So I recently had the pleasure of judging a Holiday Dessert Contest. It was run by our local gourmet kitchen store and our local newspaper. I really enjoyed the experience, well aside from a sugar headache the next morning. And I have to say, I was surprised by the “best overall” winner. Here is how it all shook out…
When I arrived, I assessed the entries. I was drawn immediately to a beautiful creation. The presentation of this dessert was breathtaking. I always feel like 50% of how something tastes is how it looks before you ever put it into your mouth. If it is tantalizing… I wanna eat it! So naturally, I was smitten with this specific dessert and had it pegged from the beginning as one of the winners.
The first round of scoring was devoted to Presentation and Appearance. After I scored each dish in that category, the tasting began. The tasting was judged on three different criteria. 1-Texture 2-Overall Taste 3-Flavor Balance (The Yin Yang Factor) 4-Creativity/Originality.
I was shocked and amazed! So many of the entries that looked great, were outdone by the delicious tastes and textures of their less attractive counterparts. In the end, I chose 4 winners none of which were the above-mentioned dessert that I was initially drawn to. The winners were an almond puff pastry that was well-made, flaky and simplistically sweet. A traditional Black Forest Cake with unsweetened whipped cream… a great balance of fruit, chocolate, and cream. Apple Pie Parcels… these were so absolutely yummy! They almost won “Best in Show” it really was a close race between these and the big winner. They were salty and sweet, flaky and buttery and they were topped with caramel sauce goodness! I think you will agree that the picture above speaks for itself! The BIG winner, best in the show, most creative, delicious dessert was a Nantucket Cranberry Butter Cake with a light Caramel Butter Sauce. It was topped with sugared cranberries… it was so outstandingly delicious and was truly a Yin Yang dessert. I hope I get the recipe from the winner, Estee Wilson! Congratulations and great job everyone!