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Purdue food science team develops a new take on the classic derby pie

A team of graduate and undergraduate students from the Food Science Department has been selected as finalists for the American Society of Baking’s (ASB) annual product development competition.

The students exhibit their talent and expertise, network with industry professionals and access a potential launch pad for their newly developed product in the challenge. Graduate students Joseph King, Anbuhkani (Connie) Muniandy and Julia Schmidt constitute the Purdue team headed to this year’s final competition.

The ASB is a professional organization of the wholesale baking community composed of baking professionals, food technologists and experts in engineering, equipment and ingredients.

Each year the ASB competition issues a different challenge to its competitors. This year’s challenge was to bake a product using a “novel protein source” that is not commonly found in food. This could include insects, algae seaweed, rapeseed and many other ingredients.

The Purdue team decided to capitalize on the success of the burgeoning hemp industry and incorporate hemp protein into their product. The “herby pie” the team developed is a take on the Kentucky classic derby pie, traditionally a chocolate nutty pie, often flavored with bourbon and topped with whipped cream.

“Our herby pie is bite size but big on flavor,” Muniandy said. “It capitalizes on the nutty flavor and intense green color of hemp seed protein. The product consists of vanilla-infused hemp seed protein short crust pastry that encases a sweet filling made from chocolate, walnuts, hemp protein and bourbon extract.”

King added, “The competition allows me to flex my creative thinking in ways I don’t always get to in the lab. What makes the project even more fun is our final product takes major inspiration from the derby festival which is huge in my hometown.”

This is the third consecutive year a Purdue food science team has been selected as finalists for the ASB product development competition. The final round takes place on March 1 in Chicago. Contestants from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona College and the University of Florida will compete against the Purdue team for first place and the accompanying scholarship award. According to ASB, this year’s scholarship awards total over $40,000.

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