Apple Pie Contest 2023

The Apple Pie Contest made a successful comeback on Sunday, 11/12 after four years!

The Library’s Apple Pie Contest – back by popular demand – drew over 85 hungry tasters to sample homemade and store-bought pies and vote for the best. Twelve local bakers brought their own signature pie recipes to the tasting table. Our “Store-Bought Challenge” presented pies from Hannaford, Market Basket, Stop & Shop and Costco for the community to sample and vote for the collective favorite.

Twelve local bakers arrived with their homemade pies to be judged by our judges’ panel and the community; a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. The whole library smelled of cinnamon and apples, just like Fall should. After a round of judging on qualities from flaky, buttery crust to eye appeal to overall cooking, prizes for first, second, third and people’s choice were awarded.

Lots of people make apple pies, but do you make your own crust? Do you buy a frozen premade crust? Do you use a family recipe, or one you found online? Twelve bakers were brave enough to submit a pie following our rules:


  • All pies are to be homemade, with a homemade double crust.
  • Pie filling must be just apples, with no other fruit such as raisins, cranberries, etc. with the exception of flavorings such as citrus juice or zest.
  • Recipe must accompany the pie, including the type of apple(s) used.
  • Contestants pre-register online on or before November 9.
  • Contestants are asked to bring pies promptly at 1 PM when the library opens.
  • Judging will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Winners will be announced following the judging with ribbons and prizes awarded.

We want to thank the bakers for following the rules, making delicious pies, creating an amazing apple pie aroma in the library and sharing your creations for others to try.


Who were the judges? We reached out to local coffee shops, bakeries, stores, and town departments for volunteers, and were lucky to find four discerning judges.  Many thanks to the Director of the Chelmsford Public Library, Lesley Kimball, The Java Room owner, Candy Liu, KJ Caffé co-owner, Jake Markot and volunteer and resident, Sean Kenny (who filled in for a last-minute cancellation). The judges had the delicious yet difficult task of rating all 12 pies on appearance, taste, and originality, as well as agreeing on the finalists!  Qualities the judges considered were visual appeal, overall flavor, if the apples were tender but not mushy or undercooked, crust tenderness/flakiness, and whether the pie was a good version of a classic apple pie.  It was a lot to consider!

Which pies won? What was in their crust? What apples were used? What was their special ingredient? All were questions heard being asked by tasters as we walked among the many community members filling their plates with samples, and discussing their thoughts with others around them.

Some of the unusual ingredients from the recipes were gruyere cheese, cardamom, pecan flour, buffalo ginger, sumac, Szechuan pepper salt, orange zest, maple syrup and dark rum.  If you were here and tasted the pies – could you identify those ingredients in each pie?  There were lots of varieties of apples used as well: Empire, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Cortland, Rhode Island Greening, Fuji, Gala, Evercrisp, and Spitzenberg. What kind of apples do you use in your own pies? Do you use one variety or a combination?

The top four pies shared some similarities in their crusts – all were simple: flour, butter, salt, cold/ice water, some added sugar or apple cider vinegar, but all used different varieties of apples.

First place went to long-time participant, but first-time winner: Pat Enwight (pie #4)

Apples used: Cortland

Second place went to: Kim Money Priddy (pie #1)

Apples used: Cortland and Rhode Island Greening

Third place went to: Scott Dreher (pie #7)

Apples used: Golden Delicious and Granny Smith

People’s choice went to: Valerie Kelly (pie #6)

Apples used: Honeycrisp and Granny Smith

The store-bought pies were hidden behind the letters A, B, C and D.

As you can see from the chart – the letter B was the fan favorite…



C=Stop & Shop

D=Market Basket

Go to Costco for the fan favorite pie – but be prepared as the pie is 18”in diameter (see in the picture above)!

Thank you to the Friends of the Library for sponsoring the event and supporting the library.  Please consider joining the Friends, as your membership directly supports the programs and special events at the library.  Please click here to become a member:


If you would like to learn about more events and programs, click here to sign up for our newsletter that comes out three times a month:


If you would like to share your suggestions for next year’s event, please email Jill Kenny, Head of Programming