Apple Pudding Pie Wins Competition Unearthing ‘Undiscovered Gems’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Premium Apple Pudding Pie, which won the first prize

AOMORI — An apple pie with custard pudding inside, made with local specialties, won the first prize in the Undiscovered Gems of Japan project’s regional Aomori Prefecture competition.

The Premium Apple Pudding Pie is made by Nature Provision Inc., a confectionery company in Aomori.

The project focuses on local products throughout Japan to improve and promote them as hit products across the nation. It is organized in cooperation with local governments and businesses.

The prefectural competition, titled Treasures of Aomori Grand Prix 2023-2024, was held by the Aomori Chamber of Commerce and Industry at its headquarters in the prefecture on Nov. 24.

There were seven contestants in the competition, including makers of handmade products and wagashi Japanese confections. In the presence of five judges, they presented their product’s development process.

As the name suggests, the Premium Apple Pudding Pie contains custard pudding, which is baked into the middle of the pastry.

The product won a confectionery competition in the city in 2014 and hit stores shortly after. However, the product was discontinued after the manufacturer became unavailable for production. The product was called the “legendary” apple pie because of its short-lived stint in store shelves.

Nature Provision President Shingi Kudo did not give up on the pie and made several attempts to reproduce it. In November 2022, his company opened a pastry shop specializing in croissant, which helped him establish a recipe for apple pies.

The Premium Apple Pudding Pie dough is made from Yukichikara and Nebarigoshi, wheat flour brands both produced in Aomori, mixed according to a special recipe to achieve a pleasantly crispy texture.

The custard pudding prepared by the company has been modified to withstand the heat during baking. The apple, also produced in the prefecture, matches the sweetness of the pudding.

The pie was highly praised by the judges, who made such comments as “The combination doesn’t seem unusual but I’ve never seen it” and “It tastes so good that it’d be an instant hit on the market.”

“We chose the ingredients carefully,” Kudo said. “I would like people to try it.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shingi Kudo presents the Premium Apple Pudding Pie.

There were two runner-ups, including a “botanical” business card holder that uses textile made by the sakiori weaving technique, which uses torn long strips of old clothes. The cloth strips for the card holder were pre-dyed with extracts such as tomato and beach rose stem. It was made by Textile Studio Murakami in Aomori City.

The other runner-up was “Buta Attaka Tsukemono,” produced by Yakata Eating, featuring spareribs of the prefecture’s Tsugaru Buta pork brand, pickled in Steuben grape vinegar, also produced in the prefecture.

The three winners are qualified to participate in the national competition to be held in Tokyo in February next year.

Kudo said enthusiastically: “I will improve the product based on the advice given to us.”