NEW CASTLE —
It took Libby Miller 50 years to master the art of making a pie crust.
All of a sudden, “it just clicked,” she said.
Now, 12 years later, she’s going great guns with her apple pies at the Lawrence County Fair.
The 62-year-old Hickory Township woman got a call from her daughter-in-law yesterday, telling her she’d done it again — she won the blue ribbon apple pie contest for the second year in a row.
She actually used a different recipe this year, throwing some apple pie spices into the crust and making homemade toffee that she placed on top of the apples before adding the top crust.
The toffee is hard, but when it bakes it melts inside the pie, she explained.
The judges were pleased, judging from the sole sliver that was left in the pie plate when it was put on display on a shelf inside the Grange Hall.
She’s been entering the pie contest for several years, and every year she makes a different recipe.
Apple isn’t the only type of pie she bakes. She loves her chocolate ones the best, and so does her boyfriend, Jim Glaister, whom she says has a sweet tooth.
Glaister also took on the baking challenge this year and won a blue ribbon in the men’s cake category for his red velvet cake. He was one of about four contestants.
“It’s the first one he ever made from scratch,” Miller said.
Glaister’s son, Christopher “Kit” Glaister, placed second in the men’s competition, and his sister, Chelsea, won the special chocolate cake contest.
Miller was one of eight contestants in the apple pie contest.
She won $5 for her effort, along with a gift certificate from the Apple Castle, which helps sponsor the local judging event.
Miller is honing her baking skills in preparation for the state farm show in January, where blue-ribbon apple pie winners from county fairs throughout the state will compete with each other for the grand prize of $500.
“We plan to go together to Harrisburg,” she said, adding she is hopeful that this pie recipe will fare well there, too.
She entered the state contest last year after winning locally and placed in the top 25, out of about 100 entrants.
“It’s a very good recipe. I’m happy with it,” she said.
She used a mixture of Macintosh, early Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith and a Crisp Pink. She bought some of her apples at Soergel Orchards in Wexford, some in Grove City and some at the Apple Castle in Wilmington Township.
Her winning recipe follows:
Mmmmmm Toffee Apple Pie
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- dash of salt
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 cup Crisco shortening, chilled
- 5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour, salt and spice together, add Crisco. Cut with pastry blender to pea-sized particles. Add ice water and mix with pastry blender until just combined. Divide into two balls, flatten each and put them into plastic zipper bags and refrigerate while preparing apples, or overnight.
Take one disc and roll onto floured Silpat (silicone baking mat) to correct size and put into pie pan.
Keep other disc refrigerated until use.
- 5 cups mixed apples, pared, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped homemade toffee candy
- 3 heaping tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
**Sugar in the Raw and milk for decoration
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix sugar, flour, spice and cinnamon together Add to prepared apple slices and mix gently until covered. Put apples into prepared pie shell.
Top with chopped toffee candy (brickle chips may be used). Roll out top crust and place on top of pie.
Cut decoration on top if desired. Crimp edges and cut slits for venting. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with about 5 packages of Sugar in the Raw.
Place in center of oven and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife into one of the slits.
- 2 sticks butter
- 8 ounces white sugar
- 1/5 ounce water
- dash of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Melt butter, sugar, water and salt together in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring gently until temperature reaches 298 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Stir in vanilla.
Remove from heat and pour on to Silpat on cookie sheet and let cool. Break into pieces.