The competition winners are:
“Blondie's Sweet Potato Pie” by Latrice Catering & Design
1st Place - “Sweet Potato Pie Cheesecake” by Sondra Strong
2nd Place — “Santa Say Pie” by Cathi Compton
1st Place — “Sassy Sweet Potato Pie w/ Bourbon Pecans” by Sweet Love
2nd Place - “Blondie's Sweet Potato Pie” by Latrice Catering & Design
Kelli Marks, of Sweet Love Bakery, grew up in Sheridan, Arkansas and learned to cook from her grandmother. "I was probably the only ten-year-old to win a grand champion ribbon for canning green beans at the Grant County Fair," she said. The secret to her winning pie is bourbon. It's saturated in it. But the crust is also nontraditional. Instead of just cutting flour with butter, she mixes ground pecans, oatmeal, sugar and spices. The from-scratch filling is topped with a layer of candied, bourbon pecans.
"In my personal approach to baking, I've found that people here have a certain kind of palate. We're not New York City. We don't have super-sophisticated tastes. Usually I just take something familiar and tweak it," said Marks. Her Sassy Sweet Potato Pie is available via custom order. Closer to the holidays, she expects to sell by-the-slice in her shop, as well.