Apple pie a favorite among bakers looking for a win at the Farm Show

Apple pie a favorite among bakers looking for a win at the Farm Show

HARRISBURG — A Lackawanna County woman who thinks outside the pie crust won the Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Contest Saturday on the opening day of the 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Susanna Haines of Madison Township beat 74 other pie bakers from throughout the state to win the contest, which is considered the Super Bowl of Pennsylvania baking.

Haines, who likes fruit, made a blueberry, apple and peach pie, which the five judges declared the best in the state. She won $500, a blue ribbon and bragging rights.

Rounding out the top five winners were Peggy Vincent of Stroudsburg, second place and $250; RoseAnn Scheurer of Nazareth, third place and $100; Jim McConnel of New Florence, fourth place and a ribbon; and Ardeth Patterson of Latrobe, fifth place and a ribbon.

The contest, sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs and the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program, is only open to certified first place winners from Pennsylvania’s community and county agricultural fairs the previous years

Contestants watched intently as judges went about their tasty chore, sampling each entry and evaluating it on appearance, color, flavor and texture of crust, doneness of bottom crust, consistency, doneness and flavor of filling.

As judges tasted, contestants talked about baking.

Faye Resinger of Loysville, who took first place in the apple pie contest at the Perry County Fair, entered her favorite apple pie, which uses Granny Smith apples. Asked the secret to a good apple pie, she smiled.

“I use Crisco and ice water in my crust,” she said. “I chill the crust dough while I make the filling. I add a beaten egg, some flour, vanilla, white sugar, brown sugar, salt and baking powder to the filling. It’s also important to cut the apples small.”

Stacie Hart of Muncy made an apple sticky bun pie because “I like apples and I like sticky buns so I put them together. I made sticky bun goo, tossed the apples in and put the goo on top.”

Hart said contestants need to “figure what people like and make it. In 2013, I made an apple blackberry cheesecake pie because people like cheesecake. I got fourth prize that year.”

Connie Shuff of York, a frequent winner and sometimes judge, made a cinnamon bun apple pie with an oil crust. Shuff, author of the “Connie’s Creations and Collectables” cookbook, said she uses Yellow Delicious apples.

Kevin Bieber, contest coordinator and announcer, said the apple pie contest is popular with bakers and the public alike.

“Apple pie is a classic, an American tradition,” he said. “We have a real mix of pies, apples with cranberries, raisins, cherries, pecans and blueberries.” He said the public enjoys the free pie samples given out at the contest conclusion.

Haines’ prizewinning recipe:

Blueberry-Apple-Peach Pie

Crust Ingredients:

• 1 egg

• 3 cups flour

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 1/2 cups shortening

• 1 tablespoon vinegar

• 5 tablespoons cold water

Directions:

Mix together salt and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in cold shortening until the size of peas.

Beat egg with a fork in a small cup, add vinegar and water and whisk until well blended. Add the water and egg mixture gradually to the flour mixture. Shape into ball. Refrigerate at least one hour. Roll out dough.

Filling Ingrediants:

• 8 cups sliced apples

• 2 cups sliced peaches

• 1 T. lemon juice

• 3/4 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup pie filling enhancer

• 1 tablespoon cornstarch

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 cup blueberries

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

In large bowl, place apples and peaches. Add lemon juice and toss to coat.

In medium bowl, mix sugar, pie filling enhancer, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle over apples and peaches, toss to mix well. Gently stir in blueberries and vanilla. Spoon into crust.

Crumb topping ingredients:

• 1 cup flour

• 2/3 cup brown sugar

• 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup cold butter

• 1/2 teaspoon milk

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put all crumb topping ingredients except milk in a medium bowl, then use pastry blender to cut in butter until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Sprinkle toping on pie and press down lightly. Make lattice top and brush with milk. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for one hour or until crust is golden brown and apples are soft.

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