At the 16th annual American Pie Council (APC)/ Crisco 2010 National Pie Championships, the Best in Show professional division winner was Andrea Spring, owner of Sign of the Mermaid Restaurant, Brandenton, Fla., with her Chocolate Walnut Raisin Pie (recipe, below).

Andrea Spring poses with the California Raisin after winning Best in Show at the National Pie Championships

The APC/Crisco National Pie Championships were held April 23 to 25 at the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate in conjunction with the APC Great American Pie Festival. This year's professional competition consisted of 170 pies entered in nine categories: apple, Crisco classic cherry, Crisco classic chocolate, citrus, cream, fruit and berry, nut, open and raisin. First place winners were chosen in each of the nine categories with Best of Show selected from among the first place winners. As the professional Best in Show winner, Spring received $5,000, a new Sears Kenmore range and a Crisco gift basket. A complete list of winners is available at

Chocolate Raisin Walnut Pie
Andrea Spring, owner, Sign of the Mermaid Restaurant, Brandenton, Fla.,
wine pairing by Marlene Rossman

1 1/2 c. Crisco shortening
1 t. white vinegar
2 T. milk
1/2 c. hot water
4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. salt
1 T. cornstarch
3 eggs
2/3 c. granulated white sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. melted butter
1 c. dark corn syrup
3/4 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. dark raisins
3/4 c. chopped walnuts

Method (1) Combine shortening, vinegar and milk. Pour in hot water. Mix well. In separate bowl, mix together flour, salt and cornstarch. Combine flour mixture with shortening mixture until dough forms. Separate into four equal balls. Wrap in film wrap and refrigerate 1 portion and freeze remainder for future use. Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out. (2) Mix eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, cinnamon, butter and corn syrup until well blended. Add chocolate chips and walnuts, mix well. Set aside. (3) Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out one portion of pie dough. Place in 10 " pie pan. Sprinkle raisins over bottom of pie shell. Carefully pour filling over raisins. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F. Lower temperature to 350°F for 30 minutes or until center of pie is just set.

Wine pairing:
Santa Julia Torrontes “Tardio” (dessert wine) 2007 (Argentina)