Pie Party Live 2012 at GE Monogram Design Center (October 25, 2012)

Last year's pie party live was a pie bonanza and this year was no different. It was a very classy event as always and organizers Jackie Gordon and Ken Leung did a fantastic job of gaining support and providing a great, relaxed time for the food blogger and food professionals community in the tri-state area. This year GE Monogram Design Center on East 58th Street was the location and when you arrive you did not want to leave. The ornate and modernly designed space opened up into a series of connected master kitchens that every foodie in attendance fell in love with.

Chef Tageré Southwell gave attendees a nice run through of how to make effective pie crust before the pie party commenced. Many of us were pretty enthused about this since, especially for me, a good crust makes a good pie. One word: butter (KerryGold!) and mix well watching the bottom of your food processor to see the status of your dough. (FYI: A food processor is pretty essential when making dough and after winning my KitchenAid one from Pie Party Live last year I feel quite blessed!)

The bounty was split into savory and sweets sections. As attendees arrived and labeled their contributions we were treated to savory treats including the most succulent hors d'oeuvres made by GE Monogram's Executive Chef Tageré Southwell of battered shrimp, lamb sliders, and eggplant crostinis. We were also able to taste mini DUB (Down Under Bakery) Pies in the form of beef & cheese and/or curry vegetable. Those who attended Pie Party Live last year recall that Dub Pies had also generously donated a variety of their savory pies to the cause. Dub Pies had been at Dekalb Market earlier this year before it shutdown, but now operates in their own store in Brooklyn.

While I made a savory pie, specifically a Spinach & Gruyere Quiche a la Martha Stewart, I abstained from eating savory and went straight for the sweets. I was getting full from the bite-sized savory morsels and wanted to make sure I had room for dessert. (Game plan!)

There were tarts and quiches and mini pies and whoopie pies and toffee crunch and pecan pies and duck pies. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and ones loaded with dairy. You were good on all counts.

One of the standouts for me was Ken's cranberry curd tart with walnut crust. Not too tart, not too sweet with a wonderfully buttery, crispy, thick crust and a fluffy curd filling. Last year his onion tart was one of my faves and as always Ken doesn't just make it look pretty but also taste fabulous!

I also enjoyed Lillian's chocolate and peanut butter whoopie pies and the delicious cranberry Nantucket made by Colleen of Souffle Bombay. And the toffee crunch from Tamar of Economic Krunch, goodness gracious! I ate a pear almond tart that was as good as ones I've had from French bakeries and Abby Dodge's red velvet whoopie pies, Angela's guava and cheese mini pies, and my friend Emily's spiced citrus pecan pie. Lordy! I had to tap out after having Ken's salted caramel chocolate tart and Tara's apple strudel pie. But, indeed I wanted more.

My friend Emily provided me a taste of a delicious duck pie by Kathy of The Experimental Gourmand and that one bite was so succulent and perfectly spiced I instantly regretted my game plan to forgo savory.

By night's end the savory section had been decimated. People had their plan and it was to eat dinner than go dessert.

Before we headed out Jackie announced we were getting goodie bags and Kerrygold butter to take home! This was met with resounding excitement and surprise of which I think only the food community could understand. Butter, heck dairy, is expensive! And getting a fabulous brand like Kerrygold is fantastic! I can't wait to make more pie with it, even Chef Tageré complimented the brand as one of her go-to's for making crust and cooking in general.

Part of our goodie bags from our very generous sponsors was two Dub Pies, frozen for reheating later, Kerrygold as mentioned along with a Kerrygold branded recyclable baggie, Abby Dodge's newest cookbook from Taunton Press Mini Treats and Handheld Sweets (of which her fab whoopie pie recipe is included), Fine Cooking magazine, a Smirnoff pie server, GE Monogram measuring spoons, and for some of us bloggers a bottle of Smirnoff's two new flavors (Kissed Caramel or Iced Cake) to take home and do a blog post on (one to come soon from me). After tasting their Caramel Apple Pie drink I was hooked.

I was full, excited, and extremely grateful to reconnect with my food blogger/pie party buds and to have the generosity of these great sponsors in their support of the food blogger community. I hesitated leaving GE Monogram Design Center because, frankly I want that kitchen, but I'll be happy to return and sing their praises and hope to be at another event there soon.

Thanks again to everyone who aided in making Pie Party Live this year a resounding success and thanks again to GE Monogram Center, Gareth of Dub Pies, Abby Dodge and Taunton Press, Kerrygold, Harvard Common Press, and Smirnoff for donating your products and opening our eyes to new flavors! Hope to see you next year!