America's Best Pies 2014-2015: Nearly 200 Recipes You'll Love (2014)

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NUT

Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Cappuccino Macadamia Crunch Pie

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

Caramel Nut Pie

Pecan Pie

Extreme Pecan Pie

Macadamia Madness Pie

Pecan Toffee Supreme

Perfect Pecan Pie

Vermont Maple Pecan Pie

Fruits of the Forest Pie

Award Winner’s Chocolate Pecan Pie

Caramelized Pecan Chess Pie

Date Night Cashew Coconut Pie

Sweet Southern Pecan Pie

Salted Caramel Nut Pie

Pie Queen’s Heath Toffee Pecan Pie

CARAMEL CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Lisa Sparks, Atlanta, IN
2010 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Professional Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

1 cup butter-flavored Crisco

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

½ cup cold water

FILLING

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1⅓ cups light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons butter

3 eggs

1 cup pecan pieces

2 squares semisweet chocolate

Caramel syrup

GARNISH

Pecan halves

For the Crust: Combine Crisco, flour, and sugar until crumbly. Add cold water and mix lightly. Don’t over mix. Cover and refrigerate. Roll out and turn into a 9-inch pie dish. Use extra dough to make decorative shapes for top of pie.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add corn syrup and mix. Add vanilla and butter and mix. Add eggs and mix. Add pecans and mix. Melt semisweet chocolate. Cover bottom of pie shell with melted chocolate followed by a layer of caramel syrup. Pour pecan mixture into shell and bake for 15 minutes. Cover and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until center is almost set.

Garnish as desired with pecan halves.

Caramel Chocolate Pecan

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CAPUCCINO MACADAMIA CRUNCH PIE

Nikki Norman, Milton, TN
2004 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 3rd Place Nut

CRUST

1 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

3 tablespoons Crisco shortening

½ cup sour cream

FILLING

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs, slightly beaten

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup very strong black coffee

1½ cups macadamia nut pieces

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

For the Crust: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, butter, and shortening; cutting until pieces are small—about the size of small peas—with 2 knives or pastry blender. Freeze 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and stir in sour cream. Shape dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Place in a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. Lightly cover edges with aluminum foil if browning too quickly and bake an additional 5 minutes.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add eggs, beating well. Add salt, cream, vanilla, and coffee and mix well. Stir in 1 cup macadamia pieces (reserving ½ cup for next step). Pour into prebaked pie shell. Protect edges with aluminum foil to keep from overbrowning. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and cover with reserved ½ cup macadamia pieces. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

CHOCOLATE CHIP PECAN PIE

Sarah Spaugh, Winston Salem, NC
2005 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup Crisco shortening

5 tablespoons cold water

FILLING

4 eggs

½ cup light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoon vanilla, divided

¼ teaspoon salt

1¼ cups chopped pecans

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

TOPPING

1½ cups pecan halves

1 cup Heath Toffee bits

8 tablespoons water

For the Crust: Spoon flour into measuring cup and level. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in Crisco until all flour is blended to form pea-size chunks. Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Toss lightly with fork until dough will form a ball. Roll dough into a circle. Trim 1 inch larger than upside down pie plate. Place crust into 9-inch pie plate.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat eggs in large bowl at low speed until blended. Stir in sugars, corn syrup, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and salt with spoon until blended. Stir in nuts, chocolate chips, and remaining vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie crust.

For the Topping: Toast pecans for 6 to 8 minutes in 350°F oven. Melt toffee bits in water and barely bring to boil. Stir until mixture becomes a glaze. Remove from heat and dip pecans.

Bake pie for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and add topping. Return to oven and bake 10 to 20 minutes more or until topping is bubbly. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

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CARAMEL NUT PIE

Christine Montalvo, Windsor Heights, IA
2007 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 2nd Place Nut

CRUST

1½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons ice water

FILLING

1¼ cups sugar

¼ cup water

⅔ cup whipping cream

¼ stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

½ cup slivered blanched almonds

GARNISH

1 ounce white chocolate, chopped

Whipped cream (optional)

For the Crust: Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in processor. Add butter. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in vanilla and enough ice water, one tablespoon at a time, to form moist clumps. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Roll dough out flat on floured surface and place dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim and flute pie edges. Pierce dough all over with fork. Freeze 15 minutes.

