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Cooking up a winner

Local's creation takes second in apple pie competition

February 02, 2011 - Christina McArthur's father loves apple pie.

So McArthur, 22, a 2007 Goodrich High School graduate and Baker College senior, whipped up a series of 20 apple pies trying to match a secret family recipe until she and Dad were happy with the creation.

Then McArthur figured that if her apple pie was good enough for Dad, others might like it, too.

She was right.

McArthur was selected from more than 100 entries to participate in the sixth annual Michigan's Best Apple Pie Contest on Jan. 26 in Frankenmuth. She was then chosen as one of 40 amateur bakers who produced pies and were judged in three categories— taste, texture and appearance. Her culinary efforts paid off with a second place finish and $250 prize.

Unique to her recipe is French vanilla cake mix in both the pie mix and topping. According to the Michigan Apple Committee, contestants in the Frankenmuth competition used unconventional ingredients including bacon, jalapeno peppers and caramel corn.

."I just love to cook," said McArthur. "My hero is Juila Child—I watch all the cooking shows and even attended the Genesee Area Skill Center in high school to study culinary arts. This is the first contest I've ever entered. I'll definitely enter another one."



1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour(plus extra for rolling)

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter (very cold, cut into ½" cubes)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp Pioneer sugar

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 cup chopped oatmeal

2-4 Tbsp ice water

Pie Mix

¾ cup Pioneer sugar

½ cup French vanilla cake mix

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

dash of salt

5 Michigan Fugi apples

2 Michigan Jonathan apples


1 cup French vanilla cake mix

½ cup chopped oatmeal

½ cup chopped pecans

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ very cold butter

Preheat oven to 400° .


Cut the stick of butter into ½" cubes and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, oatmeal and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Remove butter from freezer, add to food processor and pulse 6-8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. Knead the dough just enough to form 1 disk. Sprinkle a little flour on the disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, to make rolling out easier. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12" circle about 1/8" thick, on a lightly floured surface. Place the crust into a 9" deep dish pie pan. Set aside.

Pie Mix:

Peel apples and cut into thin half moon shape pieces. In a large bowl, mix together the pie mix ingredients then add the apples. Set aside.


In a medium bowl, mix together all of the topping ingredients until crumbly.

Place the apples into the prepared pie pan. Then evenly sprinkle the topping onto the apples.

Bake the pie for 40 minutes. Then cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake for another 40 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

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