In what would certainly be the best viral advertising campaign in the 142-year history of baking giant Pillsbury, officials with the Kentucky State Fair are probing the origin of the crust used to make this year’s blue ribbon buttermilk pie to determine if it contained an off-the-shelf Pillsbury crust.
The culinary champion behind the award-winning buttermilk pie is Linda Horton, a retired factory worker from the Louisville suburb of Valley Station, The Courier-Journal reports.
Horton, 67, again took her buttermilk pie to the Kentucky State Fair, an annual 10-day affair which takes place in Louisville and wrapped up Aug. 30.
This year marks the second consecutive year Horton has bagged first prize. She describes her concoction as a hybrid between a chess pie — a Southern specialty — and a cheesecake, according to Macon, Ga. CBS affiliate WMAZ.
The controversy flared up after Horton shared her prize-winning recipe with a Courier-Journal reporter.
“This year, I used a Pillsbury pie crust,” she told the newspaper. She explained that homemade crusts had proved problematic in the past because they “didn’t crumble a whole lot.”
The great thing about a store-bought Pillsbury crust is that it’s “so buttery,” Horton added.
After learning that Horton had used a crust she purchased at a grocery store, other contestants who had entered the pie-baking contest complained.
These complaints led fair officials to investigate Horton’s delicious, oh-so-buttery pie.
“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.
“State Fair culinary competition management takes matters such as this very seriously,” Lee also promised.
If Horton did, in fact, use a Pillsbury crust, she would have blatantly broken the rules of the pie contest.
“No commercial pie crusts may be used,” the Kentucky State Fair Premium List and General Rules Book states on page 203.
When she submitted her scrumptious buttermilk pie recipe, Horton was vague about the crust, saying only that she lined “two 8-inch pie pans with pastry crust.”
Lee was diplomatic about the potential snafu, suggesting to The Courier Journal that perhaps Horton merely wanted “to show people how simple a good pie could be to make quickly at home.”
Ominously, however, the state fair official warned that Horton’s blue ribbon “will be voided” if, in fact, she used a Pillsbury crust.
The ingredients in Horton’s prize-winning buttermilk pie filling are butter, flour, buttermilk, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.