It was a proud day for Andrea Spring of Bradenton, FL, as the restaurant owner completed a tasty pie-fecta, taking Best in Show for the third time in the professional division at the Annual American Pie Council® (APC)/ Crisco® National Pie Championships®.
For the 2013 competition, Spring won the esteemed Best in Show honor in the professional division for her Peanut Butter and Cracker Pie. In 2010, Spring won Best in Show in the professional division for her Chocolate Walnut Raisin Pie, the first time a raisin pie had won this distinction, and in 2007 for her Gold Coast Key Lime Pie. This year, Spring also won first place in the Crisco Innovation category in the professional division for her Coconut Cashew Apricot Pie.
The APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships were held April 26-28, 2013 at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando in conjunction with the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco. At the annual event, bakers of all skill levels, all ages, and all degrees of training, from all over the United States and Canada, competed in a bake-off to determine North America's best professional, amateur and commercial bakers. This year brought 747 entries among the three categories. It took more than 150 judges to eat their way through those pies to find the crème de la crème of North American pie bakers.
This year's professional competition consisted of 128 pies entered in twelve categories: Apple, Crisco® Classic Cherry, Crisco® Classic Chocolate Cream, Crisco® Innovation, Citrus, Cream, Fruit & Berry, Nut, Open, Peanut Butter, Perfect Pie and Raisin. First place winners were chosen in each of the twelve categories with Best in Show selected from among the first place winners.
"The inspiration for the peanut butter cracker pie came from an old ('60's) Georgia peanut board cook book," said Spring, a Florida native who has co-owned and been the chef at the Sign of the Mermaid Restaurant on Anna Maria Island, Fla. since 1992. "The pie was a baked meringue containing saltines and peanuts and then garnished simply with whipped cream. I added chocolate chips, Ritz crackers and a creamy peanut butter fillng."
As Best in Show professional winner, Spring received $5,000 and a Crisco® gift basket. Emile Henry USA, makers of the finest quality ceramic bake ware and gourmet cooking products returned for 2013 as the "Official Pie Dish" of the National Pie Championships. Each amateur and professional competitor received an Emile Henry ceramic pie dish, valued at $45 each.
A complete list of all winners is available at www.piecouncil.org.