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Making (not so) humble pie

Members of the Prescott Lions Club pose in front of one of eight wedges that make up the 12-foot pie pan. Once completed, the pie will feed close to 1,500 people. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)1 / 2
Designed and built by Randy Kinneman of Prescott, the specially made oven will be used to bake the giant pie Monday. The oven took more than 100 hours to complete. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)2 / 2

PRESCOTT -- When Herdie Baisden attended a Wisconsin Apple Growers Association meeting last year, he had no idea what he would be getting himself into.

The organization announced that its giant pie pan — a 12-foot-diameter metallic behemoth split into eight man-sized wedges — had fallen into disuse.

Baisden, owner of Maiden Rock Apples, Winery and Cidery in Stockholm, said he was intrigued by the concept of a 12-foot pie. With his curiosity piqued, he offered $80 to bring the pan home.

His was the only bid.

A year later, the 12-foot apple pie is about to become a reality. Prescott Lions Club will sell slices of the pie — which is large enough to feed more than 1,500 people — starting noon Labor Day at Ptacek's IGA's world-record-breaking brat celebration in Prescott.

Combining 580 pounds of apples, 84 pounds of crust, 110 pounds of cinnamon-sugar mix and 150 pounds of streusel, the 12-foot pie will be one of the largest ever baked in Wisconsin.

Considering its size, Baisden said he knew making the pie would have to be a group effort, and so he reached out to area organizations to see if they would lend a hand.

"I thought it would be excellent for fundraisers," Baisden said.

Ken Knight, a member of Prescott Lions Club, agreed.

Knight was part of a group from Prescott's Joy Lutheran Church that toured Maiden Rock Apples last fall. After showing them the pan, Baisden asked if anyone would be interested in baking the giant pie.

"And like a dummy I held up my hand," Knight said. "It was too good to turn down."

With the Lions Club onboard and Baisden agreeing to donate the apples, there was one detail that needed to be worked out: the oven.

For technical expertise Knight turned to his son-in-law Randy Kinneman, a toolmaker at Smead Manufacturing in Hastings for 25 years who now does research and development work.

"He's the man who designed the oven, built it and wondered why he agreed to do it," Knight said.

Standing about 2 feet high, the roughly 12-foot square oven looks nothing like a traditional household appliance.

Made of a metal frame, insulation and glass, the apparatus dominates the interior of a shed next to Kinneman's Prescott home.

"I redesigned a pig roaster and put the same type of heating system in that," Kinneman said, "but that's such small scale compared to this."

So far Kinneman has put in at least 100 hours of work building the oven and 20 more hours designing it, he said.

Baking duties go to Lions Club members Paul and Donna Most. The recipe was adapted by Donna from a 10-foot pie recipe used in Gainesville, Fla.

Although it would be too expensive to bake a full-sized pie before Monday, Donna tested the recipe with a traditional 9-inch pie.

"And it's delicious," Knight said.

Additional donations and support were provided by Cernohous Chevrolet, No Name Saloon, King's Cove Marina, Woodmaster Foundations, Joy Lutheran Church and other area residents and businesses.

Randy Murphy of Cernohous Chevrolet said the fundraiser seemed like a good fit.

"Apple pie and Chevrolet go way back," Murphy said. "It's going to be a cool thing."

The main event Monday will be Ptacek's IGA's world-record-breaking attempt at making a 150-foot brat. The family-owned grocery store made the record books last year with a 52-foot brat.

The Budweiser Clydesdales will make an appearance to celebrate the attempt.

Proceeds from the brat event will go toward building a new public park in Prescott, while funds raised from the giant pie will help support Prescott Lions Club's civic and volunteer work.

Preparation for the pie starts 1 p.m. Sunday with apple peeling at Joy Lutheran Church. Volunteers are welcome to help out.

Baking gets underway Monday morning at Ptacek's IGA. Slices will be sold all day with optional ice cream for a $3 minimum donation until the pie is gone.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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