Design & Inspiration Today: High Time for Pie in the Heights


The 4th Annual Heights Great American Pie Contest was standing room only again this year!  An outstanding showing of sweet & savory pie entries graced the fire station.  For the first time - each baker received  a blue logo t-shirt at check-in.  Twelve culinary stars from Heights area locales stepped-up to the challenge of determining the best pies entered.  This year, 3 judges were tasked to exclusively decide the appearance and presentation of each pie at  peak arrival.  The remaining 9 judges were tasked to taste test each pie during an intense and scrutinizing process.  Winners recieved an exclusive 2019 ribbon, embroidered apron and a certificate personally autographed by all culinary star judges. Special thanks to Danielle Stewart for assembling the awesome roster of Judges this year!
MC Dewayne Ross and DJ rocked the house with music.  Guests enjoyed adult and kid friendly refreshments served by Houston Heights Association Ambassadors. Once the judging was done — the pie entries were open for a mega tasting by guests. A round of applause to the Houston Heights Association for hosting another great event.

Big shout-out to the volunteers behind the scenes:   Donna Bennett!, Emily Guyre , Danielle Stewart , Jane De Wree MastDewayne Hinojosa RossAngela DeWree, Aaron Flores, Marianne Terrell, Rich Anhorn, Jim Bennett, Danae Stephenson , Steve MinatraRubena Garcia. 


Rebecca Thai 1st Place ‘Blueberry Pie'

Diana Acevado 2nd Place ‘Healthy Key Lime Pie’ ( dairy, sugar, gluten free recipe )

Ahn Du 3rd Place ‘Watermelon Cream Pie'


Peggy Coleman 1st Place 'Onion Tart Tatin’ 

Kris Elvin O’Brien 2nd Place ‘Crab Pie'

Besty Boston 3rd Place 'Savory with Sweet'

12 Culinary Star JUDGES!  

Alli Jarrett • Harold’s in the Heights

Levi Rollins • Urban Eats 

Bobby Jucker • Three Brothers Bakery 

Will Springfield • our Private Chef Houston

Maureen Demar Hall • Multi-time Award Winning Baker 

Heights Great American Pie Contest 

Jessica Lusk • Red Dessert Dive

David Leftwich • Culinary media personality & celebrated journalist

Rich Anhorn • Wild Card Judge

Kevin Blasini • EQ Heights

Emily Ferrara • Orange Artichoke Kitchen 

Evan Camp • Eureka Heights

Greg Buchold • Pie Blogger & pie aficiando


all Heights Association Business Members


Dewayne Ross

Wedding Bliss Events

MC - judge systems & coordination

Angela DeWree

Design&Inspiration / Props2go

branding & decor


Danielle Stewart
Historic Heights Living Magazine

DOOR PRIZES generously provide by:
Greg Blasini of EQ HEIGHTS
and Dan Long at Bliss on 19th

REFRESHMENTS generously provided by:
Eureka Heights
and Tea by Sea

J. Harding 


Betsy Boston

I innovated with a basic quiche recipe.

Sweet Potato Quiche - Betsy Boston 
6 eggs
1 c Whole milk
1 c grated Swiss cheese
1 sweet potato, partially cooked, peeled and chopped
1/2 c red onion, diced
4 slices bacon (turkey or regular), cooked and crumbled 
3/4 tsp nutmeg 
Pepper to taste. 
Pie crust
Dijon mustard

Place pie crust in plate, brush lightly with mustard.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk together the milk, egg, cheese and & pepper.
  • Stir in additional ingredients.
  • Pour the egg mixture into an pie dish, and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. Or until the centre is set, and not jiggly.
This is also excellent without any crust.  Freezes well.

Alexandra Drake

Thank you so much! It was a delightful event and I was so happy to be involved!
I used two recipes from Pinterest and my own creative ideas, so there isn’t really a solid recipe.

