MARGATE – A dozen amateur bakers competed in the seventh annual Peach Pie Contest held at the Margate Community Farmers Market Thursday, July 18. The contest is the pre-cursor to the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council’s statewide Perfect Peach Pie contest.
All three judges were savvy home chefs, one of which was the first-place winner two years ago. Mark Swartz of Longport added a touch of bourbon to his winning submission in 2017. Swartz was joined by judges Dee Kessis of Absecon, who specializes in home cooked Mediterranean foods, and Lisa Bee of Longport Seaview Harbor, who Cookie Till refers to as a “domestic goddess.”
Seven-year-old Clark Calvi of Linwood, donned a personalized chef’s coat to deliver his third-place winning entry, a crumble cobbler filled with Jersey Fresh peaches and served up with a vanilla ice cream topping.
After he checked out several YouTube videos for inspiration, Clark developed his recipe using a biscotti cookie crust.
Clark made his cobbler on Tuesday, gradually adding more lemon juice and vanilla, making sure to change spoons every time he taste-tested it. Although the soon-to-be-second-grader just learned how to read, he has already expressed interest in someday becoming a chef. When he had a choice of attending one of 10 after school programs, he selected the cooking class, his mother said. His TV viewing includes lots of cooking shows.
Bee said Clark’s cobbler was “sweet and delicious, and fun to eat, just like dessert should be.”
Second-place winner Caren Fires of Longport made her peach pie with a graham cracker crust.
“Every year I try something different. This must be the fifth time I entered but it’s the first time I won anything,” she said. “The judges said they loved my peaches. They were really sweet.”
Bee concurred with the other judges that the second-place winner had the tastiest peaches.
Swartz, however, said the entry of first-place winner Jeanenne Weinstein really stood out among the rest.
“It had an overall good structure and was presented well. The flavor of the peaches and the topping were perfect,” he said.
First, second and third place winners received $75, $50 and $25 gift certificates to Steve & Cookies By the Bay restaurant. Weinstein will automatically be eligible to enter the statewide competition.