Pumpkin Recipe Tasting & Winning Cake

Pumpkin Recipe Tasting & Winning Cake

“Fall in love with Ridgefield” was the theme for numerous food events over the weekend but I was most interested in all things pumpkin.  The call went out to professional and amateurs asking for recipes both sweet and savory and the contest was on. I was honored to judge with Michele Stuart of Michele’s Pies in Norwalk and Westport, CT.
Michele Stuart has been the queen of pumpkin in my view, since she went toe to toe with Bobby Flay in a pumpkin pie throwdown in 2009.  Her maple pumpkin with pecan streusel pie is featured in Flay’s THROWDOWN cookbook but why not support our local star and find it in Michele’s beautifully photographed and user friendly book, PERFECT PIES? Michele and I  judged 12 recipes by tasting each product and evaluating flavor, use of pumpkin  (we wanted it to dominate other flavors), and originality. We threw in aesthetics, too, of course.
The winner in the professional category was Kaitlyn Lennox Christoff, executive pastry chef of Sweetooth, opening in Katonah, NY,  in November.  Her pumpkin cupcake with chai spice frosting was an easy favorite. Organic canned pumpkin provided the pleasantly dominant pumpkin punch and chai flavors, mixed by the baker for her cream cheese frosting, made for a distinctively spicy kick.
The first prize in the amateur  category went to Jessica Pizzo for her moist and delicious pumpkin cupcakes in a ginger graham cracker crust topped with maple cream cheese frosting.
The people’s choice went to Paul Desiano, Cello Restaurant, for his rich and piquant Mexican Pumpkin Soup. All winners received gift certificates for Marketplace businesses, which include nine food related shops in one  convenient location.  The gathering of these small businesses feels a bit like Europe and is well worth visiting.  Check out Ridgefield Organics, 109 Cheese & Wine, Southwest Café, The Cakebox, Cello Restaurant, Ross Bread, Tre Restaurant, The Cutting Board, Everywoman’s Spirit.

Partners in planning and coordinating this local event were Lisa Schmidt, Ridgefield Organics and Specialty Market and Monica Brown of No. 109 Cheese and Wine.


  1. I have had the pleasure of eating many, many baked goods made by Kaitlyn Christoff including many big occasion cakes – and never have been disappointed! A true talent…

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