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Holy Ravioli!: Pennsylvania Woman Takes Home $1 Million at the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest for her Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Holy Ravioli!: Pennsylvania Woman Takes Home $1 Million at the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest for her Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream13:06 EDT Tuesday, March 27, 2012 ORLANDO (Business Wire) -- Christina Verrelli of Devon, Pa. is surrounded by history – from the Liberty Bell to Valley Forge. Today she wrote her own page in history as she was named the $1 million grand prize winner at the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest for her original recipe, Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream. The winner was announced live from Orlando, Fla. today on Hallmark Channel's “The Martha Stewart Show” (airs weekdays at 10:00 a.m. ET/P) by Martha Stewart, who served as Contest host. March 27, 2012- Christina Verrelli of Devon, Pa. rose to the top at the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off(R) Contest with her original recipe Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream, earning her the $1 million grand prize on Tuesday, March 27. The winner was announced by host Martha Stewart live from Orlando, Florida today on Hallmark Channel's "The Martha Stewart Show" (airs weekdays at 10:00 a.m. ET/P) after her recipe impressed the judges to beat out 99 other home cooks vying for the grand prize. (pictured from L to R are Maria Vasseur, Donna Wolfe, Terri Sherman and Christina Verrelli) Photo courtesy of the Pillsbury Bake-Off(R) Contest and "The Martha Stewart Show." (Photo: Business Wire) Verrelli's Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream was inspired by a local favorite of hers, sweet donuts with three dipping sauces. “It's a unique use of the products and is something different for people to try and make at home, says Verrelli.” She remembers making her grandmother's recipes with her mom. “This recipe reminds me of that. I can picture generations rolling out dough at home together.” Made with simple ingredients such as Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® dough sheets, LAND O LAKES® Butter, McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice, Pillsbury® Flour, Fisher® Pecans, and Hershey's® caramel syrup, not only is this delicious dessert right on trend with its savory and sweet topping of salted caramel whipped cream, but it's a refreshing twist on a classic pumpkin pie at the same time. “It was truly reminiscent of the crispy pie crust my grandmother used to make,” said Lynn Blanchard, Test Kitchen Director at Better Homes and Gardens. “This recipe really pushed the boundaries on the definition of a ravioli,” added Jeff Houck, food editor at the Tampa Tribune. “The pastry was an absolute knockout and the filling is so versatile – it can be a wonderful dessert for Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July.” “Christina's recipe is an innovative and sweet take on a traditional, savory favorite: it's not like any ravioli I've ever tasted. This will be a fun dish to make, and even more enjoyable to eat,” said Martha Stewart. “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.” Christina's recipe also won her GE kitchen appliances valued at $10,000 as part of the grand prize. She beat out 99 other home cooks in the country's premier cooking competition, sponsored by General Mills, The J.M. Smucker Company, GE Appliances & Lighting, Fisher® Nuts, The HERSHEY Company, Land O'Lakes, Inc., McCormick & Company, Muir Glen®, and Progresso®. In addition to the grand prize, several other finalists took home a slice of the pie. Three additional category winners were awarded $5,000 and $3,000 in GE kitchen appliances. Breakfast & Brunches - Sausage-Pomodoro Brunch BakeMaria Vasseur of Valencia, Cal.Weekday mornings are usually a blur of activity for Maria, her husband and two daughters, so the family loves to savor a leisurely brunch on weekends. Maria tried her recipe one Saturday morning at home, incorporating fresh basil grown by one of her daughters. The brunch bake pairs well with a side of fruit, and it also makes a good weekend lunch. Dinner Made Easy™- Chicken Empanada ConesDonna Wolfe of Hamilton, N.J.An accomplished cook who loves to entertain, Donna finds particular joy in passing on her passion and creating “signature dishes” for loved ones' birthdays. She delights in learning about new ingredients on her travels, and she finds inspiration closer to home at the local farmer's market. Entertaining Appetizers - Asparagus, Artichoke and Red Pepper PizzaTerri Sherman of Palos Heights, Ill.Terri and her two daughters love to act out their own cooking competitions in their suburban Chicago home. They take turns between creating the recipes using what they have on hand and being the judge. When she's not in the kitchen or working, Terri is busy planning her wedding. Salmon Crescent Sushi Rolls by Julie McIntire of Independence, Mo. was named the most innovative recipe by judges. She was honored with the GE Imagination At Work Awardand $5,000 in GE kitchen appliances. Julie is always willing to try new things in the kitchen. For this recipe she combined her favorite foods, salmon and avocados, with Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® to create a simple and colorful sushi-inspired appetizer. A handful of finalists were also rewarded for their use of specific ingredients in their recipes, each taking home a $5,000 prize for their culinary creation. TheJif® Peanut Butter Award was presented to Sandra Hilbert of Fort Littleton, Pa. for her Chewy Peanut Butter-Caramel Bars, which was the best recipe using at least ¼ cup of Jif® Peanut Butter. Linda Blakely of Berne, N.Y. won the Crisco is Cooking™ Awardfor Indonesian Chicken Turnovers with Spicy Peanut Sauce, which was the best recipe using at least one tablespoon of Crisco® Cooking Oil. The Eagle Brand® Signature Recipe Awardwas given to Brett