I promise, there will be posts about the barbeque side of the contest, but for today it's a quick review of our apple entry at the Hudson Valley Ribfest 2008.
What you're looking at is a bourbon caramel sauce with honey roasted mixed nuts and apples in a sponge cake tart topped with vanilla icing.
It was the creation of my team mate, Pete. I had absolutely nothing to do with it except for some advice on how to place it in the box. It was absolutely delicious and I thought a sure fire winner.
How'd it do? 39th out of 44. Usually, deep down, you know when your your food deserves to win and when it should tank. This one left me scratching my bald head. If I was served this in a bakery or a restaurant I would have been one very happy WhiteTrash boy.
Looking back, I naturally begin to search for the reasons why the judges didn't like it. The first thing that pops into my head is that underneath the apple/nut mixture, Pete put in a layer of vanilla icing. With the icing on top, was that just overkill? Was it too sweet? Were the apples too tart? Did the filling melt into the sponge cake as it sat in the box making the overall dessert mushy and wet? Did the judges think that using a pre-made sponge cake shell was a cop out? Were the apples not the star of the dessert, but only a bit player? Were there too many nuts and not enough apples? Was the filling too warm/cold? Did the filling get to hard when it sat and cooled?
Who knows. We know we liked it. There's no point in second guessing it. We gave it our best shot. 39th out of 44? You take your licks and you move on. That's part of the challenge and fun of competition. You put out your best and hope the judges agree. Sometimes you grab the brass ring, others you're left grasping air.