The iconic Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest keeps going strong. I attended this year’s event at the stunning new Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. This truly American competition started in 1949: No-knead water-rising twists (a nut sweet roll raised under water) won the grand prize, and Eleanor Roosevelt attended as a guest. The contest keeps evolving to reflect changes in consumer lifestyles and cooking trends. To ensure quick and easy recipes, this year’s entries were capped at seven ingredients and 30 minutes or less of active prep time. In the Aria Grand Ballroom, 100 finalists waited anxiously. The grand prize ($1 million) went to Glori Spriggs of Henderson, Nev., for her loaded potato pinwheels.
Each recipe makes use of at least one Pillsbury product. Kosher cooks who want to duplicate the luscious recipes at home have to be even more creative. For instance, to create your own kosher pinwheels, Trader Joe’s has its own refrigerated crescent roll dough, and it is kosher! Trader Joe’s also has kosher biscuits.
I have shared a few recipes here with tips to make them kosher. I believe any good kosher cook could duplicate many of the winning recipes and tailor them to a kosher version. The recipes are simply delicious (I tasted a lot of them). I urge you to go to the Pillsbury Bake-Off website, where you can view every one of the 100 final recipes or purchase the soft-cover “Pillsbury Bake-Off 100 Winning Recipes” booklet, which is available at supermarkets.
Next year’s contest will be in Nashville, Tenn. On the Bake-Off’s website you can find details on how to enter. So start your ovens! Pillsbury may have retired its old slogan, “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven,” but I still say that nothing says “lovin’” better than a million bucks.
Tips & Tricks
• Recipes that call for real bacon can be substituted with kosher Facon (from the Giant).
• Crescent or biscuit roll ingredients are available kosher at Trader Joe’s.
• Use a few coffee filters on a plate to drain any fried foods, to strain your soups or to tie fresh herbs.
• Use a good store-bought pesto as an addition to burgers, sandwiches, chicken or fish.
Ilene Spector is an area freelance writer.