Harvest Festival’s Best Apple Pie judge Ian Pertzel walks over to two wooden tables where 15 homemade pies rest.
Some are nursed in chequered tea towels, the others are covered completely; masking their identity.
Mr Pertzel is the sole judge of the Bacchus Marsh Harvest Festival’s Best Apple Pie Competition and said year on year, he still had entries that did not meet the competition criteria.
“It is an apple pie competition, but we will get some variants ... apple cakes (and) apple charlottes,” Mr Pertzel said.
Mr Pertzel peels back the red-chequered tea towel off one entry. His face shows an expression of relief.
“It’s an apple pie,” he said.
This is the first year the judging for the competition has been held in the Village Shopping Centre in Bacchus Marsh.
The Cake Decorating School of Australia teacher and baker of 50 years said he knew the best way to make an apple pie.
“It has to look presentable, it has to be cooked,” Mr Pertzel said.
“A big percentage of last year’s (apple pie) entries had raw bottoms.
“They don’t think you’re going to check them, but we do,” he said.
Mr Pertzel said taste factored largely into the judging process.
“It has to taste good. It is no good having an apple pie that looks good but doesn’t taste great,” he said.
Most of the entries are made by mothers, grandmothers or pastry students, with a couple of businesses entering this year.
This year’s winner was Bacchus Marsh mother Karin Caple, who decided to enter after her children said she cooked “really well”.
“I was so surprised. This is my first year entering,” she said.
The winning pie was made from a flaky pastry, with a cinnamon and nutmeg infused apple puree in the centre.
Angelo’s Bakery Cafe owner Da Keat has only been at the Bacchus Marsh bakery for two weeks, but managed to squeeze in a last-minute entry yesterday.
“This is the first time we have entered. If we don’t win today, we will try again next year,” Ms Keat said.
Her husband baked the entry on the morning of the competition.
Winners of the Best Apple Pie competition receive the title and a fruit platter from a local green grocer.