Jeanne Ely's kitchen is full of pies. She's always experimenting to create the recipe for the perfect pie, the best in the entire nation. Last April, her "Lover's Pie" took the blue ribbon at the American Pie Council's national championship in Celebration, near Disney World.
"It's an Oreo cookie crust , and it's got a chocolate mousse filling, and it's got strawberries on top," she says, gazing at the colorful treat that shines red, white and black.
Jeanne says she learned to bake pies because nobody else in her family would. She was the eldest daughter in her family of seven siblings and her mom didn't like to cook. But she's making it easier for her granddaughter, Ana, to learn, and it's brought the two together.
"We just spend more time together since we're baking pies in the same kitchen," says the 14 year old. Ana entered her own creation in the junior division of the contest last April. She calls it the "Spidermonkey Peanut butter Pie." She went there, she entered, and she got "Best of Show," beams Jeanne.
Ana has some big shoes to fill. In 2005, her grandmother won "Best Of Show" and a $5,000 prize for her "Pina Colada Pie."
The recipe appears under Jeanne's name in the Pie Council cookbook. Both are already working on new creations for next April's show.
"I'm going to enter this pie in next year's competition," says Jeanne, as she gestures toward cherry pie. "I'm not going to talk about it too much."
It contains a secret ingredient she doesn't want to give away to competitors. But, in this kitchen, what they put in their pies may not be as important as what they get out of them: baking together.
"There are a lot of grandparents who don't even get to know their grandchildren," says Jeanne. "To spend so much time with her is wonderful."
For more information on the American Pie Council including contests and recipes, visit www.piecouncil.org