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Tennessee's 'Honey Jack' provides edge in State Fair contest for 'best' apple pie

Oct 9, 2013, 11:13 a.m.

— The maker of the “best two-crusted apple pie” in Tennessee is Molly Callicott of Lawrenceburg, according to a final decision by a panel of judges at the 2013 Tennessee State Fair.

So what gave Callicott the edge over her competitors?

“Well, to tell you the truth, I think it was the touch of Tennessee whiskey I used in making the cream sauce topping,” she said proudly.

The Lawrence County homemaker said she had followed her trusted apple pie recipe throughout the entire baking process until she got to the finishing cream sauce.

“I like to be original with my recipes. You know, kind of do my own thing. That’s when I thought I’d change things up a little and add a touch of Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey to my sauce.”

She’s convinced that made the difference between her rendition of a two-crust apple pie and all the other competing for the title.

Heralded as the signature baking contest of this year’s State Fair for some three months, the competition for the favorite double-crusted apple pie recipe attracted more than 80 bakers from kitchens all across the Volunteer State.

In selecting Callicott’s entry the “Blue Ribbon Best,” judges based their decision on four principle factors, including general appearance, texture of crust, filling, and flavor. Finishing second in the contest was Nancy Happle of Mt. Juliet, and the third place winner named was Stephanie Jones of Nashville.

For her scrumptious champion creation, Callicott was presented a $500 cash award, appropriate recognition that she was the “best” two-crusted pie baker in Tennessee in 2013, and notification that her pie recipe would be distributed by the State Fair to a variety of state and regional publications, including Mature Lifestyles.

For placing second in the contest, Happle received a cash award of $150 and the State Fair’s red ribbon, while Jones was presented the third place ribbon and a $75 cash prize.

Each of the bakers was praised by judges for their submissions in the contest which, during the publicly viewed process, drew special nods and pleasing smiles that led at least one onlooker to comment that “judging a State Fair apple pie contest is not such a bad job.”

Judging a collection of 10 finalist pies and eventually the final three winners were celebrity judges Abby White, staff editor, Nashville Scene and Nfocus magazine; Daisy King, founder and chef of Lynchburg’s famous Miss Daisy’s Tea Room; and popular Nashville meteorologist Lelan Statom, WTVF-Channel 5.

Besides the first-, second-, and third-place winners, the remaining seven finalists were Connie Cobern, Hendersonville; Stacey Brodowski, Nashville; Richard Cooper, Greenbrier; Anne-Marie Speight, Old Hickory; Connie Ely, Nashville; Sherri Williams, Hendersonville; and Debbie Alcorn, Brentwood.

Among the preliminary judges responsible for narrowing the total number of entries to the final group of 10 was 15-year-old Alyssa Meoak, a recognized baker in her own right who was named this year’s State Fair “Best in Show Youth” and who won second place honors for “Baker of the Year.” Other preliminary judges were Chris Parker, Jen Duncan, Jesse Emery, Rona Milligan, Mike and Beverly Edwards of Homestyle Bakery, Tami Meoak, Bob Meoak, Kara Meoak, Joel Meoak, Katie Krantz, Laura Barnes, Libby and Anna Barnes, Starla Taylor, and Seth Warf. Nashville media personality Brad Schmidt served as the on-stage host for the final judging.

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