Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yes, there really is a prize.

This marks the end of the NSHP-Contest!

Time to get to the loot...

When I landed in Morocco a few weeks ago I knew I needed to hunt down a prize. Only, I had no idea what I was looking for. I figured it should be food related, as this is a food blog frequented by food lovers, so that seemed like it would be a good choice. It also had to be durable, as few things are more depressing than receiving a box of pot shards as a prize.

Though, I did reconsider my ceramic options briefly while shopping in the souqs but sadly, I had to rule them out.

Even if I could get them home safely--and we already know from the crack-pot post how good I am at that--, I would risk serious disappointment if they broke in the mail.

They were so pretty though...

So back to the process for choosing the prize. After arriving in Marrakesh we made our way to the riad where we would be staying.

A riad is traditional style Moroccan home, with a breezy inner courtyard. Many of them have been turned into restaurants or places to stay. They're basically the Moroccan equivalent of a bed and breakfast.

Pretty right?

The little humble in the courtyard
Why would you ever stay at a hotel here when you can have this? You can't beat the charm of these beautiful old--and often far less expensive--houses.

So why am I talking about a riad and not the prize? Well I'm getting to that...

In Morocco, mint tea is the cultural beverage of hospitality, commonly served to guests. Once we finally navigated the mind boggling maze of alleyways and found our temporary home, we were invited to relax in the courtyard with cups of hot mint tea and cookies.

Trying to remember what these cookies were called. One was reminiscent of shortbread, another was filled with fig...

Anyway, so I am sitting there thinking: This is pretty darn great.

I'm in Morocco, enjoying mint tea and cookies in a lovely house. This is going to be a nice visit

I also thought, hey this is it. This would be an excellent prize, a Moroccan tea set!

After all, it is food related, Moroccan, durable enough to mail and would probably be a welcome prize for the contest. Or at least, I hope so.

Bought this cutie at Marrakesh's government-run handicrafts shop, just so I could be certain I wasn't going to foist a decorative-use-only tea pot off on anyone. I wanted to be certain I was getting something you can actually drink from safely. (I'd be mortified if I made anyone sick) Unfortunately you can't bargain in these shops, so you end up paying more than you would in the market. That's right folks, no dirham spared!

The glasses I bought in the souqs. I'll include two extras, for a total of four, with the teapot, just in case there is any breakage during shipment. This teapot generally serves two, but can easily fill the four cups.

The tea and the mint however, unfortunately you'll have to supply that yourself.

Carrying such things across boarders isn't always possible, but luckily, the ingredients are readily available in just about any country. So, the winner will have to be satisfied with instructions and recipes for making a good cup of mint tea.

So, how we will be handing out this prize?

I've come up with my pie contest grading criteria and it is, well... complicated.
One of the things I will be considering--in addition to my highly scientific, top secret point system--is input from my readers.

If there is a pie post that you enjoyed reading, something you wish to make (or have already made and enjoyed) or a pie that appeals to you for being yummy/interesting/clever/unique/or even practical, please do comment below.

You are not limited to a single pie, you can note several that caught your attention.


Ms. H

(All the contest pies are listed here on multiple pages, so be sure to check out the older posts too)


  1. The first time I met you (found you in a search) it was based on my Hand Pie mission. I was sponsoring a Bake Sale for Share our Strength at the office, and used your recipe Savory Pies for breakfast; they were a hit. Sold 30 pies in less than 5 minutes. Yippee! Now I read your blog daily.

  2. as soon as I'm finished kicking myself around the room for not trying harder to enter the pie contest...I REALLY want that tea set!!!...I will make myself a cup of mint tea and dream of Morocco. Your post is lovely, thank you!

  3. First of all, I absolutely love the picture of little Humble in the courtyard. Breath-taking.

    Like Monica, I'm also kicking myself for not entering the contest. I didn't think I had any pies worthy of submissions, but then I thought of one (a savory pie) literally two days after the contest was closed. boo for me, because that tea is lovely!

    My vote goes to Mr. P's banana blender pie, as it was the only one that piqued my interest enough to attempt it. And... it's good!

  4. Umm ... this isn't really pie-related, but may I humbly ask where you found the info for the riad you stayed at? I'd love to know! Thanks.

  5. Gloria,

    It was Riad Ambre Et Epices. The staff/owners were great, they spoiled the little Humble, playing with her and indulging her desire to pull them around by the finger (to show them the pool. Over, and over, and over).

    They do wonderful breakfasts too. Fresh squeezed OJ, homemade Moroccan breads, cakes, crepes and vanilla scented yogurt. Nom.


    I have some cute photos of her running around in that house. She is wearing a little outfit we found at Al Kawtar.

    If anyone goes to Morocco I highly recommend the little shop. It supports a women's center that includes child care and an embroidery workshop, where disabled women can learn a trade.


    That's wonderful. So glad I could help. Hand pies are a weakness of mine. Being in the UK, where they are everywhere... that was tough. So many pies...

  6. What a wonderful place to spend a vacation! Like the others who posted above, I'm now kicking myself that I didn't enter, as that tea set is a very nice prize, indeed.

