Prize-Winning Pie Scandal Rocks Kentucky State Fair

Pie Crust

There's little with quite the same down-home charm as a lineup of prize-winning pies proudly on display at the local state fair. With one slice removed for the judges to consider, these gleaming, golden-crusted goodies seem to offer a glimpse into a simpler time, when people took it slow and baked things from scratch rather than rushing through their recipes with store-bought shortcuts.

At least, that's how it's supposed to be.

This year's Kentucky State Fair, which ran through last week, was hit with a pie scandal after 67-year-old retired factory worker Linda Horton, who took home the blue ribbon in this year's buttermilk pie competition, told the Louisville Courier-Journal she  used a store-bought crust to make her prize-winning pie, rather than baking her own.

“This year, I used a Pillsbury pie crust,” Horton, who won the competition last year as well, reportedly told the paper, adding that she felt the brand-name crust held up better than homemade and was "so buttery."

Horton's alleged admission hasn't sat well with fellow contestants and fairgoers. And fair officials have launched an investigation into whether Horton did, indeed, break the competition's rules, which specifically prohibit the use of commercial pie crusts.

“If we award her a first place ribbon for a pie crust that Pillsbury made, we would have to give the ribbon to Pillsbury," Steve Lee, superintendent of the state fair’s culinary department, told the Courier-Journal.

If the officials do determine that Horton cheated, she'll be stripped of the win. But rather than fretting about having to eat humble pie, the plucky Kentuckian has decided to move on. She told the Associated Press that she plans to pass up the pie baking next year and enter another contest instead.

"My grandmother used to make a buttermilk cream cake," she said. "I think I'm going to try it."

Craving buttermilk pie? Try this Food Network Kitchen recipe.

Do you think Horton should be stripped of her win, if indeed she did use a store-bought pie crust?

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