The second week in August is a busy time for a member of the Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times newsroom. We both take off to different ends of the Tri-State Area to cover a county fair.
Mine is the Jefferson County Fair, and Summer Wallace-Minger travels to the Washington County Agricultural Fair. You will notice hers has a longer title.
We have talked at the start of each of the several years that she has made the journey to the Pennsylvania-area fair about the food competition that goes on at her annual event, and I have spoken of mine as well.
WINNER — Jessica Fortunato, granddaughter of Tom and Linda Miller of Avella, won first prize in the apple pie contest at the Washington County Agricultural Fair with her two-crust apple pie. She is the daughter of Frank and Marcy Fortunato of Canonsburg.
-- Summer Wallace-Minger
I have tried many times to change my schedule around a bit to attend her cooking contest, but time would never allow it to happen.
So she provided me with recipes from the event instead. And she might even be using the apple pie recipe when we learn the weight of her grand champion market steer.
We had a wager on which steer would have the highest weight. The steer weighing the least would cause that reporter to bake a pie to bring into the newsroom. Mine, the steer raised by Branden DeFrank of the Wildwood Critters, weighed 1,338 pounds. Now the ball is in her corner. She has to learn the weight of her county steer, and then the pie dough rolling begins.
Here is the apple pie that was a winner for Jessica Fortunato, granddaughter of Tom and Linda Miller of Avella and daughter of Frank and Marcy Fortunato of Canonsburg. She even gave the recipe for the pie crust that is very rich with butter.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
6 cups peeled, sliced cored apples, she suggested three Granny Smith and three McIntosh
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
To make the crust, mix sugar and flour. Then cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the mixture looks crumbly. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, and stir with pastry blender or a fork until all the mixture is moist. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll each into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling: Combine all ingredients except butter. Mix well. Roll the dough into a circle and place into pie pan and trim hanging edges, leaving a little around the edge. Pour filling into lined pie pan. Dot the top of the filling with small pieces of butter. Roll out the other half of dough and place it on top of filling. Trim the edge and seal the bottom and top crusts by pinching them together and crimping the dough. Cut slits in the top crust to release steam. Brush milk over the top crust before baking. Cover the crust edges with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
There is an angel food recipe competition at the fair baking contest, and Kim R. Teichmann of Avella was the winner with a cake that is filled with a fluffy red raspberry mixture and iced with a Seven-Minute Frosting that is very difficult to make, in my opinion.
Raspberry Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cake flour
12 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small box raspberry gelatin
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Move oven rack to lowest point and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine powdered sugar, cake flour and gelatin mix and set aside. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Beat in granulated sugar, two tablespoons at a time, adding vanilla, almond extract and salt with the last of the granulated sugar. Beat until stiff and glossy. Sprinkle flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, into egg mixture and fold in until flour mixture is completely absorbed. Pour batter into a 10-inch tube pan and draw a knife through the batter to release bubbles. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top is springy and the cracks feel dry. Immediately invert pan and allow to cool completely.
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup red raspberry jam or less to taste
Combine cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Stir in jam.
2 unbeaten egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar in bowl over rapidly boiling water, a double boiler if one is available. Beat for seven minutes with whisk or electric mixer. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat until spreading consistency.
Cut two-inch layer off top of cake. Hollow out a tunnel and put filling inside. Replace top of cake and frost top and sides.
Spam was a popular protein back in the 1940s, for both the military and the folks back home. It was fried and served with eggs for breakfast, sliced and put on a cold sandwich or baked in a brown sugar sauce for dinner. Mike Sherman of Hickory, Pa., was a winner in making it the Hawaiian way, with pineapple, green pepper, apricot preserves and rice and putting it on the grill to simmer in aluminum foil. Sounds good to me.
Spam Oh Laui
1 medium green pepper
1 medium sliced onion
2 cups fresh cubed pineapple
Can of Spam
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
Line a disposable pie pan with aluminum foil, leaving extra foil for wrapping it up completely. Combine all ingredients and toss lightly. Close foil and place on a grill for an hour at medium heat. Check for tenderness of vegetables and garnish with coconut before serving if desired.
Note: I would dissolve the cornstarch in the liquid of the soy sauce and vinegar before adding it to the ingredients.
Here is another Spam recipe that was won by an 11-year-old 4-H member, Carly Terensky of Hickory, Pa., in the youth contest. It includes mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, lasagna noodles and of course Spam. I am not sure what Spam Classic is, but I am sure that any can of Spam would do the trick.
Spam-ashed Potato Perogie Casserole
3 pounds freshly made mashed potatoes, can be from your favorite recipe, instant or frozen
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces sour cream
12-ounce can Spam Classic, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 box lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled
1 cup melted butter
Mix freshly made mashed potatoes with shredded cheese, Spam, sour cream, salt and pepper. Set aside. Pour small amount of butter into bottom of a glass dish and spread across entire bottom. Lay three lasagna noodles on bottom of pan, then spoon potato and Spam mixture on top. Place one-third of the onions on top of potato mixture, then cover with another three lasagna noodles. Repeat until there are three layers of noodles and potatoes. Pour remaining butter and onions on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
The winner of the youth Pennsylvania Preferred contest was 13-year-old Marrisa Gottschalk of Prosperity, Pa. These bars are quick to make as there is no mixing of ingredients, quite tasty and ideal for a small treat in the lunch box.
Seven Layer Bars
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in 13-inch by 9-inch pan and melt in oven; coat bottom and sides. Spread crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut over milk. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool.
These are all of Summer's contributions for the fair winners, and each one is a real winner. I will likely try each recipe and maybe enter one or two in our Jefferson County Fair next year.
Now I would like to close with a best of show winner in our Jefferson County Fair pie category. It was made by Dawna Kale and purchased by the McCoy family for $35 in the food auction. She shared the recipe with me and here it is.
3 large eggs
2 cups scalded whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Nutmeg to sprinkle on top, to taste
9-inch pie crust
Beat eggs until light and foamy. Add sugar and salt. Blend well and add scalded milk and vanilla. Brush bottom of pie crust with melted butter, to prevent weeping of the pie filling after it is baked. Pour filling into shell and place desired amount of nutmeg on top, about 1/8 teaspoon should do it. Place on third rack from the bottom of the oven in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes and 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the filling.
Note: My oven only has two racks, so I would put the pie on the rack closest to the bottom of the oven.
The county fairs are over for Summer and me. We only have the memories to last us through until next year. Then there will be more baking winners and more wagers on the weight of grand champion steers. Truthfully, I am looking forward to a piece of Summer's losers pie, not that her pie would be a loser, though.
(McCoy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)