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September 02, 2010   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
September 02, 2010

Winners in the 2010 Heritage Cooking Contest are, from left, first place, Carol Simpson of St. Clair County; second place, Shannon Murray of Franklin County; and third place, Toni Flowers of Montgomery County.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Carol Simpson said she felt a little out-classed when she walked into the Alabama Farmers Federation's Annual Heritage Cooking Contest in Montgomery earlier today. The St. Clair County cook was carrying an Autumn Harvest Pie, her entry in the state cooking contest, in a grocery bag.

"I didn't see mine as being in the same class as those," she said looking around the room filled with fresh-baked pies. "I just really didn't think it would win."

But it did, and her family's favorite pie not only earned high praise from the judges, it also won her a blue ribbon and $150.

Other winners in the contest were Shannon Murray from Franklin County who won second place with her mouth-watering Key Lime Mousse Pie and Toni Flowers of Montgomery County who won third with her delicious Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie. Second- and third-place winners received cash awards of $100 and $50, respectively.

Participants in the statewide competition, sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation Women's Leadership Division, had earlier won their county Federation's annual cooking contest. The state competition was held at the corporate offices of Alfa Insurance and drew winners from 35 counties.

Simpson said her award-winning pie actually began life as a cake recipe given to her by her niece, Sarah Crocker.

"I've used it (as a cake recipe) for my family and they liked it," she said. "I wondered how it would be as a pie, so I changed a few things and it was even better as a pie!"

Besides its taste, the pie also is simple to make and takes only 45 minutes from start to finish, she said. It also keeps well and can be made a day or two ahead of time, she added.

When asked what made her pie a winner, Simpson paused a minute and said, "Well, it must have been the taste -- and the Lord's blessings."

During the judging, contestants learned about the Buy Alabama's Best Program from Montgomery businesswoman Virginia Whitfield of Whitfield Foods, Inc. The program encourages shoppers to look for and purchase food products from Alabama.

The Heritage Cooking Contest strives to showcase the flavor, versatility and nutritional value of Alabama agricultural products. Dishes were judged on taste, appearance and ease of preparation. The winning recipes are listed below and a full list of all the state entries are available online at www.AlfaFarmers.org.

First Place
Autumn Harvest Pie
Carol Simpson, St. Clair County

1 box yellow butter cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix and press into 2, 8-inch pie dishes.

1 (8-ounce) bar of cream cheese
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted or softened
3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon nutmeg

Mix all filling ingredients and pour into the prepared crusts, divided. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until just firm in the middle. Cool and serve with sweetened whipped cream. NOTE: I do not use anything but real whipping cream.

Second Place
Key Lime Mousse Pie
Shannon Murray, Franklin County

Crust: 2 cups crushed graham crackers ¼ cup sugar ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 10-inch spring form pan. Set aside.

6 tablespoons fresh key lime juice
1 (11/4-ounce) package unflavored gelatin
2 ½ cups heavy cream, divided
1 (10-ounce) package white chocolate, chopped
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons lime zest

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the lime juice. Whisk in the gelatin and ½ cup of the heavy cream and simmer. Remove the pan from the heat. Add white chocolate and stir until smooth. Allow to cool.

Using an electric mixer, blend together the cream cheese, sugar and lime zest in a medium bowl until smooth. Slowly beat in the cooled white chocolate mixture into cream cheese mixture. Using clean, dry beaters, beat the remaining 2 cups heavy cream in a small bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold it into the white chocolate mixture and pour into the pie crust. Cover and freeze overnight.

Remove from freezer and run a sharp knife around inside of spring form pan to help loosen the pie. Release spring form ring on the bottom of the pan and transfer pie to a serving plate.

Garnish: 1 ½ ounces white chocolate 6-8 lime slices

Garnish with white chocolate (grated or shaved into curls) and lime slices. Serves 16.

Third Place
Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie
Toni Flowers, Montgomery County

2 pie crusts
3 whole chicken breasts
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 stick of butter
8 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken stock

Prepare two pie crusts and chill or use Pillsbury's Pie crust. Boil chicken in salted water until tender, then cut chicken into large pieces. Cover bottom of 9-inch pie dish with 1 crust, then with chicken and top with egg slices. To make sauce: melt butter and stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add stock and cook until thickened. Pour over pie, then top with 2nd rolled out pie crust and cut vents in top. Dot pie with butter and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 4-6.

2010 Heritage Cooking Contest State Entries

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