by: Jessica Fera Updated:
PITTSBURGH - WPXI viewers submitted hundreds of votes and on Dec. 20, we surprised the winners of the Pittsburgh's Best Pies contest. Finishing in 3rd place was Soergel Orchard's Family Farm Market in Wexford.
Soergel’s has been a part of the community since 1850.
“We have a long tradition of quality and consistency,” said bakery general manager Eric Voll. “We use all fresh fruit and that makes a big difference. No canned items or anything like that so it’s as natural as possible and as juicy and flavorful. And we have very, very old ovens. And that’s a key ingredient too. I think when people think of Soergel’s they think of fall, they think of pies they think of family,” Eric said.
This past fall, Soergel’s received a visit from a very famous family. Tom Cruise was in town to film a movie, and stopped by with wife Katie Holmes and daughter Suri.
“We didn’t have a clue that they were going to come out and they could not have been nicer whenever they were out here. They were just a part of the crowd,” Eric said.
So did the Hollywood stars enjoy a delicious pie?
“I’d like to think they took some home with them,” Eric said. “And they’re more than welcome to come back, I can tell you that much.”
From the North Hills to the South Hills, The Pie Place in Upper St. Clair finished in 2nd place.
“We’re really excited. We were just excited that our viewers nominated us in the first place,” said co-owner Jessica Gombar.
The three co-owners are all self-taught bakers and they’re busy creating made from scratch treats seven days a week.
“All of our pies are nine-inch deep dish pies. And we do our signature pies, all of our fruit pies, with the twisted lattice top which is kind of hard to find. It’s an art. We also do a lot of cream pies. All of our pies are baked fresh every morning and each of our pies has about 7 to 8 cups of fresh fruit in it, so they’re pretty heavy,” Jessica said.
The finished products look like true works of art and if you can’t decide which one to try, you can take home a few of the bite-sized mini pies.
It was a battle between the north and south, and we ended up back in Wexford to present our 1st place award to Dudt’s Bakery.
Owner Deborah Lacher and her team couldn’t take too much time to enjoy the recognition. A steady stream of customers filled the bakery during this busy week before Christmas.
“They just keep flowing in, customer after customer. We get people from all over, so it’s a nice feeling,” Deborah said.
For many local families, Dudt’s is a holiday tradition, and at Christmas, it’s all about the cookies.
“There isn’t a bad cookie in here,” said customer Eleanor Barton of Cranberry. “I mean they’re just all delicious. I have a hard time controlling myself as to how many I buy. I was only going to come for a couple dozen and I ended up with 5 and a half dozen.” Deborah says it’s the recipes that make this bakery so popular. “Just like if you bake at home. Nothing’s frozen. Everything is from scratch,” Deborah said.
The contest started with a nomination period and the five restaurants/bakeries with the most nominations were named as our finalists.
The Top 5 were invited to participate in a taste test at the Channel 11 studios.
Finishing in 1st place was Dudt's Bakery in Wexford. In 2nd place was Soergel Orchard's Family Farm Market also in Wexford. Tied in 3rd place was The Pie Place in Upper St. Clair and the Butler County Area Vocational Technical School Bakery. Only one point separated 2nd and 3rd place in the taste test!
- The finalists will first be determined by the number of valid nominations received and second, by the willingness of the bakeries/restaurants to participate.
- The nomination process will open Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 at noon and close Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at noon. Our finalists will be determined at that time.
- A taste test will take place at the Channel 11 studios during the week of Dec. 5th. Each finalist must deliver a sample of their pies (one apple pie and a specialty pie of their choice) for the test. If a bakery/restaurant does not show up for the taste test they will be disqualified.
- Voting will open to the public Thursday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. on WPXI.com and close Thursday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.
- The winners will be revealed during the week of Dec. 19. Award plaques will be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners as determined by the public vote. Award certificates will be given to the remaining finalists.
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