By Jessica Boling
He just took top honors in a baking contest, so it’s somewhat hard to believe there was a time when Joe Schultz didn’t cook.
“I used to come home from work and put my feet up while my wife fixed the meal,” he recalls. One day, he decided to make dinner to surprise her.
“I realized I enjoyed it,” says Schultz, who lives in Elizabethton.
Over the years, Schultz discovered a passion for baking – and experimenting.
“I’ll take a recipe that seems to have good possibilities and modify it,” he says.
That’s just how he created his Caramel Apple Cheesecake for the baking contest at the 2011 Unicoi County Apple Festival.
“I’d never entered the contest before, but the lady in charge convinced me to try,” he says.
Schultz and his wife carried the decadent dessert down the vendor-lined streets of the festival in Erwin to the chamber of commerce building where the judging took place.
“I didn’t find out until later that I’d won first prize in my category,” he says.
Judges chewed over contenders with three different types of apple recipes: apple pies, apple cakes and any other apple dish, the category Schultz won. There’s also a separate competition for youth.
The 2012 Unicoi County Apple Festival takes place Oct. 5-6 in downtown Erwin. In addition to the baking contest, activities include craft sellers, a talent and beauty pageant, live music, food, and a children’s area.
Try your hand at Schultz’s award-winning Apple Caramel Cheesecake Recipe.