OREGON COUNTY -- Louise Watkins of Thayer learned to cook early. She was the second oldest child of a family of 17 children in Wisconsin. "There were 11 girls and six boys in our family," she said.
Watkins and her husband Cliff returned to Wisconsin in September and Louise and Cliff attended the Cranberry Festival Sept. 26-28. "I entered the cranberry recipe contest at the festival and won first prize with my White Chocolate Cranberry Pie," she said.
This is not the first time Louise has entered and won the contest. "When we lived there I had won first, second and third prize with recipes made with raspberries. Each time I won the prize was different. My two sisters entered this year's contest and neither one of them won," Louise said.
She also won a cooking contest sponsored by The Quick Cooking Magazine published by a Taste of Home in 2004. She won the grand prize of $500 with her raspberry macadamia nut dessert.
She said her local newspaper in Wisconsin use to sponsor a cooking contest and she won twice. First with a seafood recipe and second with a Missouri Bean Soup recipe her husband Cliff found in a magazine. "He just saw the word Missouri and we went with it," Louise said.
Cliff is originally from Missouri and moved to Wisconsin when he was 3-years old. His parents are Lester and Dorothy Watkins (now deceased) who retired in Thayer in the 1970s. Cliff and Louise have lived in Thayer three years. When working in Wisconsin, Louise was a nursing home administrator and Cliff owned a fishing business.
Louise said when cooking for Cliff his favorite dishes are probably the elegant cod seafood and apple pie. "Cliff can also cook. Steaks and ribs are his specialty," she said.
The award winning pie was brought back to Thayer where it was given to the bake sale held recently at Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center in Thayer. Louise is not sure how much the sliced pie was sold for but thought altogether $150 was raised during the bake sale at the center.
When not cooking, Louise enjoys playing bridge. She walks every day, quilts and sometimes attends Fun and Friends.
Louise said we could share her award winning pie recipe with readers.
* 1, 6-oz pkg. white baking chocolate, divided.
* 2 tablespoons milk.
* 1, 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened.
* 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar.
* 2 teaspoons grated orange peel.
* 1, 8 oz. whipped topping, thawed.
* 1, 9-inch graham cracker crust.
* 1, 16-oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce.
Additional whipped topping for garnish.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt 4 squares of chocolate with the milk (approximately 3-4 minutes at 50 percent power). Stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Beat cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Stir in orange peel and cooled melted chocolate. Fold in whipped topping. Spread into crust. Top with cranberry sauce. Melt remaining 2 squares of chocolate and drizzle over top. Garnish with additional whipped topping. Store in the refrigerator. Makes eight servings. Enjoy!