National Pie Day and Laura’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Apple Pie Recipe

Throwing a pie baking – and pie tasting – party for friends or coworkers, or to raise money for a favorite charity, are all delicious ways to celebrate National Pie Day on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Why is National Pie Day celebrated on Jan. 23 or 1/23? Because celebrating the wholesome goodness of pie is as easy as 1-2-3!

Bakers of all skill levels are invited to enter the 18th Annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships® to be held April 27-29, 2012 in Orlando. Entry forms will be posted soon at Those who prefer to appreciate the nuances of pie without all the work won’t want to miss the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco®, featuring the Never Ending Pie Buffet, held April 28-29, 2012 in nearby Celebration, Fla.

Here is a winning recipe from last year, courtesy of The American Pie Council.

Laura’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Apple Pie
Linda Hundt, DeWitt, Mich.
Crisco® Innovation Best of Show
2011 American Pie Council Crisco® National Pie Championships

Pie Crust
1 ½ cups of flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup cold butter cut in small pieces
½ cup of refrigerated Crisco® shortening

Mix all above ingredients in Kitchenaid style mixer on medium speed swiftly until crust appears “pea-like.” Carefully sprinkle water in crust mix until it starts to become moistened and gathers together. Pat into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for at least one half hour. Roll out on to floured surface and make and crimp crust. Freeze until ready to use.

Apple Filling
Five medium to large Michigan Cortland, Ida Red Apples, peeled, thinly sliced, diced
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Cook above ingredients in large pan on medium heat until cooked halfway. Stir in 3/4 cup homemade caramel until melted.

Homemade caramel – recipe below
Praline pecans – recipe below

Sticky Toffee Pudding Filling
½ cup praline pecans
1 stick of butter softened
½ cup brown sugar
2 T heavy cream
1 T lemon juice
1 egg – beaten
½ cup self-rising flour
Mix above ingredients just until blended.

Crumb topping
¾ cup of flour
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter softened

Mix all together all crumb topping ingredients by hand or a pastry blender until fine and crumbly.

Spread sticky toffee pudding mixture on bottom of crust. Put apple mixture over pudding mixture. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for one hour or until knife easily slides into center of pie with no resistance. If pie becomes too brown before done, turn down oven to 350 degrees to finish baking and cover with foil completely.

Top with a generous amount of homemade caramel and praline pecans.

Homemade Caramel
1- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ stick butter
1 Tablespoon real vanilla extract

In heavy 3 quart saucepan, combine all ingredients, but vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, covering all parts of bottom of pan with wire whisk to avoid scorching. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, constantly stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring until caramel reaches 244F on a candy thermometer or firm-ball stage. Pour in glass container. Cool to use.

Praline Pecans
1 cup of chopped pecans
2 T butter
2 T brown sugar
Melt butter in small pan on medium –low heat until melted. Add pecans and sugar and stir ingredients until you start smelling the nuts roasting. Take off heat and cool. Crumble.


The American Pie Council® (APC), the only organization committed to maintaining America’s pie heritage, offers pie lovers plenty of reasons and ways to celebrate. The APC offers recipes on its website and many APC members offer activities, specials and more in celebration of the special day. The APC is comprised of amateur, professional and commercial pie manufacturer members. Any amateur pie maker or pie lover can join for just $40 for a lifetime membership.

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce Recipe

Bread pudding was once considered a poor man’s dessert. It is made from scraps of stale bread soaked in a custard of milk and eggs and baked until a thick pudding-like consistency is accomplished. The first bread puddings were soaked in water and spices to sweeten it. Today’s bread puddings have come a long way. The thick, rich custards of today’s variety replace the bland water of the original bread puddings. Raisins are often added along with other dried fruits to create an extra special dessert. With all of the improvements made to the original dessert, bread pudding is often considered a culinary treat that many upscale restaurants serve as a specialty dessert.

This bread pudding is so easy and delicious, you will surely add it to your arsenal of favorite dessert recipes. It makes quite a bit so it is a great dessert to serve at a large dinner party. Make sure the bread is a few days stale and thoroughly soaked before baking. If the bread is too fresh, it will be more like mush instead of cake-like. Pour the rum sauce on top while it is still hot so it can soak into the bread pudding and be even more decadent! Enjoy!