Bake crust about 20 minutes until set but still pale in color, piercing with fork if crust bubbles. Transfer to rack; cool.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat. Boil without stirring until caramel is a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 9 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Gradually whisk in cream (mixture will bubble). Stir until caramel is smooth. Add butter, honey, and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Mix in all nuts.

Pour caramel mixture into crust. Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or until filling bubbles all over. Cool completely on rack.

For the Garnish: Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over hot water just until melted and smooth. Drizzle chocolate over pie. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

PECAN PIE

Grace Thatcher, Delta, OH
2010 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 3rd Place Nut

CRUST

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons shortening

3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

FILLING

4 extra-large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sugar

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter, melted

1⅓ cups chopped pecans

TOPPING

⅓ cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons butter

1⅓ cups pecan halves

For the Crust: Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add all of the shortening. Cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture develops a coarse texture. Sprinkle the water over the mixture a spoonful at a time and toss until the dough begins to come together. Gather the dough into a ball and press together with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before using. Prepare pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan and prebake for 10 to 15 minutes.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 425°F. Beat eggs with a fork until well blended. Stir in sugar and brown sugar. Make sure there are no lumps. Stir in salt, butter, and pecan pieces. Pour mixture into prebaked pie shell, cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F, remove foil, and bake for 30 more minutes.

For the Topping: Combine brown sugar, butter, and honey in a saucepan. Cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add pecan halves and stir until well coated. After pie has finished baking for 30 minutes, remove foil, spoon topping over pie, and continue baking 15 more minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.

EXTREME PECAN PIE

Emily Lewis, Eustis, FL
2005 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 2nd Place Nut

CRUST

1 cup Crisco shortening, cut up

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons ice water

1½ teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup dark brown sugar (packed)

1 cup light corn syrup

2 eggs

3 tablespoons browned butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups toasted pecans, chopped

30 whole pecans for top of pie

GLAZE

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon water

For the Crust: Put flour and salt into work bowl of processor. Pulse. Add Crisco and pulse 6 times. Add butter and pulse 6 times. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. Pour out of bowl onto plastic wrap. Divide into 2 parts. Create two disks and flatten. Refrigerate. At this point, save one disk for another use. It can be stored in a freezer bag in the freezer for weeks. After about 30 minutes in the refrigerator, remove your disk. Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the counter. Flour it. Cover your disk with another piece of wrap or parchment. Roll out from center, until disk is about 11 inches in diameter. Remove top wrap, flour the surface lightly, and drape crust over rolling pin. Center over pie plate and press crust into pie plate. Smooth into pan. Remove wrap. Trim crust edge to about ½ inch around outside of pan. Fold edge under and flute using thumb and forefingers to make a stand up edge. Refrigerate until ready to prebake. Preheat oven to 350°F. Layer 2 pieces of aluminum foil into chilled crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake another 5 minutes. Add filling as below and continue with baking.

For the Filling: Remove partially prebaked crust from oven. Toast pecans on a cookie sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, then place in a bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in sugars, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Brown butter in a pan and pour over toasted chopped pecans. Stir together. Put chopped nuts into pie crust. Pour filling over nuts, being careful not to disturb the nuts too much. Take groups of 5 pecan halves and arrange in 6 five-pointed stars on top of pie. When pie is cut, each piece will have a complete star.

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Extreme Pecan Pie

For the Glaze: Dissolve the sugar in the water. Brush over top of pecan halves. To keep crust edge from darkening too much, cover with foil. Bake 50 to 60 minutes at 350°F, watching for signs of bubbling. When center begins to bubble or when a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean, remove pie from oven. Cool.

MACADAMIA MADNESS PIE

Evette Rahman, Orlando, FL
2008 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 2nd Place Nut

CRUST

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

½ tablespoon vinegar

½ tablespoon oil

1 egg plus 1 teaspoon water for egg wash

FILLING

⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated white sugar

3 large eggs, slightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup light corn syrup

1½ cups chopped macadamia nuts

GARNISH

1½ tablespoons melted white chocolate

1½ tablespoons melted semisweet chocolate

For the Crust: Mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together. Cut in shortening and butter. Stir together oil, vinegar, and cream. Add to flour mixture. Wrap dough in plastic. Refrigerate one hour. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and place in deep dish pie plate. Crimp edges as desired. Brush on egg wash.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs slowly, mixing until well combined. Beat in vanilla and salt. Mix in syrup and nuts. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F, then reduce oven to 350°F. Bake for 30 minutes or until pie is almost completely set. Cool completely.

