Hearty Kiwi favourites like the steak and cheese pie may soon be replaced for a more up-market version.

This year's Supreme Pie Awards, held at Auckland's Rendezvous Hotel tonight, saw more than 4500 entries from over 400 bakeries around the country.

In what could be an emerging trend, the winning entry was for the second year in a row was awarded to a fruity delight.

A gingered peach and pear with Cointreau pie from small-town pie makers Shane and Kathy Kearns took out the top prize.

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The duo, who are from Viands Bakery in Kihikihi, Waikato, also took out last year's awards with a spiced plum, port and apple pie.

This year marks only the third time in the competition's 16-year history a fruit pie has won the supreme award. It also saw the addition of a special "cafe-boutique" category.

The new category enables cafes to compete in the pie awards, but rules state they are not eligible for the supreme award.

In another indication of New Zealand's changing pie industry landscape, this year's entries were praised by the panel of 18 judges for being "innovative" and better than ever before.

Some of the exotic pie fillings sampled by the judging panel included Balinese coconut chicken, scallops and vegetables in white sauce and curried mutton with coriander.

The panel, which included celebrity television chef Al Brown, spent last Thursday deliberating on the entries. The pies were blind coded and divided into 12 categories. Tamati Coffey of TVNZ and NZ Woman's Weekly food editor Annabelle White were some of the celebrities invited to the awards.

As the competition winners, the Kearns' netted $8500 in prize money. They are also the proud holders of the Supreme Piemaker Trophy. The Category winners receive $1000.

2012 Category Gold winners:
Mince and gravy: Hong Kheng Huor, Whenuapai Bakehouse & Cafe, Whenuapai , Auckland
Steak, vegetables and gravy: John van den Berk, John's Bakery and Cafe, Hastings
Chicken and vegetable: Patrick Lam, Patrick's Pie Group Ltd, Tauranga
Gourmet Fruit: Shane Kearns, Viands Bakery, Kihikihi, Te Awamutu
Gourmet Meat: Jason Hay, Richoux Patisserie; Ellerslie, Auckland
Vegetarian: David Liem, Greenland Bakery & Cafe, Botany Town Centre, Auckland
Bacon & egg: Tan Kiet Trang, Cherrywood Cafe, Otumoetai, Tauranga
Mince & Cheese: Nap Ly, Target Bakehouse, Pukekohe
Steak & Cheese: Chris Dockrill, French Bakery, Christchurch
Seafood: Lam Ho, Paetiki Bakery, Taupo
Commercial Wholesale: Paul Barber, Goodtime Foods, Onekawa, Napier
Cafe boutique: Helena Robben, Rob's Patisserie, Freemans Bay, Auckland
Supreme: Shane Kearns, Viands Bakery, Kihikihi

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