A pie that first received a thumbs up from Cass County prosecutors has won best of show in the First Lady’s Pie Contest Thursday at the Missouri State Fair.

Debra Bolton, of Pleasant Hill, received a purple best of show ribbon from Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson for her Lemon Raspberry Swirl Cream Pie. Bolton also took first place in the fruit category for her Dried Apricot and Pineapple Pie.

The annual contest hosted in the Home Economics Building had 30 entries this year.

“I work in the prosecutor’s office in Cass County,” Bolton told the Democrat after receiving her ribbons. “And, one of the girls was ordering little Bundt cupcakes for her daughter’s wedding shower. There was this wonderful one called Lemon Raspberry Swirl.”

Bolton said she thought to herself “there it is” and knew she wanted to make this type of pie for this year’s MSF contest.

“So, we tried it,” she noted. “I took it into the office and those prosecutors are hardworking prosecutors, and they are incredible pie judges and tasters. They know they have to criticize, (but) yes they approved it.”

Bolton said she’s not sure what makes the pie so extraordinary but added the flavor of the lemon and raspberry work well together.

“To me, the lemon and the raspberry are just such perfect companions,” she said.

Bolton said her crust is a combination of lard and shortening. She cited a special reason for this combination — an amusing story about her husband Mike.

“Well, when I first started baking pies as a teenager I lived on a farm and we had fresh lard,” she said. “But when I started dating my husband, he comes from a family of very bad hearts. When he found out I was using lard, he accused me of trying to kill him.

“So, for the fair, I mixed half Crisco and half lard — so I’m not going to kill him too much,” she continued with a smile. “But to me, that lard gives such a different texture to it. I’m a lard person.”

Bolton said when she tastes something she likes, she sometimes tries to make a pie with the ingredients. Her love for something different along with a thumbs-up from the Cass County prosecutors was the reason she created the second prize-winning pie.

“You know, I’ve never, ever in 12 or 13 years of competing in this pie contest ever won a ribbon on a fruit pie,” she said. “It’s just so hard, trying to find something that’s a little different. Two years ago, I did a blackberry pie and there were five blackberry pies here.

“With this one, I thought what’s different?” she said. “Smuckers used to make this wonderful apricot and pineapple jam. Oh, that was my favorite. You know again, I take something and think, can I convert it into a pie? Again, I took it in (to the office) and those attorneys were giving me all kinds of suggestions.”

Also receiving awards in the fruit category were Tiffany Thornton, of Slater, with third place for her Cherry Blueberry Pie; Pat Finkes, of Steelville, received second place for her Peach Cider Pie. In the cream category, Thornton, received third place for her Lemon Blackberry Pie, while Faye Hunton, of Sedalia, took second place for her Sunny Citrus Cream Pie.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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