Pillsbury has announced the four category winners of the 49th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, and one name will be familiar to fans of The Great British Baking Show’s American edition.
Lauren Katz of Ashburn, Virginia, who won the first season of The Great American Baking Show in 2015, is the winner of Pillsbury’s breakfast category. Katz impressed the judges with her Cherry–Cream Cheese Crumb Cake Bombs (pictured above), which consist of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls stuffed with cherry preserves and cream cheese, then topped with homemade crumbs.
“Crumb cakes and babka loaded with crumbs are popular desserts in my family,” Katz wrote in the essay that accompanied her entry. “We all agree that the sweet, crunchy crumb topping is the best part of any baked good that is lucky enough to have it on top.”
This is the third time Katz has been a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest but the first time she has won a category. It’s also her last chance to win the grand prize, since current rules prohibit finalists from competing more than three times.
Melissa Jollands of Hudsonville, Michigan, is the winner of Pillsbury’s appetizer category, with her Dublin Cheeseboard–Stuffed Appetizer Bread. The recipe, which re-creates a cheeseboard that Jollands and her husband enjoyed on a trip to Dublin, Ireland, features creamy honey goat cheese, sharp Cheddar, and salami baked inside Pillsbury French bread.
“The cheese and meats of Ireland became one of our favorite things to try when we went to other cities within the country. But this cheeseboard was by far one of the best meals we had the whole vacation,” Jollands wrote.
Andrea Espinoza of Stockton, California, won the dinner category with her Poblano Shrimp Flatbread, which combines roasted poblano chiles, shrimp, corn, and crispy bacon on a thin pizza crust.
“My Poblano Shrimp Flatbread really tastes like a mixture of cheesy chiles rellenos and creamy rajas con crema,” Espinoza wrote. “It’s the perfect mashup.”
Joanna Crumley of Hubbard, Oregon, took the dessert category with her Reese’s Piece O’ Bliss Fudge. The recipe calls for spreading a layer of chocolate fudge over a base of Pillsbury’s Reese’s Pieces peanut butter cookies, then topping it off with wedges of Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces peanut butter cups.
Crumley says her recipe was inspired by her grandmother’s homemade fudge. “As an adult, I still love Grandma’s fudge, but the combination of peanut butter and chocolate has a new place in my heart,” she wrote.
The category winners have each received $5,000 and a selection of GE kitchen appliances. The grand-prize winner, who will receive $50,000, will be announced on the Food Network show The Kitchen on Saturday, February 23, at 11 a.m. Eastern time.