Judge Headrick bakes Best Pie in the Cove
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Townsend native Robert Headrick set two milestones at the Blue Ribbon Country Fair this year — he was the first man to win the Best Pie in the Cove contest and he won with a chocolate, not apple pie.
Headrick, a Blount County General Sessions Court judge, won the contest with an old family recipe.
“My grandmothers were good cooks and they taught me to cook,” he said. His grandmothers were Kate Headrick and Nellie Wear.
Headrick was the one that taught him how to make the chocolate pie. “That was her favorite dessert. It was her all time favorite,” he said.
“When she was pregnant with my mother she went to her mother’s house to pick up my aunt. Her mother gave her a chocolate pie and she fell down in the yard. My grandmother just sat there in the yard and ate the pie,” Headrick laughingly said.
“Cooking is like my golf. I enjoy it. I enjoy cooking for other people and I like to win,” he said.
Headrick had entered the pie contest three other times. In years past, the Best Pie in the Cove had to be apple but organizers decided to do away with that rule.
“I’m putting the other cooks on notice. I’m going to win next year with a pumpkin pie,” Headrick warned.
When Headrick was presented the huge silver tray he held it over his head like Sylvester Stallone with the trophy in the “Rocky” movies.
“My wife said we can use this and I told her ‘no we can’t. I’m going to hang that on the wall in my office,’” Headrick said.
His entire family take part in events like the Country Fair at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend.
His parents, Diane and Lowell Headrick have been active in the center since it opened. The Blue Ribbon Country Fair has been an annual event there for five years. Diane Headrick has been head of the center guild and Lowell Headrick has been on the board of directors.
Robert Headrick’s immediate family is also active. Wife Melinda won the Lodge Ladies Skillet Throw, tossing it 64 feet. Headrick jokes that he needs to stay 66 feet away from her when she has a skillet in her hands.
Their children, Grace, 14, Chatham 12, Sebastian, 9, and Lillian, 7, also took part in events like Catch the Greased Pig, Sack Race and Tug of War.
Headrick was sworn in as a Blount County General Sessions Court judge in September 2008.
Of the job he said “I’ve not had a bad day yet. I love it.”
Before becoming a judge he served as an assistant district attorney general for Blount County.
With plenty of baking opportunities ahead, here’s his award-winning pie:
1 9-inch pre-baked pie crust
3 large eggs separated
2 cups sweet milk
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine dry ingredients in thick bottomed sauce pan.
Whisk milk into egg yokes and combine with dry ingredients.
At low heat stir until thickened and remove from heat.
Add butter and vanilla.
Turn filing into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until pie isn’t wobbly when shaken.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, beating constantly until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue on pie. Return pie to oven until meringue is golden.