Homewood baker brings home more blue ribbons from the state fair

  Paige Dague admires a book, "Pies a Plenty," by 
  Florence LaGanke Harris and published in 1940. 
  The book was a gift from Sarah Austin, steward 
  of the Olive Road Little Free Library, as
  gesture of congratulations for Dague's 
  2016 state fair accomplishments. Dague's 
  daughter and sales assistant, Elaina Dague, 
  looks on. 
(Photo by Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Homewood's "Pie Lady" had another good year at the Illinois State Fair.

Paige Dague won two blue ribbons for her champion pies, Brown Sugar Sweetie Pie in the C & H Brown Sugar contest and Must-Have Mango Pie in the Dole Canned Fruit contest. She won a red ribbon for her Midnight Magic Chocolate Pretzel Pie in the Salty Sweet Dessert contest. 

She also received a red ribbon for her Apple HypnoJelly in the Jams, Jellies and Preserves contest.

Dague started a baking business, Hypnotize Pies, earlier this year after winning baking competitions with her pies at the 2014 and 2015 state fairs. She frequently has a booth at Homewood's winter and summer farmers markets.

At the market Saturday, Aug. 27, she gave away 144 sample-sized slices of her 2016 award-winning pies as a customer-appreciation gesture.

"The Chocolate Pretzel Pie was perfected based on feedback from my Facebook followers, who voted back in June," she sad. "They overwhelmingly chose a pretzel crust over a chocolate cookie crust, and it was definitely an improvement."

The Dole Contest, a new event this year, was a challenge, she said. It required the use of canned fruit product, and she uses fresh fruit in her pies.

"Although I won a blue ribbon at the state level in both 2014 and 2015, this was my first time entering more than one contest," she said. "My goal this year was to win two blue ribbons. I am beyond thrilled that I achieved that."

Dague said as soon as she got home from the fair, she began working on recipes for next year's entries. She also plans to compete at the National Pie Championships in May 2017.

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