The Words of the Roghanian Family

The First Great Belvedere Bake Off

Elaine Roghanian
July 7, 2009

On May 24th, 2009, the Lovin' Life Ministries' Spring Fest was attended by nearly 3,000 people at the Belvedere Estate in Tarrytown, New York, as a celebration of Memorial Day and the Day of All True Things, a Unificationist holiday celebrating all of God’s creation. Within addition to the numerous activities and entertainment that day, a bake-off competition was held for anyone interested in entering baked goods, each being judged on overall appearance, taste, and creativity! Contestants with the top three entries were awarded prizes for their amazing recipes and baking skills.

The purposes of the Bake-Off contest were to: (1) discover “divine” home-baked treats and share these recipes, adding to home-baking repertoires and bringing joy to others, and (2) support the Spring Fest by donation of the baked goods and proceeds from their sale.

It was strictly enforced that only home-baked goods would be accepted into the competition. A total of 36 homemade entries were entered into the preliminary competition, divided into 3 entries for each judge. The semifinals had a total of 12 entries, with each judge assigned to a table of 4 entries by lottery. As soon as the winner was decided, each of the 36 entries went on sale for everyone to enjoy. Many people returned for seconds!

As later shared by Bake-Off organizer, Monika Lewis, “I believe the baked goods added a very important part to the Spring Fest. Who doesn’t like a cup of coffee or tea with a slice of cake in the afternoon?” Another Spring Fest attendee commented to Monika, “I really shouldn’t have any seconds when I think about my waistline, but I can’t resist…” Monika then responded, “Well, it’s a holy day after all! You should treat yourself.” As the Spring Fest was ending that day, there were hardly any baked goods left to be seen on each table!

Two Bake-Off participants, one the first-prize winner and the other a high school participant who entered with her close friend, share their recipes and personal stories behind their recipes below.

Mr. Munemasa Yamada, the first-prize winner, shares the secret behind his entry, the “Pear Tart”

I actually didn’t intend to enter the bake off! I was asked if I could bake three pies for the Kodan fund-raiser held at the Spring Fest, and someone from the group decided to enter one of my pies without telling me! I was so surprised when someone informed me they saw my daughter on stage receiving the first prize!

I became interested in baking when I was young. When it would rain and I couldn’t play outside, my mom often baked banana pie, apple pie, or lemon pie for the family. After I graduated from high school, my teacher encouraged me to go to college and major in sports, but I had no interest in this. Instead I began to work in a hotel and learned how to cook and bake. Every day I had to make a different desert. It was difficult, and I was often scolded by the chefs. However, I learned from my mistakes; once they saw that I wasn’t a quitter they began to teach me many new things and I began to improvise myself with many different recipes.

I still remember vividly when I first tasted a tart. I was 18 years old and waited at the hotel until everybody was gone so that nobody would see me. I picked a pumpkin tart, and it tasted so good! I had never tasted anything like that before. I was curious to find out how to make it myself. I soon learned that there are many different tarts, but the pear tart is very popular. The secret ingredient is the almond flour! You can also use any fruit instead of pear; raspberries go great with pears, too!

One embarrassing moment I had while baking was the one time I made the pear tart and used salt instead of sugar by mistake! Since then, I always double-check. My vision for the future is passing on my baking know-how to the younger generation! I would love it if I could have some students.

By: Munemasa Yamada
Pear Tart for 12-inch round pie pan

Ingredients for dough:

Flour: 250 g
Butter: 125 g (unsalted and softened)
Sugar: 50 g
Egg yolk: 1
Water: 40 cc
Pinch of salt


Mix all ingredients by hand until you get smooth dough.

Put the dough between 2 sheets of cling wrap and flatten it with a rolling pin. It should be fairly thin.

Remove the top sheet of cling wrap and turn the dough into the pan. Now remove the other cling wrap gently.

Take a fork and pierce the dough many times about ½ inch apart.

Ingredients for Tart Filling:

Almond flour: 80g
Flour: 15g
Unsalted butter: 80g
Sugar: 70 g
Heavy cream: 80 cc
Egg: 1


Whisk the softened butter with the sugar until the color changes to white.

Add 1 egg and whisk some more.

Then mix the 2 types of flour into it. Put aside.

Whisk the heavy cream separately until fluffy.

Now add the flour mixture to the whipped cream. (Don’t mix it vigorously, but rather lift up the mixture with a whisk and shake it off at the rim of the bowl.) Repeat until everything is one texture.

Cut half a pear into small cubes and spread them on top of the dough in the pan.

Then add the tart filling and decorate with sliced pears any way you like. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown.

Voila! Enjoy!

High school student participants, Elaine Roghanian and Seimi Rurup, share their recipe for their Bake-Off entry, “Caramel Banana Cream Pie”

My friend Seimi and I often cook and bake together. Therefore, we decided to enter into the Spring Fest Bake-Off. We approached Seimi’s culinary arts teacher, Mr. Huggins, for help in finding a good idea for an entry. We were looking for something creative to bake that would help us make a unique entry and decided on Caramel Banana Cream pies.

The recipe calls to cook a can of condensed milk in order to make caramel. We were both scared to do this because our teacher, Mr. Huggins, had mentioned to us before that he once fell asleep while cooking these cans, and since they ending up cooking for more than 2 hours, they exploded!

Despite the possibility of this dangerous explosion, we made the dessert and had a great time doing it!

Caramel Banana Cream Pies


1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. instant espresso
2-3 Tbsp. Water
12 premade mini graham cracker crusts (Keebler)
1 Cup heavy cream
1 egg white
½ Cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Semi-sweet chocolate (for topping)


Boil a pot of water and submerge can of condensed milk (label peeled off) completely underwater. You will need to add water as it evaporates. Lower heat to a simmer (about 200°) and cook for 2 hours EXACTLY. Once can is done, immediately cool it off in bowl of ice water. (About 1 hour)

Once completely cooled, whip condensed milk (which now looks and tastes like caramel) until it is loosened. In a little bowl, combine espresso and water. Mix well. (Mixture should resemble heavily concentrated coffee). Add 2 teaspoons espresso mixture to caramel (condensed milk), or until it has a light coffee flavor.

To prepare crusts: Brush premade crusts with egg whites and bake according to package directions, or for 10 minutes at 350°.

While crusts bake, prepare whipped cream. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream until it resembles whipped cream. Fold this unsweetened whipped cream into the caramel mixture to create an ideal consistency.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups of heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Mix on high until whipped cream forms.

Fill cooled crusts with caramel, NOT all the way to the top (fill until just under the rim of the crust)

Slice bananas and place 4 rounds on top of caramel.

Using star-tipped pastry bag, pipe whipped cream over the top into a swirl. Shave semi-sweet chocolate over the top.


By: Elaine Roghanian

Recipe Courtesy of Mr. Huggins, Nutley High School culinary teacher 

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