    The only pie I tried was the Baked Banana, which was very good. That might be an artifact-- I prefer apple or berry, myself, but my hubby only likes banana or chocolate. The pirate ship pie looked good enough to steal, if I hadn't already decided what I'm making for a competition that's coming up in two weeks.

    And I agree, of course, that the Little Humble is adorable.

  7. Ooo, such wonderful photos. It makes me really want to take a trip there and do some cookware shopping.

    It's pretty amazing how so many entries were so unique, but the engineering nerd / art-y nerd in me really likes the square-ness and piped Organized Chaos of Emily's Chocolate Cream Pie. It looks very clean and presentable and from the ingredients, delicious... and .. its a chocolate cream pie.. duh.

    I'd want to make my own and see what kind of piping designs I could come up with - even if I mess up, it'd sure be a delicious mess up. haha
    Chocolate Cream Pie takes my vote!

  8. I'm not a big fan of sweet pies. Where I come from we like them savoury so the Beef & Mushroom Pudding Pie takes my vote. Not too keen on the shape of it but the filling works.

  9. i have thoroughly enjoyed your pie contest & have been inspired by all the entries...kudos to all!

    ms.h... thank you for your incredible efforts in posting all these lovely pies & sharing your wonderful vacay with us... your fabulous photography made me feel as if i was with you in each pub, market & pastry shop.

    love all the time & care you took in making the right decision for the perfect "prize."

    i based my desires for baking by those ingredients that piqued my interest or never used before: quince apple pie, banana blender pie & cinnamon yum yums...& h.j. shoo fly by the mere history of that pie.

    you have a very hard decision to make as all the recipes are winners!!

  10. My votes:

    1. Rakoczi
    2. Emily's Chocolate Cream Pie
    3. Beef & Mushroom Pudding
    4. Fresh Berry Tarts

  11. Gloria gets a gold star for today - I wanted to know where the riad was as well.

    And, Charlotte and Marina - I am amazed. You never really think anyone will make the recipes you post; I am humbled. (How appropriate!)

    I want the tea set badly. But can't vote for myself. So we'll have to go for Curtis' Blackberry Apple Pie. I love the crust, he crimping is cute, and have you seen his profile photo? He gets two votes for that!

  12. My absolute fave - Cakes & Neckties Berry Pies,
    After that - Curtis' Blackberry Apple Pie and
    Jacqueline's Beef and Mushroom Pudding Pie :)

    Morocco looks fabulous. I've had the mint tea in Paris at a Moroccan patissiere - it is the best. Good choice on the prize, so pretty!

    Next time there is a competition I am definitely going to enter!

    :) x katie

  13. I hope you have another pie contest sometime - I now found a recipe that would do it justice. :)

    I really liked the California Cutie pie, and the Apple Pie-rate pie - I love that it can look like a pirate ship! The butter tarts also look delicious.


  14. If I had to pick "the best of the best" It would be the glamorous Fresh Mints Truffle Pie. It is IT!. Here, said. It is rich, lovely creamy yet strong in flavour, warming with the chocolate and chilling with the touch of mint. If tried it three times. each for Very Important Special Occasions and it this pie really won people to be won ;-)

    But there is one Pie of You which really made my LOL and chuckle in front of the screen (fortunately, when I was alone in the room)
    The Dead Man Peanut Butter Pie. The story was sooo absurd and so funny and it really made my day, which was not so good beforehand. So - thanks - for both pies:-)

  15. Of the pies shown, the steamed English pie wins my vote for daring to be savory instead of sweet - plus the non-traditional cooking method deserves honorable mention!

  16. If I vote based on which pie I most want to eat, I choose the Berries and Cream Pie that was recently posted, but if I'm voting for which post I liked the bast, I pick the “Here's to you, Harold Jamieson" Shoo Fly Pie... So, since you said you allow two votes, these are my two ;)

  17. I put top billing on the butter tarts, simply because I felt compelled to copy it down and try myself when I am in Canada on holiday in July. A childhood delight from the little bakery on the island. The local berries will not yet be in season...

    My second goes to the English pie which definitely made my mouth water upon reading and seeing the photo.

  18. My husband fell in love with a meat pie he bought at a roadside stand in northern Australia, and I've been unable to really recapitulate it at home...but the beef and mushroom pie came very, very close. For that, the beef and mushroom pie gets our vote!

  19. Ohhhh, it makes me happy that someone tried the meat pie recipe and liked it! I kinda figured it would turn most people off since it's not as purty or decadent as a sweet pie.

    As Mr. P said, guess I can't really vote for myself. So although I didn't recreate any of the other pies, the Cinnamon Yum Yums sounded different, and delicious.

  20. Butter Tarts. Yum!!

    ...whiskey apple pie....I guess I can't vote for myself though huh?

  21. I love, love, love the apple pirate ship. I thought that was so clever! And I love apple pies.

  22. Ms. Humble, your Moroccan vacation looks like a perfect combination of adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration! To enjoy mint tea and shortbread cookies in such a beautiful place.. the traveler/explorer and foodie in me is envious!

