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November 10, 2013 at 6:00 AM

New trends in Pillsbury Bake-off

Ham & Creamy Sriracha Pizza/Pillsbury Bake-Off

Ham & Creamy Sriracha Pizza/Pillsbury Bake-Off

Sriracha? Vegetables? Even easier recipes? Those are three of the trends in the million-dollar 2013 Pillsbury Bake-Off contest, taking place in Las Vegas Nov. 10-12.

Five Washington cooks were among the 100 finalists. This year, in a move to further simplify the recipes, entries could contain no more than 7 ingredients (except for salt, pepper and water) and had to take 30 minutes or less to prepare, not counting baking or cooling times. Two of the seven ingredients also had to be from a pre-determined list including Pillsbury and other name-brand products. There were three categories: “Amazing Doable Dinners,” “Simple Sweets and Starters,” and “Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts.”

Washington resident Ellie Mathews won the life-changing competition for her Salsa Couscous Chicken in 1998, a recipe that wouldn’t have made this year’s cut — it had 10 ingredients, plus water.

Contest producers said this year’s entries specialized in lots of Sriracha, a.k.a. “the latest, hottest ingredient,” along with other scorchers like chili oil, chili paste and chipotle. Also mirroring national trends, they saw vegetables taking a more central role in dishes (though Green Giant is a sponsor, and its vegetables are one option on the must-use ingredients list.) Hybrid recipes (think Cronut-type creations) also won big, as did unexpected flavor combinations.

Washington’s winners (we call them all winners for making it to this round,) including some with multiple other contest awards, are Donna Beck of Bonney Lake for Ham and Creamy Sriracha Pizza; two-time finalist Joan Cossette of Colbert, near Spokane, for her Lemon Pistachio Blackberry Thumbprints; Julie Merriman of Seattle for her Pastrami Melt on Crusty Pretzel Rolls; Nicole Pickett of Seattle for her Thai Turkey Burgers with Peanut Sauce, and Kelly Story of Sunnyside for Raspberry Apple Stacks.

Here’s Beck’s recipe:

Ham and Creamy Sriracha Pizza

Prep Time: 20 Min
Total Time: 30 Min
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients
1/4 cup Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Coastal Valley Peach Apricot Preserves
2 packages (3 oz each) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated classic pizza crust
8 oz sliced deli ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions
Heat oven to 400°F. Spray large nonstick cookie sheet with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.
In small bowl, mix preserves, cream cheese, Sriracha sauce and garlic until well blended.
Unroll dough on cookie sheet; press dough into 15×10-inch rectangle. Bake 8 minutes. Spread cream cheese mixture over partially baked crust; top with ham.
Bake 6 to 10 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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