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Family gatherings make this dessert special
The right ingredients are important for an award-winning pie, but the most important ingredient is family and friends to enjoy it according to many who competed Saturday at the 2nd Annual Pie Contest in Dahlonega.

The taste of a homemade pie - bubbly and sweet, fruity and buttery - is a special treat in any season.

Pecan pie during the winter holidays, strawberry pie in the spring, a perfect apple pie at July Fourth or a Southern buttermilk pie any time of year - it's not the flavor that makes pie special. It's the family gatherings where pie is featured, according to April Clark.

"There's usually an occasion that goes along with it that involves family. Pies are usually on a holiday," said Clark, winner of the Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition 2nd Annual Pie Contest held on Saturday.

Clark, an avid pie baker and volunteer with the literacy coalition, whipped up her Fudgy Strawberry Goodness pie for a first-place finish in her first baking competition.

"It's sinful. It's hot fudge in the bottom of it, and then the center is really creamy," Clark said. "It's cream cheese, white chocolate and homemade whipped cream blended together, and then it's covered with strawberries with strawberry glaze and a little bit more of the homemade whipped cream and then shaved chocolate on the top."

Clark added that she has been baking the pie for about 10 years, and makes three to four at Christmas. She modified the recipe from a holiday cookbook.

Tracy Truelove along with her daughters Elizabeth, 14, and Lauren, 16, entered the dessert pie competition. Tracy created a Pecan and Strawberry Pie, Elizabeth made a Chocolate Cream Supreme and Lauren made a Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake.

"I'm doing that (Pecan Pie) in memory of our aunt. She died, and she always made it; and it was always the best," Tracy said.

The 2nd Annual Pie Contest had 72 entries in two categories, dessert and savory.

Other winners in the dessert category were Tina Sinkinson's Bavarian Apple Torte in second place and Donna Wright's Strawberry Pie.

Winners of the savory category were the Cheesy Crab Pie baked by Tina Sinkinson for first place, Donna Wright's Grandma's English Plate Pie for second place and third place went to Q Pie by Ed Hesse.

Smokin' Gold BBQ owners Dan and Laurie Diderele created Smoked Chicken Pot Pie for the competition.

"My wife and I are competition barbecue cooks also, and when we arrive at a contest on Thursday usually we try to figure out something easy to cook for dinner," said Dan, who has been competing in barbecue competitions for six years. "So what we'll do, we have a Big Green Egg (a ceramic cooker that is part smoker and part grill), and we'll take some chicken breasts and grill those up, and then I'll take the chicken breast and she'll put in the vegetables and the sauce and make it into a pie. With the Green Egg, I'll put another piece into it that essentially turns it into a convection oven and get it to temperature about 350 to 400 degrees, and then we'll bake the pie for another 45 minutes."

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