Viands Bakery in Kihikihi, took the top title with their perfectly paired gingered peach and pear with Cointreau.

And exotic flavours like Asian beef with shiitake and star anise, teriyaki chicken sushi, and curried goat with feta challenged the perception of the classic Kiwi pie.

Duncan Loney, one of the judges and executive chairman of NZ Bakels who's known in the baking industry as 'the Pie Man', described pies as "our national dish".

Details of who wins the 49 awards, including the coveted Supreme Piemaker Trophy, will be revealed at 10pm.


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