Enjoying the Sweet Taste of Success

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Engagement Ring Pie took top honors in the Professional category as well as the Royal Wedding Pie category during the American Pie Council's 2011 championships.
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Royal Macadamia Raspberry Pie took top honors in the American Pie Council's Amateur division during the 2011 National Pie Championships.

Orlando, Florida
— The American Pie Council is as pleased as, well, pie, to announce the winners
of the 17th Annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships® held earlier this
month in Orlando, Florida. The pie competition is held each year in conjunction
with the Great American Pie Festival and the Never Ending Pie Buffet, an event that
draws an annual following of more than 32,000 pie lovers and features more than
87,000 slices of pie!

This year’s pie
championships drew an astounding 896 entries in four divisions: Amateur,
Professional, Junior Chef and Commercial, and featured three exciting new
categories: “”Royal Wedding,” Gluten-Free” and “Crisco
Innovations.” The pies were judged by 174 pre-qualified volunteer chefs,
bakers and assorted pie aficionados.

“We want to
thank all those who traveled to Orlando
to participate in the 17th Annual APC/Crisco National Pie Championships®. The
creativity and skill demonstrated in all of the categories, but especially our
new categories – ‘Royal Wedding,’ Gluten-Free and ‘Crisco Innovation’ – were
truly inspiring, not to mention, mouthwatering!” says Linda Hoskins, APC’s
executive director. “Congratulations to those who earned first, second,
third and honorable mentions, and especially to our Best in Show winners. It’s
not uncommon for our bakers to pull all-nighters during the competition to
ensure that they’re entering the ‘perfect pie’ and we truly appreciate their dedication
to their craft.”

The Royal
Wedding Pie category, which was only added for one year, challenged
professional bakers to use their imaginations to create a pie fit to serve
Prince William and Kate Middleton at their upcoming April nuptials. The winner
of the Royal Wedding Pie category, Bryan Ehrenholm of The Lunch Pail in Modesto, California,
also took the Professional division’s Best in Show out of 142 entries for his
creation called “Engagement Ring Pie.” Of his sweet confection,
Ehrenholm wrote, “The engagement ring worn by Kate Middleton is rich with
history and grace, symbolizing the eternal love of Diana for her son William
and William for his future Queen. So this pie is rich with history of English
walnuts and dates, graced by a meringue crust and topped with the deep color of
blueberries and encircled with the lightness of whip cream and diamond
dust.”

For his
Professional Best in Show win, Ehrenholm took home $5,000 in prize money, a new
Sears Kenmore range and a Crisco gift basket. He earned an additional $200 and
Crisco gift basket for taking first place in the Royal Wedding category.

Taking second
place in the Royal Wedding category was, ironically, Susan Boyle – no, not the
British Susan Boyle who rose to worldwide fame on the TV show, “X-Factor,”
but a baker from DeBary, Florida, who also made a blueberry pie in honor of the
soon-to-be princess’s engagement ring. She took home a Crisco gift basket for
her second-place win.

A most notable
of pie championship judges and particularly, the “Royal Wedding”
category, was Darren McGrady, a.k.a. “The Royal Chef,” who served as
Senior Chef for Queen Elizabeth II of England for 11 years and as the
Personal Chef for Diana, Princess of Wales, and her sons, William and Harry,
for four years until Diana’s tragic death in 1997. He moved to the United States in 1998 and is now employed as a
private chef in Dallas.
As the chef for Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding, McGrady will make
appearances later this month on “Oprah” and “The Today
Show” to discuss the menu for William and Kate’s wedding. During the Great
American Pie Festival, McGrady signed copies of his cookbook, “Eating
Royally – Recipes and Remembrances of a Palace Kitchen.”

The Commercial
division brought in more than 447 entries in five categories and 23 flavors.
Bakers Square took top honors with 32 wins, followed by Bonert’s Slice of Pie
with 21 wins.