Bread Pudding:
4 c scalded milk
8 thick slices of stale French bread, diced into cubes
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Rum Sauce:
2 egg yolks
1/2 stick of butter
1/3 c dark rum
1 c powdered sugar


1. Soak bread in scalded milk for several minutes. Reserve milk in separate bowl and transfer bread to a greased pan.

2. Add the butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla to the reserved hot milk and mix until well combined.

3. Slowly pour mixture over bread and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

For the rum sauce:

1. In a saucepan, add butter, powdered sugar and rum.

2. Stir until melted and slowly add egg yolks.

3. Cook until thick and pour over cooked bread pudding.

Cinnamon Dessert Bread Recipe

Breads are not typically associated with desserts, however many “cakes” of the past were actually sweetened breads served as an after dinner sweet treat. The varieties are endless. Traditional dessert breads contain nuts, spices or fruits and are prepared for special occasions or during the holidays. Fruit cake is a good example of a traditional dessert bread. Dessert breads are a great alternative to a cake or pie because they can be topped with ice cream, homemade fruit spreads or served warm with fresh, creamy butter. They are also great served with coffee so you can eat your dessert for breakfast!

This cinnamon bread is incredibly cinnamon-y. It is a great addition to your holiday spread or would make a tasty coffee cake served at brunch. It is considered a quick bread recipe because there is no kneading of dough or proofing of yeast required. In other words, it is quick and easy but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. Serve it warm with apple butter and coffee. Enjoy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp butter


1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.

2. Pour into a greased loaf pan.

3. In a separate bowl, combine 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and butter until it appears crumbly.

4. Put the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the bread batter and swirl in with a butter knife.

5. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Cheesecake is one of the richest, most decadent and dense desserts around. Because of its fickle nature during baking and the setting up process, it is often considered one of the most difficult to master. Many recipes call for a water bath or slow baking at a low temperature to prevent over cooking. While delicious and extraordinary, cheesecake is often avoided by the home cook because of its delicate nature and no one wants to fail when dessert is at stake! The key to a perfect cheesecake is not to over beat the filling and to allow the cake to slowly cook at a low temperature. Also, it is important to allow the cheesecake to cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator.

This pumpkin cheesecake recipe is not only delicious, it is fool proof. It yields a perfectly creamy, dense and rich treat: everything a cheesecake should be. And with the added pumpkin, this dessert is a great alternative to the classic pumpkin pie. Serve this at your next holiday get together and wow your guests with your culinary expertise!


For crust:
8 graham crackers, crushed
5 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

For filling:
24 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
5 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the crushed graham crackers, melted butter and sugar. Press the crumb mixture in the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

2. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

3. Reduce oven to 300° F.

4. Combine all of the filling ingredients with an electric mixture.

5. Pour the filling into the springform pan and place in the center of the oven.

6. Bake for 1 hour. After the hour of baking, turn the off and leave cheesecake in the oven for another hour. Allow to cool completely then refrigerate overnight.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie

Typically when a recipe calls for buttermilk, biscuits or pancakes come to mind. But this old fashioned ingredient yields more than just breakfast treats. Buttermilk is a wonderful addition to desserts because of its thick consistency and unique flavor. While its name is deceiving, buttermilk does not contain butter. It is made of the remaining milk after butter has been churned, then left to ferment to create that great tangy flavor. Buttermilk is a lovely addition to desserts because it makes cakes and pies moist, rich and creamy.

This old fashioned buttermilk pie has lemon zest added to give it a brighter taste than its counterparts. Lemon is the perfect combination to the creamy buttermilk creating a rich, surprising flavor unlike tradition buttermilk pies that call for vanilla and are much sweeter. Serve this old fashioned treat at your next dinner party or family get together and wow your guests at the simplicity and richness of such a subdued ingredient. Pair a slice with some vanilla bean ice cream or fresh whipped cream and enjoy!

1 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 unbaked pie crust


1. Combine lemon zest, sugar and flour in large bowl.

2. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.

