ORLANDO, FLA. — Andrea Spring of Bradenton, Fla., owner of Sign of the Mermaid Restaurant, won “Best of Show” in the professional division of the 16th Annual American Pie Council/Crisco 2010 National Pie Championships for her Chocolate Walnut Raisin Pie. This was the first year the raisin category — sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board — was available to professional division bakers.

The professional division drew 170 pie entries in nine categories, with 12 bakers entering the new raisin category.

“When I saw that raisin was a new category in the professional division, I really wanted to tackle that because I like the challenge of the new and unusual,” Ms. Spring said. “I love raisins, but I considered that a ‘straight-out’ raisin pie may not appeal to the masses. The first time I made the pie I knew the flavors were perfect for the contest. Pairing it with favorites like milk chocolate and walnuts enhances the raisins and creates a very appealing pie.”

Ms. Spring also took first place in the cream category for her Hula Hula Pineapple Cream Pie with Fried Crust. She earlier won Best of Show in 2007 for her Gold Coast Key Lime Pie and first place for her Chocolate Espresso Explosion Pie.

For her winning recipe, Ms. Spring received $5,000, a new Sears Kenmore range and a Crisco gift basket.