Garnish by drizzling melted chocolates on top of pie.

Macadamia Madness Pie

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PECAN TOFFEE SUPREME

Alberta Dunbar, San Diego, CA
2010 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

1⅓ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ stick Crisco all vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons cold water

FILLING

12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

1½ teaspoon pecan extract

12-ounce package white chocolate chips, melted and cooled

¾ cup ground toasted pecans

¾ cup toffee baking bits

¾ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

TOPPING

1½ cups heavy whipping cream

⅓ cup sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pecan extract

Large rosette tip

Pastry bag

¼ cup ground toasted pecans

¼ cup toffee baking bits

Toasted pecan tips dipped in chocolate (optional)

For the Crust: Preheat oven to 450°F. Spoon flour into measuring cup and level. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender or 2 knives until flour is blended and forms pea-size chunks. Sprinkle mixture with 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Toss lightly with a fork until dough forms a ball. Shape into a flat round disk. Roll on lightly floured board to fit into deep-dish 9-inch pie plate. Turn into pie plate and crimp edges of pie. Pierce bottom and sides of pie crust with a fork. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Cool on rack and set aside. Make filling while crust is cooling.

For the Filling: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and ¼ cup heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer on high until smooth. Beat in white chocolate and pecan extract. With a wooden spoon, fold in pecans and toffee bits. Gently fold in ¾ cup whipped cream. Turn into pie crust and smooth top of pie. Chill pie until set, about 45 minutes to an hour.

For the Topping: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream, sugar, and pecan extract and beat with an electric mixer until stiff. Reserve one third of mixture for piping border around edge of pie. Spread remaining mixture over top of pie. Pipe a border around pie with large rosettes on outer edge. Combine nuts and toffee bits in a small bowl. Sprinkle them evenly over center of pie. Chill until ready to serve.

Optional: Dip whole pecan halves in melted chocolate. Place on waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator to set up. When set, place pecans on rosettes.

PERFECT PECAN PIE

Deborah Gray, Winter Haven, FL
2007 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 3rd Place Nut

CRUST

1¼ cups all-purpose unbleached flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon sugar

½ cup frozen Crisco, cut up

4 tablespoons ice water

FILLING

2 cups Karo light corn syrup

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter

3 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1½ cups pecans

For the Crust: In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in Crisco. Add water until dough forms a soft ball. Roll out on floured surface. Spray 9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Flute edges as desired.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar, and butter. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl. Slowly pour syrup mixture into eggs, whisking constantly. Place pecans in pie crust. Pour mixture over pecans. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Perfect Pecan Pie

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VERMONT MAPLE PECAN PIE

Christine Montalvo, Windsor Heights, IA
2009 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 3rd Place Nut

CRUST

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cake flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter-flavored Crisco, cut into small pieces

⅓ cup ice water

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

FILLING

¾ cup dark corn syrup

¾ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon maple extract

½ cup sugar

3 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 cups pecan halves

½ teaspoon salt

For the Crust: Place flours and salt into food processor. Pulse to blend. Add Crisco pieces and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Place flour mixture into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix water, egg, and vinegar until blended. Using a fork, gently toss flour while sprinkling with water/vinegar mixture. Add enough water until dough just comes together. Divide into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or overnight. Roll out 1 disk into a 12-inch circle and place into a 9-inch pie plate. Flute edges.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together corn syrup, maple syrup, extract, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the melted butter. Add pecans and salt. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely.

Vermont Maple Pecan Pie

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FRUITS OF THE FOREST PIE

Emily Lewis, Eustis, FL
2003 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

⅓ cup Crisco shortening

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons ice water

1 cup all-purpose flour

FILLING

4 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup light corn syrup

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups lightly toasted nuts (recommended: ½ cup pecan halves, ⅓ cup coarsely chopped macadamias, ⅓ cup slivered almonds, ½ cup cashew halves, split, ⅓ cup chopped hazelnuts)