Peggy Coleman

Onion Tarte Tatin
We can’t get enough of this savory twist on the French dessert pastry—the cast-iron skillet helps the
onions in this Tarte Tatin caramelize and become deliciously sweet.
By admin - September 17, 2018
Onion Tarte Tatin
Serves: 1 (12-inch) tart
2 medium yellow onions
1 medium red onion
. cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
. teaspoon kosher salt
. teaspoon ground black pepper
. cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
. (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
Garnish: fresh thyme leaves
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Cut each onion lengthwise into 12 wedges, leaving root ends intact.
3. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook, turning
occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and honey; cook for
5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, and pepper; sprinkle with Parmesan. Remove from heat.
4. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll pastry sheet to remove crease lines. Using a knife, cut
pastry into a 13-inch circle. Place pastry onto onions, carefully tucking edges down into skillet.
Cut 2 small slits in top of pastry to release steam.
5. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Carefully invert tart onto a serving platter. Serve immediately. Garnish with thyme, if desired.

Jada Phillips

1/4 cup softened margarine
1/4 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoom vanilla
• Your favorite single crust pie dough
Cream together the margarine, butter and sugar. Add flour and mix well.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing fairly well after each and then add buttermilk and vanilla. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie crust and bake at 400º for 8-10 minutes or until a knife comes out clean just off the center of the pie.  Cool completely before serving and enjoy.

Anh Du

Watermelon Chiffon Pie
2 1/2 cups crumbled crisp gourmet cookies (such as Biscoff/Speculoos)
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
6 Tsbp. unsalted butter, melted 
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
22 watermelon balls, using 1” melon baller
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp of finely grounded tapioca powder (such as Kraft Minute Tapioca) 
1 Tbsp. lemon zest plus 
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 
2 cups heavy cream, divided 
1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese, divided 
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup powdered sugar, divided
1.    Heavily coat a 10-inch pie plate with cooking spray; set aside. 
2.    Place cookies, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a food processor, and process until finely ground, 10 to 15 seconds. 
3.    Add melted butter; process until mixture is moist and clumps together easily, about 5 seconds. 
4.    Press crumb mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of greased pie plate. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

1.    Cut watermelon into cubes to equal 3 cups 
2.    Place cubed watermelon in a blender, and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. 
3.    Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, pressing gently to squeeze out juice; discard solids. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups of watermelon juice.)
4.    Place tapioca in a spice grinder or coffee grinder; process until finely ground, about 40 seconds.
5.    Sift ground tapioca through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of the tapioca powder. 
6.    Stir together watermelon juice, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon tapioca powder, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan; let stand 5 minutes. 
7.    Bring to a boil over high, and cook, whisking often, until tapioca dissolves, 5 to 6 minutes. 
8.    Immediately remove watermelon mixture from heat. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. 
9.    Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.
10. While watermelon mixture stands, beat 1 cup of the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of the mascarpone with an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form, about 50 seconds. 
11. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 10 seconds. 
12. Working in batches, gently fold watermelon mixture into whipped cream mixture until smooth and blended. 
13. Spoon watermelon mixture into prepared pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
14. Scoop out flesh of remaining watermelon with a 1-inch melon baller, making about 22 (1-inch) balls. Place watermelon-balls on a plate lined with paper towels; set aside.
15. Gently mix together remaining mascarpone cheese and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl just until combined. 
16. Add 1 cup heavy cream into mascarpone mixture and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 45 seconds.
17. Dollop mascarpone-whipped cream topping on top of pie, leaving a 1-inch border. 
18. Place watermelon-ball along edges of whipped cream topping. Serve immediately.

Steve Minatra

I was proud to enter a pie in the Heights Pie Contest.
Here’s my recipe:
“Make American as Apple Pie Great Again”
1 pie from Kroger. $5.99
144 American flags on 2” toothpicks from Arne’s. $2.99
Stick the flags in the pie and serve. Remove the flags before eating!

I’m planning my entry for next year!


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