Tag Archives: fair

Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie

After taking a few years off from entering any of my pies in the local fair, I decided it was time to get back to it. I entered the State Two Crusted Apple Pie Contest, because I figured go big or go home! The rules stated that you could have other flavors added in as long as it was predominantly apple, so I decided to mix it up a bit so that my pie would stand out to the judges. I chose to develop a recipe using maple syrup and maple sugar because it’s a little bit different but still a traditional apple pie. I did a few trials, with feedback from my parents, brothers and sister in law (who are all apple connoisseurs) and my mother in law (who used to win all the baking contests and then became a judge at the fair). I also had my husband and picky kids as enthusiastic testers! I loved all the constructive criticism they gave me, because that made the pie so much better. My goals were to have a flaky, buttery crust that was golden brown and cooked well on the bottom, and tender, juicy (but not too juicy) flavorful apples. I pulled out all my tricks and got a delicious pie!


  • 3 cups flour
  • 12 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/3 cup cold shortening
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 Tbsp ice water

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except water and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.

2. With the food processor running, pour in the water one tablespoon at a time until it forms into a ball.

3. Separate the dough in half, form into disks, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.


  • 6 large apples, Cortland and McIntosh, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (granulated)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour

Other ingredients for putting it all together

  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened and divided
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water added
  • 2 Tbsp maple sugar (granulated)

Make the pie!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

2. Grease a 10″ pie pan with 1 Tbsp of the softened butter. This is one of my tricks to get a nicely browned bottom crust.

3. Combine all the filling ingredients in a big bowl.

4. Roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pan. Pile in the filling, leaving behind some of the juices that accumulate in the bowl so it’s not too runny. Pile it high! I like a lot of apples.

5. Dot the top of the apples with the remaining 2 Tbsp of softened butter.

6. Roll out the top crust and place it on top. Crimp the edges and cut a hole in the middle for a vent. In my family’s farm market, we carve designs into the tops of the pies so we can tell them apart. The apple design is three sheaves of wheat, and I find it’s impossible for me to make an apple pie without that design on top! That’s how I know it’s apple!

7. Brush on the egg wash and sprinkle on the maple sugar. Place on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment to catch the drips, and place it in the middle of the oven.

8. Bake for an hour, then move the pie to the bottom rack for 10 minutes to finish cooking the bottom crust. Finally, move it to the top rack to nicely brown the top for about 10 minutes. It’s done when the filling bubbles out and the crust is golden brown.

9. Let the pie cool for at least an hour before slicing so it’s not too runny. Or go ahead and eat it if you can’t wait! Serve with a couple slices or sharp cheddar cheese, or vanilla ice cream on top.

So after all that work, I got second place at my local fair. I was busy (I do have a job and three kids) and only baked one instead of doing a back up pie, and I got a huge crack in the crust! I lost points on the appearance, and ended up losing by one point! My pie scored highest for crust, flavor and texture though! Lesson learned, bake two and enter the prettier one. And eat the other! Next year I’m going to try again. The winner at the local fair goes on to compete at the state level.

I also entered my old favorite, Butternut Squash Pie, and won a blue ribbon for it. That pie is always a winner!

We brought the Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie to Thanksgiving this year and my family loved it. If you try the recipe, let me know how you like it!


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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Recipes

Ford 960

tractor pull 006

  • Driver: My brother Jon
  • Restored by: My dad and brothers Jon and Nate
  • 1955 Ford 960
  • 4 cylinder gas engine
  • 40 Horsepower
  • 4446 lbs (with driver)
  • 1955 price- $2561
  • Current price- NOT FOR SALE

tractor pull 012

This is Jon in his second tractor pull.  He pulled lots of wheelies throughout.  He had two full pulls in the 4500lb weight class, and went out at over 7000lbs, which was an improvement from the first time.


Filed under Local Agriculture

Can I ever go back?

Walking around the fair today, I was repeatedly reminded of my eco-conscience.

I drank bottled water and wished I had thought to bring my reusable stainless steel bottle.  I didn’t want to use the plastic, but it was hot and I was thirsty.  Plus I’m still trying to skip HFCS (that’s another story), so I didn’t want to get a soda in a paper cup.  I was happy at least that recycling was easy.

