It's all about the Sweet Dough!

It's all about the Sweet Dough!

The Sweet Dough Pie Festival is held every October in Grand Coteau, LA. This event celebrates the unique history of historic Grand Coteau and a traditional treat called, sweet dough pie. Every year, pastry chefs and home cooks vie for the title in the sweet dough pie contest.

Proceeds for this event will go to the Grand Coteau Cultural Foundation, a non-profit organization. The organization issues grants for scholarships to a variety of projects that fund local improvements in the town of Grand Coteau.

This year I entered the competition. The flavors to chose from were blackberry, fig, custard and sweet potato. I opted for blackberry and custard. (blackberry pie filling and sweet dough recipe below) We were asked to bake 2 pies of the flavors we had chosen.

So…on the morning of October 27, I packed my car with my ever-patient husband and 4 freshly baked pies. We were off to Grand Coteau.

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We arrived early and I brought my pies to the judging table and we waited. While we waited, we enjoyed good music, food and lots of Grand Coteau hospitality. They tell you the judging takes about 2 hours, as the judging is done by visitors to the festival. Anyone interested in judging, which is basically tasting beaucoup (lots) of delicious pies, pays $5 to gets a official judging wristband, a ballet and then votes for their favorites.

Shrimp and Grits from Cafe Josephine

Shrimp and Grits from Cafe Josephine

After an hour and a half the results were in. All of the competition pies had been eaten and the votes counted. My blackberry pie won 1st place and my custard pie won 2nd place. Yes, I was proud and excited and thankful. My heart was smiling as I was doing what I do - sharing the love.

1st Place Blackberry and 2nd Place Custard - Prizes were donated the Kitchen Shop

1st Place Blackberry and 2nd Place Custard - Prizes were donated the Kitchen Shop

If you have never visited Grand Coteau, you really should have it on your day trip list for this holiday season. The Christmas at Coteau 2018 is on December 7 & 8 and you will pass a good time.

photo by Kenneth Wilson

photo by Kenneth Wilson

Blackberry Pie Filling

Makes enough for 4 9-inch pies

1 quart blackberries

1 ½ to 2 cups sugar

¼ cup water

Wash the berries and drain well, removing any stems. Adjust the sugar according to how sweet you want the filling. Combine the sugar and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the berries and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens. Be patient, depending on the size of the berries it could take 30 to 45 minutes for the mixture to thicken. Cool completely before adding to the crust. This filling can be made a couple of days ahead of time or frozen until ready to use.

Sweet Dough

Makes 4 9-inch pies

About 24 turnovers

Makes lots of cookies

¾ cup vegetable shortening

1 cup sugar

½ cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. (This is the sugar/shortening mixture)

Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir this mixture until well blended. (This is the liquid mixture)

Combine the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.(Dry ingredients)

Alternate blending the liquid mixture and the dry ingredients into the sugar and shortening mixture. Always start and end with liquid. Continue to alternate the mixtures until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. For each pie, roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to make a 12-inch circle. Place dough in a 9 inch pan and crimp the edges.

Fill with the filling of your choice. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

For turnovers, cut dough in 5 inch circles and fill with 3 tablespoons and fold the crust over on itself. Seal the edges with a fork and bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

For sugar cookies, roll out the dough a bit thicker (¼ inch) than you would pie crust, and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.