For the Crust: In a narrow bowl, combine flour and salt. Using two knives scissor style, cut butter and shortening into flour until only small peasize bites of shortening remain. Sprinkle water over flour mixture as you toss with a fork. Don’t over mix. Turn only about 8 to 10 times. Pour out of bowl onto plastic wrap. Create a 5-inch disk and flatten. Refrigerate. After about 15 minutes in the refrigerator, remove disk. Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the counter. Flour it. Cover your disk with another piece of wrap or parchment. Roll out from the center until disk is about 11 inches in diameter. Remove top wrap and flour the surface slightly. Drape crust over rolling pin. Center crust over pie pan, place hand under wrap and flip the crust into pan. Remove wrap. Trim edge to about ½ inch around outside of pan. Fold edge under and flute using thumb and forefingers to make a stand-up edge. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coarsely chop macadamias and almonds. Put all nuts (separate large nuts from chopped) on cookie sheet and toast 5 to 6 minutes. Cool. Put hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and rub together to remove skins. Chop hazelnuts. Combine filling ingredients. Mix well. Sprinkle chopped nuts on bottom of crust. Arrange pecan halves, slivered almonds, and cashews in attractive pattern on bottom of unfilled crust. Pour filling into crust, deflecting on back of spoon so as not to disturb nuts. Larger nuts will rise up to top. Cover edge of crust with foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Test with a stainless steel knife in center. When knife comes out clean, pie is done. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve after cooling or wrap in heavy foil and refrigerate until next day to serve.

AWARD WINNER’S CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Emily Lewis, Mt. Dora, FL
2002 American Pie Council National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

⅔ cup Crisco shortening

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons ice water

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups pecans, toasted, chop 1 cup

½ cup chocolate chips

For the Crust: In a tall, narrow bowl, combine flour and salt. Using two knives scissors-style, cut butter and shortening into flour until only small pea-size bits of shortening remain. Sprinkle water over flour mixture as you toss with a fork. Don’t over mix. Turn only about 8 to 10 times. Add more water if dry crumbs remain. Pour out of bowl onto plastic wrap. Divide into two parts. Create two 5-inch disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate. At this point, freeze one disk for another use in a freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for weeks. After about 15 minutes in the refrigerator, remove the disk you are using. Place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on the counter. Flour it and place dough on surface. Cover your disk with another piece of wrap or parchment. Roll out from the center until disk is about 11 inches in diameter. Remove top wrap, flour the surface lightly, and drape crust over rolling pin. Center crust over pie pan, place hand under wrap, and flip the crust into pan. Remove wrap. Trim edge to about ½-inch around outside of pan. Fold edge under and flute using thumb and forefingers to make a stand-up edge. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans on cookie sheet about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in sugar, corn syrup, melted chocolate, butter, vanilla, and salt. Into prepared crust, layer chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped pecans. Then carefully arrange second cup of pecans on top of chopped pecans. Slowly pour egg mixture over pecans, deflecting with a spoon to prevent moving pecans. If using an 8¾-inch disposable pan, place on sturdy cookie sheet to assure even baking and easier handling. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F. Remove from oven and cover edge with foil. Return to oven. Bake for another 40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

CARAMELIZED PECAN CHESS PIE

Sarah Spaugh, Winston Salem, NC
2002 American Pie Council National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 2nd Place Nut

CRUST

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter flavored shortening

¼ cup plain shortening

6 to 7 tablespoons cold milk

CARAMELIZED TOASTED PECANS

1½ cups pecan halves

⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

FILLING

2 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons white cornmeal

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, melted

¼ cup whole milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Caramelized toasted pecans (recipe above)

For the Crust: Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender to form pea-size chunks. Sprinkle with ice cold milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Toss lightly with fork until dough forms a ball. Roll out on waxed paper. Place in pie plate and flute edges.

For the Caramelized Toasted Pecans: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pecans on cookie sheet or other baking pan and toast 5 minutes, stirring often. Combine brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring often or until sugar dissolves. Add toasted nuts and stir until coated. Place on buttered foil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until sugar starts to bubble. Cool. Chop fine. (Remember to include half of nuts for chess pie filling and half for topping.)

For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt, butter, milk, vinegar, and vanilla. With an electric mixer, whip mixture on high speed until light-colored and creamy, scraping down sides occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and stir just until combined well. Add half of caramelized toasted pecans (about ½ cup). Pour mixture into pie crust. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, shielding edges of crust with aluminum foil after 10 minutes. (If rest of top starts to get too brown, cover entire top with foil.) Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining caramelized toasted pecans. Cool completely on a wire rack.

