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Caramel crumb pie takes tops in state search for best homemade apple pie

Contact: Denise Donohue 
(800) 456-2753

(Frankenmuth, Mich.) – It was a luscious crumb-top deep-dish apple pie drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with chopped pecans that won the favor of judges in the 4th Annual Michigan's Best Apple Pie Contest.

Patti Sharrard of Ruby, Michigan was moved to tears upon announcement that her Caramel Apple Pie was the winner from a field of 60 homemade pies.  The amateur baking competition was held Wednesday, Jan. 21 during Zehnder's Snowfest ice carving celebration in Frankenmuth.  Sharrard said she was encouraged to enter the contest by her family.

“I love to bake and cook, but this is the first time I have ever entered any type of cooking contest,” said Sharrard after accepting the award.  “Wow!  I am so glad I let my husband and my daughters talk me into coming here today.”

According to Sharrard, the winning recipe was inspired by a pie her sister-in-law made.  She tweaked the recipe to her liking and created a dessert that has earned praise from her family and now attracted the attention of the contest's 18 judges. 

Competing pies were ranked on appearance, texture and taste by a panel of judges.  This is the fourth consecutive year that the Michigan Apple Committee, Pioneer Sugar, radio station WSGW and Zehnder's restaurant have joined forces to sponsor the statewide baking contest.
A total of three awards were presented:

  • 1st Place – Caramel Apple Pie by Patti Sharrard of Ruby, Michigan
  • 2nd Place – Maple-Glazed Apple Pie by Emily Stump of Goshen, Indiana
  • 3rd Place – Mima's Frost Apple Pie by Carol Socier of Bay City, Michigan

As the top winner, Sharrard will receive $500 and a trip to Florida in April to compete in the National Pie Championships.  Sharrard said she has always dreamed of opening a bakery, and has received some great baking tips from her mother.

“My mom was always the pie baker and she swore by Ida Red apples for baking,” said Sharrard.  “We would go apple-picking every fall and store apples all winter so we could have them for baking.”

The following is Sharrard's winning pie recipe:

Caramel Apple Pie:


1¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 to 5 T. ice cold water
1/3 cup shortening
Pinch of salt and sugar

Stir together flour and shortening. Work until crumbly. Add water and work together with pastry blender until dough forms.  Roll out and place in pie pan.


7-8 Michigan Ida Red apples, sliced
1 cup Pioneer Sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup flour

Mix all together and put in pie pan.


1 cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup oatmeal
1 stick butter, softened

Mix all four ingredients together until crumbly. Take topping and cover apples sealing to edge of crust.  Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour, 15 minutes. Remove from oven and then drizzle caramel over top of pie.  Sprinkle chopped pecans over top of pie.

The winning recipes will be posted at MichiganApples.com.  Contestants were required to use Michigan Apples and Pioneer Sugar in their original creations.  More than 80 recipes were submitted for consideration with the top 60 chosen to actually compete.

Contestants, who came from across the state, had to bring their already-made pies to the heated tent behind Zehnder's for the competition.  A lively audience gathered to watch as judges sampled the pies and the duo of “Wild Bill and Linda Lee” kept the audience entertained with festive music.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world.  For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.