Youmans of Reading, Pa.recognizing his Orange Cream-Macadamia Torte for the best recipe using at least one 14 ounce can of Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk. The 100 finalists included 95 women and five men, representing 35 states and ranging in age from 25 to 77. Each of the 100 finalists won a trip to the contest finals, including airfare, a two-night stay at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Florida, daily event-sponsored meals, a GE countertop microwave oven (estimated retail value of $200), and $125. On March 26, the 100 finalists prepared their recipes for judges at 100 GE mini-kitchens set up at the Peabody Orlando Hotel. The contest judges consisted of a panel of twelve food experts who evaluated the entries based on taste, appearance, creativity and consumer appeal. Tune in to Hallmark Channel's “The Martha Stewart Show” at 2:00 p.m. ET/P on Wednesday, March 28 to see the grand prize winner announcement again. Visit to see the million-dollar recipe as well as other finalists' recipes to try at home. The Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest originated in 1949, with the first competition at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City. The contest was held annually from 1949 to 1978, when it switched to an every-other-year schedule. The $1 million grand prize was first awarded in 1996 in Dallas, Texas, to Kurt Wait, who was also the first man to win top honors in the contest. About the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest SponsorsGeneral Mills is one of the world's leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries. Its more than 100 consumer brands include Pillsbury, Muir Glen, Progresso, Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Green Giant and Old El Paso. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2011 net sales of US$14.9 billion. For more than 130 years, families have trusted Pillsbury to make mealtimes special times. Favorite Pillsbury products include refrigerated cookies, crescent dinner rolls, breads, biscuits, pie crusts and sweet rolls as well as frozen biscuits, pie crusts and breakfast items. For product information and great-tasting recipes, visit Log on to for company information. For more than 110 years, The J.M. Smucker Company has been committed to offering consumers quality products that bring families together to share memorable meals and moments. Today, Smucker is a leading marketer and manufacturer of fruit spreads, retail packaged coffee, peanut butter, shortening and oils, ice cream toppings, sweetened condensed milk, and health and natural foods beverages in North America. The Company's wide variety of iconic brands and products include such trusted favorites as Smucker's® jams, jellies, preserves, fruit spreads and ice cream toppings; Jif® peanut butter; Crisco® oils, shortening and no-stick cooking sprays; Eagle Brand® sweetened condensed milk; and Pillsbury® baking mixes, ready-to-spread frosting and flour. For more information and delicious recipes, please visit,,, and GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people's lives. GE Appliances' products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems and water heaters. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information on GE Appliances, visit John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., (NASDAQ: JBSS), founded in 1922, is a leading processor, marketer and distributor of baking nuts, snack nuts and nut-based products that are sold in multiple distribution channels. Our products can be found under the Fisher Nuts, Orchard Valley Harvest and Sunshine Country brand names and a variety of private brands. For more information about Fisher products, visit The HERSHEY Company is the leading North American manufacturer of quality chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery and chocolate-related grocery products. The HERSHEY Company is proud to offer quality baking cocoa, baking chocolate, baking chips and pieces and syrup under the Hershey's®, Reese's®, Heath®, Heath® Bits‘o Brickle®, Mini Kisses® and Special Dark® brands. With such a variety of forms and flavors, making dessert a memorable occasion has never been easier or more certain! For more information, consumers may visit Land O'Lakes, Inc., a Minnesota-based food and agriculture company, is a leading supplier of quality dairy products. In 1921, Land O'Lakes began making butter from sweet—not sour—cream. Ever since that breakthrough, the company has been a leading producer of butter and other pure, wholesome dairy products that deliver simple goodness to consumers. Today, the tradition of innovation continues with our complete product lines of butter, spreads, eggs and cheese. For more information visit McCormick & Company, Incorporated is a global leader in flavor. With more than $3 billion in annual sales, the Company manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the entire food industry—retail outlets, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. Every day, no matter where or what you eat, you can enjoy food flavored by McCormick. McCormick brings passion to flavor.™ Visit, and for more information. About Martha Stewart Martha Stewart is an entrepreneur, publisher, Emmy Award-winning television show host, and the author of dozens of bestselling books on cooking, entertaining, gardening, weddings and decorating. Her next book, MARTHA'S AMERICAN FOOD: A Celebration of Our Nation's Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast, will be released in April. Today, her namesake company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, reaches more than 99 million consumers each month with an expansive multimedia and merchandising portfolio that includes: award-winning magazines; The Martha Stewart Show on Hallmark Channel; Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 110;, and top lifestyle retailers. Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: Pillsbury Bake-Off® Public RelationsShera Balgobin, (763) 293-1212orCristin Johnson, (973)