DATE NIGHT CASHEW COCONUT PIE

Beth Campbell, Belleville, WI
2013 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

1½ cups crushed graham crackers

¼ cup sugar

⅓ cup butter, melted

FILLING

14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (caramelized)

⅔ cup chopped dates

1 cup coarsely chopped cashews

1 teaspoon maple flavoring

¾ cup whipping cream, whipped

½ cup coconut

For the Crust: In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar; add butter, and blend well. Press into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 375°F for 7 minutes. Cool completely.

For the Filling: Caramelize the sweetened condensed milk.* Stir in dates, cashews, coconut, and maple flavoring and chill thoroughly. Fold in the whipping cream. Pour into graham cracker crust. Chill at least 3 hours or until set.

Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

*Directions for Caramelizing the Condensed Milk: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Pour the condensed milk into an 8- or 9-inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil; place in shallow pan. Fill pan with hot water. Bake 1 to 1½ hours or until thick and light caramel color. Remove foil; cool. Chill completely.

An alternative method for caramelizing condensed milk, is to pour condensed milk into a double broiler; cover. Place over boiling water. Over low heat, simmer 1 to 1½ hours or until thick and light caramel color. Beat until smooth. Cool. Chill thoroughly.

Date Night Cashew Coconut Pie

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SWEET SOUTHERN PECAN PIE

Savannah Kreinhagen, Palm Bay, FL
2012 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

1¼ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

4 tablespoons water

FILLING

½ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar

¾ cup light corn syrup

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1¼ cups crushed pecans

1 cup whole pecans (for top)

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup semisweet white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons molasses

GARNISH

Whipped cream

For the Crust: Mix flour, sugar, and salt together. Cut in softened butter, mixing until texture is crumbly. Add in water, continuing to mix. Roll dough into a ball on a floured surface. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll crust out on a floured surface and drape in pie pan loosely.

For the Filling: Mix the butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla extract, and molasses together until frothy. Mix in the crushed pecans and chocolate chips. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. You may have more filling than you need. Spread one cup of whole pecans over the top of the pie. Bake pie at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes, or until set. Cool completely at room temperature. Serve with whip cream.

Sweet Southern Pecan Pie

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SALTED CARAMEL NUT PIE

Matt Zagorski, Arlington Heights, IL
2012 American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Professional Division Honorable Mention Nut

CRUST

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup Planters peanut butter, finely chopped in a food processor

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE

1 cup powdered sugar

8 ounces cream cheese

¾ cup peanut butter, preferably Planters

1 cup Cool Whip

OTHER LAYERS

8 ounces Smucker’s Hot Caramel Topping, divided

6 ounces Planter’s Smooth Peanut Butter, divided

1½ cups crushed Planter’s peanuts

GARNISH

2 cups whipping cream

5 tablespoons sugar

For the Crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients until they look like a paste, approximately 1 minute. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of a deep dish pie pan with your hands. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the crust is no longer wet and the edges and center are lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.

For the Peanut Butter Mousse: Place the first 3 ingredients in a stand mixer and combine. Fold in the Cool Whip. Set aside until crust is cooled. In the cooled peanut crust, place ½ of the Peanut Butter mousse.

For the Other Layers: On top of the mousse, pour 4 ounces of caramel. Place the pie into the refrigerator for a few minutes so that the caramel has a chance to harden. Once the caramel has hardened, pour 3 ounces of peanut butter over the caramel and top with half of the crushed peanuts. Place the pie back into the refrigerator to harden. Once the pie has firmed up, repeat all of the layers.

For the Garnish: In a stand mixer, whip the whipping cream and sugar to stiff peaks. Garnish the top of pie with the whipped cream.

Salted Caramel Nut Pie

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PIE QUEEN’S HEATH TOFFEE PECAN PIE

Jaynie Buckingham, Austin, TX
American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships
Professional Division 1st Place Nut

CRUST

1¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon sugar

½ cup ice cold butter-flavored Crisco shortening

¼ cup ice cold water

FILLING

3 eggs

½ cup brown sugar

1 stick butter

3 tablespoons Karo syrup (light)

½ bag Health Toffee bits

1½ cup pecans

For the Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour and sugar together. Cut up shortening and mix with flour until it forms. Place ice water in freezer just until it begins to freeze and chips, then mix into flour and form a ball. Cover and flatten into a disk. Let chill an hour before rolling out. Makes one 9-inch pie.

For the Filling: Mix all ingredients together except for the butter. Melt butter and add to mixture. Pour into 9-inch pie pan and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until set and golden.

Pie Queen’s Heath Toffee Pecan Pie