Second only to
the Commercial division, the Amateur division garnered 301 entries spread among
17 pie flavors. Phyllis Szymanek of Toledo,
Ohio, took the Amateur Best in
Show with her Royal Macadamia Raspberry Pie. Her Crisco-based crust featured
ground macadamia nuts, as did her cream cheese and Cool Whip filling, which was
topped with a glaze comprised of fresh raspberries and raspberry Jello.
Szymanek took home $5,000 in prize money, as well as a new Sears Kenmore range.

Junior Chefs,
ages 14-17, also made a strong showing at the competition, but last year’s
winner once again emerged victorious. Devin Davis of Plant City, Florida, took
the Junior Chef Best in Show with his Creamy Guava Pie, which consisted of a
crust made with Crisco Butter-Flavored Shortening, filled with a whipped cream
and cream cheese mixture which was then layered with a guava topping made from
guava paste, lemon Jello, sugar and water, and topped with a whipped cream
topping sweetened with sugar and vanilla. Davis
won a $2,000 scholarship and a Crisco gift basket.

In celebration
of Crisco’s 100th birthday this year, the competition also featured a
“Crisco Innovation” category, challenging Professional and Amateur
bakers to come up with a creative new pie concept while incorporating at least
½ cup of Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening. Taking Best of Show in the Amateur
division was Naylet LaRochelle, of Miami,
Florida, whose pie name was as
creative as its flavor: “My Big Fat Italian Strawberry-Basil Wedding
Pie.”

LaRochelle’s big
fat pie featured a crust made from Butter-Flavored Crisco Shortening and a
filling made with Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves, mascarpone cheese, whipped
cream, unflavored gelatin and chopped fresh basil, topped with a vanilla bean
white chocolate mousse.

Best of Show in
the Professional “Crisco Innovation” category was Linda Hundt of DeWitt, Michigan,
for her pie called, “Laura’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Apple Pie.” Her
pie also featured a Crisco-based crust layered with a sticky toffee pudding
filling and praline pecans, topped with a mixture of cooked apples, cinnamon,
butter and sugar, baked and then smothered with homemade caramel and more
praline pecans. No stranger to the pie championships, Hundt won Best of Show in
the Professional category in 2009 for her “Tom’s Cherry Cherry Cherry
Berry Pie.”

Both LaRochelle
and Hundt received $2,000, a gift basket filled with Crisco baking products and
a special trophy. During the competition, Crisco asked professional chefs for
their best pie-making tips, which will soon be compiled into a top 10 list to
aid bakers everywhere, including those who want a leg up on next year’s
APC/Crisco National Pie Championships®, which will be held in Orlando April
27-29, 2012.

The Gluten Free
category also was added as this year to the Amateur division to meet the needs
of pie lovers who have wheat allergies or celiac disease. The first-place
winner of this permanent new category was Liza Ludwig of Winter Curlew, Iowa, with her
“Mom’s Mudpuddle Pie.” The pie featured a brownie crust with a rich
filling made of Mexican cocoa, Mexican vanilla, cream, semi-sweet chocolate,
chopped nuts, butterscotch chips, and mini-marshmallows, topped with crushed
Score candy bars. Ludwig won $200 cash for her first-place win.

Additional
winners in the junior, amateur and professional divisions, as well as winning
pie recipes are posted online at the American Pie Council’s website.

Crisco® is a
registered trademark of The J. M. Smucker Co.
For more information, visit the Crisco website.

Participants in
the National Pie Championships are encouraged to join the American Pie Council
prior to registration in order to receive discounted entry fees. The American
Pie Council offers individual membership for amateurs as well as professionals
and commercial bakers.  Pie lovers receive
multiple benefits including the “Pie Times” e-newsletter, membership
directory and member-only online “pie talk” access for idea exchange,
pie recipes, coupons and discounted entry into the annual APC/Crisco® National
Pie Championships®. 

The American Pie
Council® is the only organization committed to maintaining America’s pie heritage, passing on the tradition
of pie-making and promoting America’s
love affair with pie.

For more
details, to become a member of the APC or to register for the National Pie Championships,
visit the American Pie Council’s website.