Think your signature recipe is worth a million bucks? Christina Verrelli of Devon, Pennsylvania, learned today that her Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream isn't just a crowd-pleaser; it's a cash cow.
Verrelli bested 94 women and five men ranging in age from 25 to 77, both new and veteran Pillsbury Bake-Off finalists to earn a prize of $1 million in the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. Her victory was announced today on a live broadcast of "The Martha Stewart Show," at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Florida.
The annual contest received tens of thousands of entries in the categories of Breakfast and Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy as well as Sweet Treats, which Verrelli entered. She claims her recipe was inspired by a local favorite of hers, sweet donuts with three dipping sauces.
In a press release, Jeff Houck, food editor at the Tampa Tribune said, “This recipe really pushed the boundaries on the definition of a ravioli.” He also praised the recipe's seasonal versatility.
Martha Stewart concurred, saying, “Christina’s recipe is an innovative and sweet take on a traditional, savory favorite: it's not like any ravioli I've ever tasted."
“I can see how this winning recipe dazzled the judges, and I think it will inspire other home cooks around the country to make it for their family and friends,” Stewart continued.
In addition to Verrelli's grand prize, the three additional category winners - Terri Sherman of Palos Heights, Illinois, Maria Vasseur of Valencia, California, and Donna Wolfe of Hamilton, New Jersey - were awarded $5,000 and $3,000 worth of GE kitchen appliances.
Contestants, who must be amateurs, have been tossing their toques into the ring since the Bake-Off's inception in 1949. That year, Theodora Smafield of Rockford, Illinois, took home $50,000 for her No-Knead Water-Rising Twists recipe - a sum doubled from the advertised $25,000 pot by a promotional token that she'd run across two months before.
Though her initial win stirred a national obsession with the contest, it still took 44 years for a man - Kurt Wait - to rise to the top with a Macadamia Fudge Torte in 1996.
The finished dishes are judged on taste, appearance, creativity and consumer appeal. They must also use at least two qualifying ingredients from a product list, follow contest rules and fit into one of the assigned four categories.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
Prep Time: 1 Hr 10 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr 10 Min
Makes: 12 (2 ravioli each) servings
4 Tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter, melted
2 packages (3 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 LAND O LAKES® Egg Yolk
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/3 cup Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® Chopped Pecans, finely chopped
2 cans Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons Hershey’s® caramel syrup
4 Tablespoons McCormick® Cinnamon Sugar
Heat oven to 375°F. Brush 2 large cookie sheets with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the flour and pumpkin pie spice; beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the pecans; set aside. Stir remaining pecans into pumpkin mixture.
Lightly sprinkle work surface with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Unroll 1 can of dough on floured surface with 1 short side facing you. Press dough into 14×12-inch rectangle. With paring knife, lightly score the dough in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half of dough into 12 squares (3×2 1/4-inch each). Spoon heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin filling onto center of each square.
Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press handle of wooden spoon firmly between mounds and along edges of pumpkin filling to seal. Using toothpick, poke small hole in top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut between each ravioli; place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon flour, dough sheet and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter.
Bake 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat whipping cream and salt with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate.
Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle ravioli with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar; turn. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.
To serve, place 2 ravioli on each of 12 dessert plates. Drizzle each serving with scant teaspoon of the caramel syrup; sprinkle with reserved chopped pecans. With spoon, swirl remaining 1 tablespoon caramel syrup into bowl of whipped cream. Serve warm ravioli with whipped cream.
Hi there! I wanted to let you know I featured you on Sugar Blossoms today. Stop by and check it out! http://sweetsugarblossoms.blogspot.com/2013/09/i-freakin-love-pumpkin.html
Sounds more like an advertisement than a recipe...
What a photo !! How can I go to sleep after seeing that? Maybe I'll do a batch of baked apples in the meantime . . .
Tina was always in the home kitchen as a young girl–learning from her Mom & I was fortunate to live nearby getting together with my daughter to bake a batch– All the Best, Tina!!!!
