Fall Pie Contest Winner Announced!

Behind the Scenes, Williams-Sonoma Behind the Scenes

Last autumn, the Williams-Sonoma team invited our customers to enter our Fall Pie Contest, submitting their most delicious and original recipe for a chance to win a grand prize valued over $1,000. After much baking, tasting and discussing, the results are in — congratulations to Patrick D. and his Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie!


As you may guess from the mouthwatering spread below, the choice wasn’t an easy one. First, we read through all of the submissions to identify innovative recipes that sparked our interest and narrowed the list down to 10 pies. From there we baked each pie to test the recipes for ourselves.


Then, the fun part: we coaxed more people out of their offices (including our Test Kitchen cooks), arranged all of the pies with their recipes on a table and dug in! It’s a tough job, huh?


Each taster filled out his or her own form to rate the recipes on taste and originality — no peeking. When we tallied up the scores, the Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie had earned the top spot. Testers loved the soft texture of the apples, the subtle rum flavor and hint of spice.


Still, we were happy to indulge in all of the pies.



Congrats to Patrick, who is taking home a package filled with our baking essentials:

Save his winning recipe for your 2012 Thanksgiving feast!


Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie


For the crust:

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough

1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup ice water


For the filling:

2 tsp. cornstarch

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

7 medium apples, such as Mutsu or Empire, peeled, cored, and sliced

2 tsp. spiced rum

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch salt


For assembly:

1 large egg, beaten

2 Tbs. raw sugar (optional)


To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, process the oats until finely ground. Add the butter, flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl and continue processing to “rub” the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the water to the dry ingredients and gently pulse until the dough just comes together. Lay a strip of plastic wrap down on the counter and turn the dough out onto it. Push the dough into a round disc about 1-inch thick and wrap well in the plastic. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.


To make the filling: In a small dish stir together the cornstarch, brown sugar, and spices. Set aside.


Place a large skillet over medium heat with the butter. Swirl the pan occasionally and cook the butter until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Add the apples to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the reserved cornstarch mixture to the pan along with the spiced rum, vanilla and salt and continue cooking until the sugar is dissolved and the liquids thicken and begin to bubble, 3 to 4 minutes.


Remove the apples from the heat and cool completely.


To assemble: Preheat an oven to 400ºF.


Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half. Roll out one dough half to about 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate and press it gently into the plate.


Transfer the cooled apples to the pie shell, mounding them slightly in the middle.


With a pastry brush, brush the overhanging pie dough lightly with the beaten egg. Roll the other dough half out on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8-inch and cut a couple of holes in the center. Lay the dough down over the top of the fruit, centering the holes you cut. Press the overhanging dough and top crust together to seal with the egg. Trim the overhanging dough to about 1-inch all the way around the pie and fold the overhang under itself so that it rests on the lip of the pie plate. Crimp the pie edges as desired and lightly brush the entire top and edges with the remaining beaten egg. Garnish the crust with the raw sugar.


Transfer the pie to a baking sheet and bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer the baked pie to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before serving, about 1 hour. Makes one 9-inch pie.


We’d also like to thank our other nine finalists in the contest for their delicious submissions. They’re each receiving an Emile Henry Artisan Ruffled Pie Dish in the color of their choice, along with a $100 Williams-Sonoma gift card. In no particular order:

  • Kahla B.: Autumn Harvest Carrot Pie
  • Lisa G.: Caramel Apple Walnut Streusel Pie
  • David B.: Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie
  • Jill C.: Creamy Caramel Butternut Pie
  • Pat F.: “It’s Not Your Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie”
  • Georgia W.: Sweet Brie & Cider Pear Pie
  • Allison K.: Pecan Pie with Vanilla Bourbon Caramel
  • Flora C.: Brown-Butter Sage and Maple Apple Pie with Mascarpone Crust
  • Adrian W.: Apple-Praline Pie


About the author: Olivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.

14 comments about “Fall Pie Contest Winner Announced!

  1. Deanna

    Gosh, the other recipes sound like something I’d like (Carrot Pie and Pear Pie). Will you be publishing those recipes as well?


  2. Patsy

    I am going to bake this today.
    It sounds absolutely lovely.
    Thank you for the recipe.

  3. PHIL

    would love to get their recipes as well. I hope that perhaps Williams Sonoma will publish them somewhere. thanks ahead of time!

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  11. Heidi

    Everything looks gorgeous! Especially the stoneware! I have a question about one of the pie dishes in the photo. It’s ruffled with some gradation on the outside. The bottom looks caramel, and the top/inside looks like a sandy beige. Does anyone know what pie dish that is?


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