By Janie Southard
Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone, but six guys in New Bremen are gearing up to take a shot at the Guiness Book of World Records for baking the biggest pumpkin pie ever.
Keep it under your hat, but none of these guys has ever made a pie in his life.
Oh, well, wait ... Brian Boroff says he's made two zucchini pies (big deal!) and apparently Leon Homan intends to bake his first pie sometime this week, or next week, or maybe July or August -- certainly sometime before October.
So, it's fairly safe to say none of the six (Jess Siegel, John Turner, Greg Reynolds, Jeff Wells, Boroff and Homan) know what they're doing, even though Wells has everyone pretty well confused saying things like "manure's the key."
One must assume he's referring to his remarkable ability to grow really, really big pumpkins and has been the subject of many newspaper articles during the past few years. (Ask to see his Pumpkin King scrapbook, which he carries around in the trunk of his car.) So what is the big secret? (As if everyone in town doesn't already know the whole story and four more like it!) It's how big they plan to make the pie. Apparently, their collective thought is that there is actually some pumpkin-pilfering group hunkered down along state Route 66 just waiting for this information.
What is known is that the present record holder is a 418-pound pie made in 2003 in Windsor, Calif., by a farmers' market group and a bunch of kids from the Windsor High School culinary arts program.
At the very least these Six Piemen from the New Bremen Pumpkin Growers Society need a lot of help and, as is typical in a small town, they're getting a lot of help. Thank Heaven!
First, the pie pan was made this week in Springfield by Arctech, whose owner Len McConnaughey is so enthralled with the pie project he donated all labor in making the huge pie pan. (No, we can't release the dimensions because some blackhearted scientist is loitering around one of the Crown buildings waiting to key in vital pie information.)
Sworn to secrecy, local hauler Cheeseman Trucking sent a flatbed to Springfield to pick up the great big pan and returned it to New Bremen using a circuitous route said to involve fording a stream.
The oven? They'll build their own, of course, with donations from Minster Supply (yes, certain Minster entities will be permitted to help), Kinniger Weld, Riegel Plumbing, Thieman Stamping, Moulton Gas and there could be others.
So far, so good. But back to the actual construction of the pie. Worry Wart Wells has nixed the plan for the Piemen to make the crust, probably a prudent move. Consider that to break the Guiness record the giant pie has to be edible and who wants to see a bunch of men wading around in flour, salt, shortening and so forth. Yuck!
So he's arranged with Lindsay Bakery in Circleville, a.k.a. pumpkin mecca, to make up a giant mass of piecrust, roll it up like turf grass and lay it in the pan, whose dimensions we don't know.
Meanwhile, the Six Piemen of the Pumpkinolypse will be stirring 200-plus cans of raw pumpkin (Community Markets), several pounds of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, as well as rye bread, bratwurst, hot mustard -- oh, wait, that's another festival. Siegel, Turner and Reynolds had the bright idea to cut up a few hundred real pumpkin-pie pumpkins and brew up the filling. This from guys who don't know squat about making pies. Get real!
Okay, let's assume the Sixsome get the job done and the giant, heavy pie is ready for baking. How the heck are they going to get it in the oven?
Here they come to save the day -- Crown finally gets to stick its big corporate nose into the festivities with a fork lift truck or two, maybe seven. (How many Crown fork lifts does it take to bake a pie? If you live in New Bremen, as many as you want.) Disclaimer: None of the Piemen made any disparaging nasal statements about Crown.
There's a lot more to this story, but, of course, it can't be told. Well, there's still the problem of a tent. Naturally, they're hoping someone will step up and donate a tent for the big pie bake-off.
And, there's also the question of whipped cream, or no whipped cream? And hats, what style chef hats will the Piemen be wearing? Pumpkin King Wells is pushing for something really fancy, like a crown.