That doesn't even sound good ...
great advertising in the recipe
My panties are wet! I want some. Imagine eating it blindfolded with your boyfriends brother.
Wow! Try my chocolate chip cookies infused with THC...
Shut it Steve. Kandi is mine. Girl, I'll definitely eat it with ya boyfriend's brother!!!
I have already made this and it was wonderful. I actually used the Silpoura to drizzle the caramel sauce and it not only looked fabulous it tasted great!
I know the winner's mom! She is a volunteer where I work. She was so excited to tell everyone. So happy for her!
An interesting twist to the cappellacci (which I think originated from Ferrara, Italy – or so I was told when I stayed there). However, I prefer the more traditional approach – w/ butter and sage. Yet, this could be an interesting alternative for a desert. ... Congrats on the win!
Uhhhh.....this IS a dessert.
Oh dear Heaven that looks delicious!
Mmmmm, cinnamon. Second only to dark chocolate in my book! That looks awesome!
Curious why these are called ravioli when they have nothing to do with those pasta pillows. These are more of a square turnover. And BTW, I think they look and sound disgusting.
So do you Fiona, so do you.
More a Pop-Tart than a ravioli
I used the recommended measure of Knockoff® [sarcasm] ingredients with outstanding results.
Gettin' any kickbacks for free advertising? They'll never tell.
what's so hard to understand, CBC? It's Pillsbury's contest and part of the game is to incorporate as many of their products as possible in one recipe. Do you really need more explanation?
Apparently you do. This has already been explained below that all of those prodcuts are NOT owned by the company that owns Pillsbury. There is this thing where food manufacturers work together to promote products, at a price.
Gonna try this one. I'm not crazy about pumpkin, but the way it's incorporated, I think I'll like it. Good Job!
These are not really "ravioli" as anyone can see. They are empanadas or mini-turnovers - baked, not simmered and served in a sauce as ravioli are. I suppose that is irrelevant, though, since the entire exercise is about product placement.
Yes, completely irrelevant. And I am sure the winner would agree seeing she is $1M richer than you and I. Either way, the recipe was shared for those of us that are interested in trying it out.
That sounds really good.I hope she's a regular person. Like someones mom
I wonder how much money it costs to get your name brand listed as the required ingredient. god forbid someone not use land o' lakes butter and Fischer's pecans–the meal would be ruined!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bwahaha.
Gee, seeing as how this is the PILLSBURY bakeoff, you think maybe these branded ingredients just MIGHT be owned by Pillsbury's parent company? You're kind of in slow reading group, aren't you?
Nope, General MIlls does not own those brands. They are the sponsors of the Bake Off. Its on the Bake Off website, they paid top dollar for brand placement.
Who's slow in the reading group now?
wowsem, it's one of the contest rules for entering. Check out the rules on the link below:
Scroll down to
"HOW DO I ENTER? Participants entered original recipes that used two or more different eligible products."
Eligible products are listed below that rule.
Interesting that one of the rules is, "No recipe may contain duck as an ingredient."
Can "DUCK!" be an instruction to the cook, instead?
HA, that is an odd rule. Poor duck, getting the shaft. I wonder what the theory behind that rule was....
Awesome find, AleeD. Now someone should do a follow-up story on why duck is prohibited. Personal aversion of one of the original judges, or a sentimental protection for the duckies?
Thanks. I've been watching this contest on the Food Network for years. It's great to see folks create new dishes from the Pillsbury products I grew up with.
Well, I know that duck eggs work best for baking as they are much better leaveners than regular store eggs. Always get a loftier, lighter rise out of cakes and things. Maybe that's why...
I think it has something to do with the Awards announcement being at the Peabody Hotel. They have ducks that live in the lobby or something and do a "Duck Walk" thing everyday.
Tina Verelli of Devon...WOW...good for you and congratulations.
Will try this receipt because it looks simple and bet it taste great. Congratulations!!
Thank you CNN for finally gathering all the opinion pieces under the heading "Blogs."
They keep shooting down my special brownie recipe.
don't you ever shut up?
What? Why!? He's funny and has rights just like you.
No. I likes it like dat.
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