Hoover wows crowd with 5,000-pound apple pie

When Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos was brainstorming ways to make the 2010 Celebrate Hoover Day stand out, he hit upon a uniquely American idea — homemade apple pie.

However, Petelos needed a little more oomph, so he decided he wanted to supersize the pie to the tune of 5,000 pounds.

“We always want to try to do something different every year. The first year, we had a giant birthday cake,” Petelos said. “I think people enjoy activities like this.”

Petelos called on Joseph Mitchell, director of the Culinary and Hospitality Institute at Jefferson State Community College, to help achieve the pastry project.

Mitchell said it took a group of 25 approximately 10 hours to make the pie, starting at 8 p.m. May 1 and finishing up at 6 a.m. May 2. The pie, which was 10 feet in diameter and 10 inches deep, went into the oven at 1 a.m. and took five hours to bake.

The pie required an astonishing amount of ingredients, including 45 bushels of apples, 300 pounds of pastry, 150 pounds of sugar, 15 pounds of butter, 2.5 pounds of cinnamon, 1.5 pounds of salt and 10 pounds of cornstarch.

Mitchell’s students were more than happy to participate in the project, he said.

“They were really excited. They were there all the way through. Even after the pie went in, they stayed,” he said. “It was something new, different and challenging. That made it fun.”

The crowd at Celebrate Hoover Day showed their appreciation for the pie in more ways than one, Mitchell said.

“They were saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it.’ They were getting in front of it to get pictures,” he said. “They were able to eat the pie and ice cream. From a taste standpoint they thought it tasted great, from an aesthetic standpoint they thought it was really neat.”

Hoover officials gave leftover pie to attendees at Celebrate Hoover Day and to area fire departments.

Petelos said the oven used to bake the pie also reflected Hoover’s sustainable sensibility, using recycled materials such as metal and insulation left over from previous construction jobs. The Hoover public works department built the 13-foot-by-13-foot oven.

Hoover citizens can expect more gargantuan food at Celebrate Hoover Days to come, Petelos said.

“Now that we have the oven and we have the pan to fit the oven, we may do a giant brownie or a giant pizza,” he said. “Jeff State did a great job. It was a lot of work for them and they did a great job.”

Sponsors such as George Sarris of Fish Market restaurants, Jubilee Joe’s restaurant, Children’s Harbor, Neel-Schaefer Inc., Target and the Alabama Sports Foundation provided funds for the pie ingredients and to craft the pie pan.