Fuquay-Varina resident Craig Partin will be competing with other top cooks from across the country in the 2012 Pillsbury Bake-Off. If he wins, Partin will win the $1 million grand prize.
If the thought of a million dollars does not stress Partin out, Pillsbury Bake-Off officials just announced that America’s domestic queen, Martha Stewart, will be announcing the winner of the contest live on The Martha Stewart Show.
Partin will travel to Orlando, Florida, on March 25-27 and compete against 99 other top competitors from across the country in the 2012 Pillsbury Bake-Off.
As the date for the Bake-Off draws closer, Partin said his excitement about the contest is beginning to build.
“The excitement is definitely building as the competition gets closer,” Partin said. “Even though I’ve known about being a finalist since September, the reality of it all is just starting to sink in. The reality that I am actually a Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest finalist and that I am about to be a part of something really special. I am also excited about sharing this experience with my family.”
Pillsbury Bake-Off officials have recently added a new level of excitement to the competition. Bake-Off officials have said that Martha Stewart will announce the winner live on her television program The Martha Stewart Show. Prior to the final competition in March, the Martha show will feature “The Road to the Bake-Off® Contest,” a series of segments chronicling the heart-warming tales of the talented home cooks vying for the $1 million grand prize.
“The Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest is a beloved tradition, and I am very excited to host the finals,” Martha Stewart said. “This is a classic American event that celebrates creativity, showcases innovation, and honors the art and science of cooking and baking. The contest is also a recipe for truly engaging television—I think of it as the World Series of cooks—and I’m looking forward to sharing it with our audience.”
Stewart will join contestants in the kitchen during their first day of competition.
“On Monday, March 26, the 100 finalists will prepare their original recipes side-by-side in 100 GE mini kitchens at the Peabody Orlando Hotel,” a statement about the contest said. “Martha Stewart will join these home cooks on the contest floor as they chop, slice and mix up their creations in four categories—Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy™ and Sweet Treats. Their recipes will be judged by a panel of food experts working in secrecy behind closed doors to select the contest’s million-dollar winner.”
However, Martha’s relationship with the contestants does not end there.
“On Tuesday, March 27, Martha will host a special broadcast to reveal the million-dollar grand prize winner, live from Orlando in a specially-designed Bake-Off® Kitchen on her Emmy Award-winning show, “The Martha Stewart Show,” which airs daily at 10 AM ET/9 AM CT on The Hallmark Channel.”
Partin is not intimidated by the thought of working with America’s domestic diva.
“I think it’s awesome that a great American icon like Martha Stewart is hosting a great American tradition like the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest,” Partin said. “Her participation adds a whole new level of excitement for me and the other finalists. I am really looking forward to watching the “Road to the Bake-Off Contest” segments on the Hallmark Channel and possibly seeing my personal “Bake-Off Contest” story on national TV.”
Partin said he has been working hard to make sure his recipe is up-to-par with the other top contestants.
“To prepare for the competition I have been making my recipe more and more,” Partin said “I have taken several pies to work and they usually disappear within a couple of hours. I am also a member of a Facebook group just for Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest finalists. It’s really cool because some if its members have been in the Bake-Off Contest before and they are very gracious about sharing information with me and the other first-timers that may be helpful to us at the competition in March.”
Below is how to make Partin’s award winning recipe:
Hazelnut-French Silk Turtle Pie
Prep Time: 20 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr 50 Min
Makes: 8 servings
1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup hazelnut spread with cocoa (from 13-oz jar)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup Hershey’s® Caramel Syrup
2 oz Hershey’s® semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® Chopped Hazelnuts (filberts)
1 Heat oven to 450°F. Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool completely. 2 Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, hazelnut spread and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Carefully fold in whipped topping and graham cracker crumbs until blended. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the caramel syrup; set aside. Pour remaining caramel syrup into cooled pie crust; spread evenly. Spoon and spread cream cheese mixture over caramel layer. 3 Freeze 1 hour or until firm. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. 4 Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until smooth. Drizzle melted chocolate and reserved caramel syrup over top of pie; sprinkle with hazelnuts. Store covered in refrigerator.