Divinity professor now an award-winning pie chef

October 17, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Divinity professor now an award-winning pie chef

He has a Ph.D., has been published in several academic publications and for the past four years has taught Christian theology in Campbell University’s Divinity School.

And in his spare time, Dr. Cameron Jorgenson bakes a mean pie.

The professor’s “chai latte pie” was the grand prize winner at the North Carolina State Fair’s 2012 Pillsbury Pet-Ritz Pie Baking Championship on Oct. 14. Jorgenson took home the blue ribbon in only his second attempt in the annual State Fair contest. After competing in 2010, he came up with the idea for the chai latte pie and took a year off to refine the recipe.

“It was worth the wait,” said Jorgenson, of Fuquay-Varina. “One of my favorite coffee-shop treats is a chai latte. It’s creamy, warm and full of spices that remind me of autumn. What's not to love? So, I wanted to capture those flavors in a pie. As it turns out, chai tea is the secret ingredient that makes this pie work.”

Jorgenson said he got into baking thanks to his wife, Kelly, the director of admissions for the Divinity School. She and several other members of the school’s faculty and staff served as guinea pigs leading up to the competition, tasting the pie as he perfected the recipe.

“It's amazing how many people are willing to give feedback about pie,” Jorgeson joked.

His creation earned him a $200 grand prize and, more importantly, bragging rights. After earning his Ph.D. from Baylor University, Jorgenson moved to North Carolina in 2008 to join the faculty at Campbell. He said he fell in love with the state, its people and traditions … one of those being the State Fair.

“Competing seemed like a wonderful way to become a part of life in my adopted home state,” he said.


With all the flavors of a coffee-shop treat, Chai Latte Pie combines a dense chai-infused blondie with a layer of rich caramel and a layer of smooth vanilla cream. And, of course, no chai latte is complete without a layer of whipped cream and a dusting of spices! This pie captures the flavors of fall—and the skills of your favorite barista—in a perfectly light and flaky crust. Bon appétit!


  • Two Pillsbury PET-RITZ Deep Dish frozen pie crusts

For Chai Blondie Layer:

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 bags Tazo Organic Chai
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of ground nutmeg

For Caramel Layer:

  • 1 bag of Caramels (unwrapped)
  • 1/3 cup half & half

For Vanilla Cream Layer:

  • 2 (4.6 oz) boxes Cook & Serve Vanilla pudding
  • 6 cups half & half

For Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 2 pints heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp Instant White Chocolate pudding
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar


  • Pumpkin pie spice



  • 1. Preheat oven to 350; allow piecrusts to thaw 10-20 minutes. Prick bottom and sides thoroughly with fork.

For Chai Blondie Layer:

  • 2. Melt butter over low heat. Transfer to a bowl. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat in the brown sugar; once smooth, beat in the egg and vanilla. Add salt and gently fold in the flour.
  • 3. Grind the contents of two bags of chai tea in either a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder until powdered. Add the finely ground tea and the remaining spices to the batter and mix thoroughly.
  • 4. Pour half of the batter into each pie crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the blondies are set. (Watch the exposed crust closely as the blondies bake; shield them with foil to prevent over-baking if necessary.) Transfer to wire rack to cool.

For Caramel Layer:

  • 5. In a medium heavy saucepan combine the unwrapped caramels with the half & half. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is well blended. Divide between the two pies, covering the blondies with a generous layer of caramel; chill in refrigerator.

For Vanilla Cream Layer:

  • 6. Stir the pudding mix into the half & half in a large saucepan. Bring to full boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Allow to cool thoroughly; cover pudding with Saran Wrap to prevent the formation of a “skin.”
  • 7. Using a spoon, fill the remainder of each pie shell with the vanilla pudding, taking care to distribute the pudding evenly, without displacing the caramel. Cover with Saran Wrap.

For Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 8. Place remaining ingredients (whipping cream, instant pudding mix, vanilla extract, powdered sugar) in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, begin mixing slowly to incorporate the ingredients; increase to high speed until soft peaks form, scraping the sides of the bowl often.
  • 9. Once the pudding layer has cooled completely, remove the Saran Wrap and top the pie with a generous layer of whipped cream. Dust with pumpkin pie spice.