3. Stir in the melted butter and buttermilk. Mix well.

4. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until set in the center.

5. Cool and serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.

Easy Apple Pie Recipe

There are fewer desserts that conjure up patriotism like the all American apple pie. But before you start singing the National Anthem, apple pie is not as American as you might think. The first apple pies were made in 14th century England. While the basic ingredients were almost the same as the modern day dessert, there were some pretty significant differences. The pastries for the original pies were inedible and used as a container to hold the filling inside. Also, sugar was omitted from the ingredient list as it was very expensive and not readily available so many spices like cinnamon and saffron were used to create a sweet flavor. Apple pie was first documented on U.S. soil after the pilgrims brought apples to the continent and it continues to be a favorite dessert for holidays and patriotic celebrations.

For a dessert that has had so many transformations, apple pie is a classic dish perfected by grandmothers and culinary experts alike. Today’s apple pie is sweet and flaky and rich. The ingredient list can be short or extensive with a lattice crust or closed top. This recipe is very simple and resembles the original pie with very basic ingredients combined to meld simple flavors into a big taste. Serve warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream.


6 – 7 small apples
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
prepared double pie crust


1. Peel, cored and thinly slice apples.

2. In pie dish, lay bottom layer of prepared pie crust down.

3. Mix sugar and cinnamon in bowl, set aside.

4. Layer apples in pie dish. Sprinkle each layer with cinnamon sugar mixture.

5. Top final layer with small pieces of butter. Cover pie with the second crust.

6. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 35 more minutes or until the pie is golden and bubbly.


Pralines Recipe

If there is a dessert that screams Southern cuisine it has to be pralines. The buttery, melt-in-your-mouth candies have been perfected in Southern states like Louisiana and Georgia, but the treat hasn’t always been a Southern delicacy. Pralines first originated in France during the 17th century. The first pralines were made with almonds instead of pecans and were made for French dignitaries. Throughout the years, they were often given as Christmas gifts and were enjoyed on special occasions. These days, you can enjoy them year round in cities like Savannah and New Orleans where many bakeries and candy shops specialize in making the sweets.

Anytime you make your own candy, you need to allow room for error. There is a feel to candy making that only comes with practice. With that said, do not be discouraged! Pralines are simple to make and one of the foolproof candies. Make sure to watch your candy thermometer and do not cook past the soft ball stage and your pralines will be good enough for those New Orleans candy shops. Or even a French dignitary!

1 cup whole pecans
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter
3/4 brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla


1. Line a baking sheet with buttered foil. Prepare an ice bath in the sink.

2. Combine the first six ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat.

3. Heat to a boil. With a candy thermometer, heat to 234° F (approximately 3 minutes from boiling point).

4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

5. Place saucepan in ice bath and stir mixture until the color lightens and the texture thickens.

6. Drop by spoonfuls onto foiled baking sheet. Cool.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Cupcakes are one of the trendiest desserts around. From simple vanilla to more extravagant flavors like lemon and red velvet, cupcakes are always a fun and delicious treat. The pint sized dessert has only been around for about 200 years but they have always been popular. Once called 1-2-3-4 cakes for the simplicity of ingredients, this dessert was revolutionary for its portability and easiness to prepare. The original cupcake recipe was very similar to a butter cake, only baked in small tin cups, hence the name cupcake.

This recipe is much like the original cupcake recipe of the 19th century. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it is yummy. Homemade cupcakes have a certain something special about them. Maybe it’s the real butter and the vanilla bean flecks from the vanilla bean extract peppered throughout the light, airy cake that make them special or maybe it’s the simple, pure ingredients from a timeless recipe. Whatever it is, this is one dessert that you will be proud to serve. And eat. Top with homemade chocolate frosting or eat them warm from the oven with a glass of milk. Enjoy!

vanilla cupcakes

1 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsps vanilla bean extract
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c milk


1. Beat butter and sugar until well combined.

2. Add eggs one at a time.

3. Stir in the vanilla bean extract.

4. Add flour and baking powder into the mix, then slowly incorporate the milk.

5. Spoon batter into paper cups or in a greased muffin pan and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.