I spotted all the litter on the ground and wanted to pick it up (but of course I didn’t).  I wondered how much litter and trash would be generated by the end of the fair and where it would go.

I watched the tractor pull and thought about carbon emissions.  I thought about how much energy went into pulling that sled of weights back and forth.  But I was still proud of my brother for pulling about 8,000lbs with his tractor.

I pondered, while skipping the line to the ladies’ room and heading to the portapotty, which is better for the environment? The portapotty uses less water but more chemicals, so I couldn’t decide which was better, but there wasn’t a line there.  I worried about creating a super-bug as I used the hand sanitizer, but didn’t want to skip it either.

I browsed through dresses at a vendor’s tent and commented that they’re probably made in sweatshops.  How else could they be so cheap?

I watched the horse pull and felt bad for the jumpy horses, getting yelled at and slapped on the butt.  My dad has always said that competitive pulling is cruel to the horses and I would tend to agree, but I still like to watch for a little while and check out the pretty animals.

I saw a lot of parents smoking around their kids and wondered what they were thinking.  It’s not BPA people, it’s not debatable or new science.  Cigarettes kill.

I looked at agricultural exhibits, animals, food preservation, crafts, photography, and the baking competition.  This glimpse of a simpler way of life was juxtaposed with the midway’s spinning rides and shouting carnies.  I wish the midway wasn’t there, but felt a sadness knowing that most people wouldn’t go if there weren’t rides and cheap prizes to win.

When I got home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could ever go back.  Go back to the way things used to be, when I could enjoy an event without the stream of eco-consciousness running through the back of my mind.  Although I didn’t make all of the best eco-choices while I was there, I was keenly aware of what I was choosing to do: throw out paper plates and napkins, recycle water bottles, and take breaths of second-hand smoke simply because I couldn’t get away from it. 

I realize of course that I can never go back.  I can never un-learn what I know about the environment and how my everyday actions impact the earth.  With that knowledge comes a responsibility to act, to make good choices.  And I feel like I do make good choices most of the time, but I need to accept that I can’t choose the best option all of the time and I can’t be so hard on myself, or on others.


Filed under Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

Best in Show

Not for the pie…  The butternut squash pie got a blue ribbon, but was beat out by a coconut cream pie for Best in Show.  I should have retired her a champion after last year.  Well, there’s always Durham next week.  Honestly, though, Durham is big time and I’ll be very happy with any ribbon there.

fair 003

But I did win Best in Show for my Caramel Apple Butter.  I was shocked… I almost didn’t enter it for a variety of reasons: I only had one jar left from last fall; I only entered it as an afterthought when I was filling out the canning form for the jellies; It has teeny air bubbles and I wasn’t pleased with how it looks.  Well, I guess the judges liked it.  Maybe it was the name, or that it was unique.  Either way, I’m pretty excited about it!

The strawberry jelly won a blue ribbon, and I really felt like that was my best canned item, definitely better than the caramel apple butter.  The peach jelly also won a blue ribbon.

Finally, the baby afghan got second prize, but was beat out by a gorgeous afghan, so that’s fine with me.


Filed under Home, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

A Fair is a Veritable Schmorgasboard…

Sunday Stroll


Filed under Local Agriculture, Outside

Guilford Fair Parade

Lining up the tractors.

Nathaniel and Jonathan stand by their restored tractor.

The first of many fife and drum corps.

The beginning of the tractors.  This one was pulling 4 hay wagons full of kids, pumpkins, mums, decorations and a few cows.

A restored Farmall that belongs to our neighbors.

My brother Jonathan on their tractor.

I told Ed that this is the kind of tractor I want him to restore for us! A two-seater!

The middle school color guard.  The high school and middle school bands and cheerleaders did a great job as well.

4-H members and llamas.

One of the elementary schools had little covered wagons that sported “Go Green or Bust” signs.

The theme of the parade this year was “Cowboys,” as you can see from this float.

The library float.

More fife and drum corps.

Even more fife and drum corps.

We all enjoyed the parade, including my mom! Then it was off to the fair!


Filed under Local Agriculture, Outside