How crucial is the perfect pie when your family gets together?

A Nielsen survey commissioned by the American Pie Council shows 67 percent of Americans consider pie a staple at family gatherings. Survey respondents voted apple pie their favorite, with chocolate pie and pumpkin pie tied for second and cherry coming in third.

Visit www.piecouncil.org for a host of prize-winning pie recipes to add to your repertoire. Here are the recipes for the grand champions from the council's 2013 competition. The Sittin' on the Sandbar Key Lime Pie recipe by Amy Freeze of Avon Park, Fla., won the Amateur Best in Show award. The Peanut Butter and Cracker Pie recipe by Andrew Spring of Bradenton, Fla., took the Professional Best in Show honors.

Sittin' on the Sandbar Key Lime Pie

Crust

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

8 ounces cream cheese (softened)

2 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

1 15-ounce can condensed milk

3/4 cup Coco Lopez (Cream of Coconut)

3/4 cup key lime juice

In a bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to cool to the touch before filling.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add condensed milk and beat well. Add key lime juice and Coco Lopez and beat well. Pour into crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until center is set to the touch. Allow to cool before refrigerating.

Whipped Cream Layer

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup powdered sugar

In a cold bowl, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff. Pipe large rosettes around edges.

Garnish

Lime slices & white chocolate sea shells

To make white chocolate sea shells, melt white chocolate almond bark or white chocolate pieces in microwave. Pour into sea shell molds. Chill until set.

Peanut Butter and Cracker Pie

Crust

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup honey roasted peanuts, ground fine

1 cup Ritz crackers

1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar and whip until glossy. Add vanilla, baking powder, peanuts, crackers and chips. Pour into greased 10-inch pie pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Chill crust.

Filling

4 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

8 ounces whipped topping

Beat cream cheese and sugar, add peanut butter and beat well. Add whipped topping and pile in cooled crust.

Chill well.

Topping 1

1/4 cup Reese's peanut butter chips

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy cream

Place peanut butter chips and white chips in two different cups . Divide heavy cream between the two cups and microwave until melted. Swirl the two over the chilled pie.

Topping 2

1/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt the cream with the chocolate and swirl it over the top of pie.

Topping 3

1 cup whipped sweetened heavy cream

extra peanut and cracker crumbs

Decorate with whipped cream rosettes and crumbs. Chill well.