There's only one local semifinalist in the 46th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest: 27-year-old Talihna Ozturk of Blue Springs. She made it to the semifinalist round (competing with 59 other challengers in her category, "Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts") with her recipe for Almond Orange Crescent Toasts. To make it to the finalist level in her category, Ozturk - a former English major now working as a full-time caretaker for her 94-year-old grandmother - must garner enough online votes, through September 26, on the Bake-Off Web page (you can link here) to become one of 30 finalists in her category.
If Ozturk can get to the finals, she'll be eligible to compete for the $1 million prize.
Ozturk says she experimented with several recipes using Pillsbury products before settling on the Almond Orange Crescent Toasts recipe.
"It was a little difficult," she says, "because this was the first year that Pillsbury limited the number of ingredients that you could use in every recipe to seven or fewer and with only a 30-minute preparation time."