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Local Bakers Thais Da Silva and Christina Verrelli's Sugar Highs

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Two local ladies have been put on the national food map in recent weeks, thanks to some seriously brag-worthy food competition wins!

Just a few weeks back, Devon resident Christina Verrelli snagged $1 million in the 45th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off for her take on a “sweet” ravioli: a pumpkin ravioli with salted-caramel whipped cream. In a recent Philadelphia Inquirer interview, Verrelli said she’ll use her prize money on new windows for her house and to help pay for college for her two daughters. The award-winning recipe is partly inspired by her grandmother, whom she remembers rolling out dough in the kitchen (although Verrelli’s version used rolled out crescent-roll dough).

Want to try making these million dollar sweets yourself? Get the recipe on page 2!

And in Chester County, Thais Da Silva of the mobile gourmet cupcake business, Dia Doce, won Cupcake Wars, the popular Food Network cupcake competition show. Da Silva and her assistant, Andrea Bennett, took part in a number of competitions throughout the show’s run. In the end, the duo impressed the judges and won the competition, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America.

Visit diadoce.com to find out where the cupcake truck will be located each week, but if you want to make a purchase ASAP, you can buy Dia Doce cupcakes at Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square, Valley Forge Flowers in the Eagle Village Shoppes in Wayne and at Aj’s Pizza in Pottstown.
 

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

Ingredients
4 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter, melted
2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
½ cup canned pumpkin
1 Land O Lakes® egg yolk
½ teaspoon McCormick® pure vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
5 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon McCormick® pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® chopped pecans, finely chopped
2 cans Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons Hershey’s® caramel syrup
4 tablespoons McCormick® cinnamon sugar

Directions
• Heat oven to 375°F. Brush two large cookie sheets with two tablespoons of the melted butter. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixer on medium speed about one minute or until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the flour and pumpkin pie spice and beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the pecans and set aside. Stir remaining pecans into pumpkin mixture.

• Lightly sprinkle work surface with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Unroll one can of dough on floured surface with one short side facing you. Press dough into a 14×12-inch rectangle. With paring knife, lightly score the dough in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half of dough into 12 squares (3×2 1/4-inch each). Spoon heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin filling onto center of each square. Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press handle of wooden spoon firmly between mounds and along edges of pumpkin filling to seal. Using a toothpick, poke small hole in top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut between each ravioli; place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, dough sheet and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter.

• Bake 9-14 minutes or until golden brown.

• Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat whipping cream and salt with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate.

• Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle ravioli with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar; turn. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.

• To serve, place two ravioli on each of 12 dessert plates. Drizzle each serving with scant teaspoon of the caramel syrup; sprinkle with reserved chopped pecans. With spoon, swirl remaining 1 tablespoon caramel syrup into bowl of whipped cream. Serve warm ravioli with whipped cream.

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