ALPINE — The judges at the World Food Championship contest thought Nancy Judd was crazy.
Judd had just won $10,000 in the dessert competition and had a chance to win a $50,000 grand prize in the Las Vegas event in November.
But the final competition was slated for a Sunday, so Judd told the judges she couldn't be there. Sorry.
"They were surprised," Judd said. "They really pressured me, three different times, to change my mind. I had to tell them 'This is my final answer.' "
Judd, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had a personal conviction that she shouldn't compete in the Sunday competition. Someone else went on to win the grand prize, but that's fine with Judd.
"I don't regret it a bit because the gospel's my life, not my cooking," she said.
Judd has been winning cooking contests since she entered a pie in last year's state fair Governor's Pie Contest.
She's since won the Utah Beef Cook-Off, taken second in the Fleischmann's Yeast Sandwich Bread contest, third in Utah's Own Funeral Potatoes contest, appeared on the "Today Show" with her recipe for Wicked Wasabi Wings, won an iPad with her Mexican Potato Waffles and won both cash and travel opportunities for a variety of contests, including Dunkin' Donuts, Reser's Potato Salad and King Arthur Flour.
She'll be on a Food Network segment in the spring.
The 70-year-old mother of eight and grandmother of 35 says the last year "has been magical" as she's competed across the country with a variety of dishes that consistently win top places.
She's having fun.
"Desserts aren't really my bag," she said in an interview with the Deseret News about her most recent big win. "I got the idea reading about how the governor liked chocolate. I wanted to make it different and I love cashews so I made it chocolate with cashews. Then I drizzled hot fudge over it with vanilla ice cream and made chocolate curls with a Hershey's bar."
Judd just wanted to make it into the top 10 after the online food group "Just a Pinch" nominated her recipe for the World Food Championship contest.
She was thrilled and surprised to win, especially after the competition turned out to be stressful given the difference in altitude and the 90 minutes allotted for a dessert that needed to chill to set up.
"I made two at the same time," she said. "I used ice cubes around them to get them to set. One was only half set at the end."
She's a member of the Alpine 7th Ward, North Alpine Utah Stake, and serves in the Relief Society.
She's planning to use her winnings to help pay for an LDS mission with her husband.
Her decision impressed at least one judge.
"One judge said, 'I'm Jewish, and if it ended up on a Jewish Sabbath, I wouldn't do it either,' " Judd said.
Nann’s Fudgey Cashew Pie All Dressed Up
Makes: one 9½-inch deep dish pie or one 10-inch pie or two shallow 8-9 inch pies
Serves: 8 – 10
1 9½ inch deep dish unbaked pie shell or one 10-inch unbaked pie shell or shallow 8-9 inch unbaked pie shells
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
4 large eggs
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (not imitation)
1-1 ½ cups whole cashews, chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
½ cup hot fudge, warmed
1-2 cups sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping
1 7-ounce "giant" milk chocolate bar (to make chocolate curls, optional)
Note: Small chocolate bars can be used but the "curls" will be smaller
Preheat oven to 425
Put white sugar, brown sugar and flour into a medium bowl. Mix until blended.
Add eggs, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla and mix until well blended. Add melted chocolate and incorporate into mixture. Add cashews and mix again.
Pour batter into unbaked pie shell(s).
Bake for 10 minutes and after 10 minutes lower oven heat to 350 degrees and shield pie edges with aluminum foil wrapped around the fluted pie crust edge. (The pie crust edges will get way to dark if you don’t).
Bake a total of about 50 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until completely set.
Note: If using a deep dish pie shell baking time may need to be longer.
When pie is done remove from oven and cool completely.
For the chocolate curls: While pie is baking, open chocolate bar and with a vegetable peeler press against the chocolate on the long narrow edge pulling peeler to make curls letting fall onto a plate. When finished making desired number, put plate in freezer to keep cold.
To serve: Cut pie into 8 or more pieces. Drizzle hot fudge over each plated piece of pie. Put a mound of the whipped cream on top of each piece and sprinkle the chocolate curls on top.
If desired add two or three small red berries and a mint leaf on whipped cream for an additional garnish to give the pie a "holiday" feel.
— Nancy Judd
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.