    As for the pie contest, can I say that I'm excited (and honored) to be able to have an input? I must say that the mysterious green pie caught my attention, as well as the crumbly top of the shoo fly pie, but I think I would have to go with the chocolate cream pie made by miss Emily.

    I like how the pie is simple and yet creative at the same time. When I dream of pie I picture an apple or pecan pie, and so a chocolate cream pie is rather unexpected. And yet, chocolate is such a familiar and comforting flavor to our taste buds! It looks easy to make. Cute presentation too, I might add.

    The tea pot is so pretty!

  23. Oooh!!! So pretty! I totally want it, but I agree with Mr. P. that we can't vote for ourselves. In that case, my votes are for the blackberry apple pie because it looks like a yummy variation of the usual apple pie and the rakoczi, because it looks fun and exotic.

    As we speak (or type, rather) I'm making the strawberry jam from the gluten free pie, so depending on how it turns out, I might have to change my vote. :-)

  24. Hi - I am not sure many people have heard of this and it isn't really a pie, but it is baked in a pie tin - It is called Funny Cake and I adore it, it is so good. It is a pie crust with a layer of chocolate and topped with a sort of cakey crumby topping.It is not very sweet, but oh so satisfying. I grew up eating it, I think it originated in Amish Country. I am from New Jersey and my Aunt was from Bethlehem, PA and would always bring one for me and my sister - If you can find a recipe, I suggest you give it a try.

  25. ah! Wish I followed you sooner so that I could take part in the contest! Awesome prize though! And I love your blog!!

  26. Mmm...pie. I have to agree with many other commenters on here and vote for Mr. P's Banana Pie, for two reasons. First, as some other people have mentioned, it's the most accessible of the lot, and makes one delicious dessert.

    Another critical component for me, though, was the overall blog post. All were interesting, but Mr. P made me laugh. His baking wit kept me thinking of the recipe until I had gathered the necessary ingredients. His blog is certainly a treat!

    As for my second vote, I think I'll have to go with the Shoofly Pie. There is a story behind this: my boyfriend and I decided to cook dinner for my family one night. I attempted a complex salmon and potato dish, while he decided to make the pie. My boyfriend's kitchen experiments normally turn out interesting, to say the least, but this time he took the cake (erm...pie?). While my portion of dinner was a flop, my family ate the ENTIRE pie, proclaiming it the highlight of the evening. He got bragging rights for quite awhile.

  27. I vote for the banana blender pie :)

    Great photos. The riad you stayed in looks GORGEOUS!!!

  28. What to do? What to do? *sigh*

    My short list includes:

    - Mr. P's Bad Language-Free Baked Banana Blender Pie (Although, I wanted to include the bad language very badly.)
    - Diana’s Cinnamon Yum-Yums (Who can resist a flaky crust filled with cream cheese?)
    - Chocolate Cream Pie in a Homemade Buttery Pie Shell [yum] (It's chocolate pie, people.)
    - Meat and Mushroom "Pudding" (A little round bundle of oozing, savory goodness.)

    So, what to do? I feel awkward about voting since I have not taken the time to bake any of these pies. However, awkwardness rarely stops me.

    So, without further ado, I cast my vote for Mr. P's Bad Language-Free Banana Blender Pie. I absolutely loved that the entire pie could be made using one appliance. How wonderful! It has never occurred to me to try to do that.


  29. And then I realized that not all the pies were linked to the "(All the contest pies are listed here)" link. Argh! Now, what to do? I know, I shall make another list and vote for another pie!

    So, my other short list includes:

    - “Here's to you, Harold Jamieson" Shoo Fly Pie
    - Apple Pies and Butter Tarts and Oh My!
    - Lemon Silk Meringue Pie
    - Autumn Pear Pie

    From this list, I choose Leah's Lemon Silk Meringue Pie. Without a doubt, I will be attempting this for our annual Christmas Dinner with Friends soiree. For this occasion, I make three pies. One is apple for the traditionalists, one is lemon meringue for my husband and one is different every year for me. Yay, me!


  30. It's a Dead Mans Peanut Butter Pie!

    Who could ask for more?

  31. I would have to pick the Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I love that combination.

  32. Oh gosh, such a pretty prize makes me wish I had attempted a pie to enter.

    I give a shout-out to the Rakoczi thingy, it looks so tasty (I so want to make it!)and the Raspberry Dream Pie (I know tofu in baked goods can be absolutely delicious, my sister has a tofu cookie recipe that is wonderful!)

  33. Dear Ms. H,

    After reviewing all the pie entries, I like the Chocolate Cream Pie the best. Aside from the pie's design and unique shape presentation, it is a simple pie to make and chocolate is always a crowd favorite. Chocolate Cream Pie is the type of pie that is perfect for any occasion all year round -- because let's face it, chocolate is ALWAYS in season. =)

  34. My top two votes go to the Chocolate Cream Pie and the Lemon Silk Meringue Pie!! Yummmm :)


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