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Local bakers submit record number of pies for contest
Pies came in all shapes and flavors, like this pinwheel pumpkin pie, the only rule was that every pie had to use pumpkin as an ingredient. The first and second place winners were both traditional pumpkin pies, made from canned pie filling. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal
In a year that has been called the worst since the great depression, Turlock residents are finding the means to give to the less fortunate this holiday season. Dave Dubyak, owner of Dubyak Family Chiropractic, hosted the 14th annual Turlock pumpkin pie contest on Monday. All pies entered in the contest will be donated to the United Samaritans Foundation’s Daily Bread program to be served as desert on Thanksgiving Day.
“People came in this year with more of a tone of helping others,” Dubyak said.
Contestants set a record this year by donating 178 pies. The previous record was set in 2008 with 122 pies. Each contestant was asked to enter two pies, which are both then donated (minus one small slice for judging) to the United Samaritans.
This year, however, several store bought pies were brought to Dubyak’s office as donations. They were not considered for judging, but Dubyak was impressed by the gesture. About 40 pies were also donated after the judging by the Sacred Heart 4H Club. The same number were donated by students at Ceres High School.
“People are even more willing to help this year. They really came through,” Dubyak said.
In total, 39 pies were judged by a panel of five community members. Criteria included appearance of the pie, texture of the filing and crust, and taste. First place winner Rina Tury said she didn’t expect to win, she just wanted to help out.
“I really liked the chance to do something to help out someone else,” Tury said.
Every year Tury and her husband, Bob Tury, bake several pumpkin pies as a team. She bakes the crust and he makes the filling, following the instructions on the Libby’s pumpkin pie filling can. They make pumpkin pie not just for holidays, but also for their daughter’s birthday.
“She just prefers pumpkin pie to cake. And since she’s in her 30s now we have made quite a few pies,” Rina Tury said.
The second place winner, 4-year-old Braydon Johnson, also had help with his pie. His papa, Dave Hillenga, helped him bake their first-time entry. Hillenga took Braydon to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin. They actually made the pie out of canned ingredients, but picking out a pumpkin was part of the fun.
“He just had it in his head that it was supposed to come out of the pumpkin,” Hillenga said.
Braydon scooped out the pumpkin by himself, and helped Hillenga mix the ingredients. Hillenga then poured their filling into the clean pumpkin, and Braydon poured it from the pumpkin into the pie crust.
“(Gutting the pumpkin) was his favorite part, it was all over the kitchen,” Hillenga said.
Braydon likes to help his Papa in the kitchen. They make cupcakes together for birthdays, and Hillenga said they both enjoyed making their pies. Braydon got his idea of pumpkin pie from a children’s story where the main characters made a pie out of a giant pumpkin.
“For a few weeks he would scream ‘Papa, we have to make a pie!’” Hillenga said.
Now that they know about the contest, Braydon and Hillenga plan to enter every year.
“I don’t know if he understands that we won something. But I did tell him that we’re doing something good,” Hillenga said.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.