Dreaming of Pie

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In another sharing of the e-mails that find their way into my inbox comes this gem.

One of the recent press releases to find its way to me had this subject line: Raisin Pie Wins Top Pro Award at Recent APC/Crisco National Pie Championships. We talked about the contest in GRIT eNEWS in our March 19 issue and I can’t resist more pie news.

It seems this year was the first time professionals (chefs, restaurant owners and the like) were allowed to enter a raisin pie. The new category was sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board.

Andrea Springs, who owns the Sign of the Mermaid Restaurant in Bradenton, Florida, took up the challenge, producing a Chocolate Walnut Raisin Pie that not only won the raisin category but also took Best of Show in the 16th Annual American Pie Council/Crisco 2010 National Pie Championship.

The contest was part of the APC’s Great American Pie Festival, sponsored by Crisco, which was held in April in Orlando. The annual event draws professional, amateur and commercial bakers of all skill levels, ages and degrees of training to compete in an annual bake-off. The festival also offers a contest for budding junior chefs.

The professional part of the competition drew 170 pies in nine categories: Apple, Crisco Classic Cherry, Crisco Classic Chocolate, Citrus, Cream, Fruit & Berry, Nut, Raisin and Open. Nine first-place winners then competed for the Best of Show title.

“When I saw that raisin was a new category in the professional division, I really wanted to tackle that because I like the challenge of the new and unusual. I love raisins, but I considered that a ‘straight-out’ raisin pie may not appeal to the masses. The first time I made the pie, I knew the flavors were perfect for the contest. Pairing it with favorites like milk chocolate and walnuts enhances the raisins and creates a very appealing pie,” said winner Spring.

I don’t know about you, but this recipe, found here, sounds simply delish.

Although …. Andrea, have you considered using dark chocolate?

Now I’m off to dream about Chocolate Walnut Raisin Pie!