MUNCY - Baking is a favorite past time that just keeps getting better for local woman, Stacie Hart of Mill Creek Township. For the past 18 years she has been a business owner, but in the last two years Hart is becoming more widely known for her cakes and pies.
For two consecutive years, Hart has brought home two first place blue ribbons from the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. Not only was Hart a winning contestant, but she was also a judge for the 2017 show in the cake category. "I was asked last year by Karen Dobson after winning the cake contest," she said. Hart was excited and proud to be one of six judges for "this award winning panel."
This year Stacie wanted to enter the pie contest and perfected her winning recipe twenty times before it came out "just right." There were 78 pies that she had to compete with from all over the state, and when her name was called for 1st place in the pie contest, she said her husband who accompanied her, jumped high for joy. "He is my biggest fan," she said as he captured the entire scene on video.
Another blue ribbon was won by Stacie Hart from Muncy at this year's state Farm Show in Harrisburg. Last year she won for her chocolate cake recipe and this year she won for her apple cranberry cheese pie.
She had won fourth place in 2013 in the state for her apple pie, so this year was extraordinary, having won a blue ribbon two years in a row. "I brought back the crust and mixed in three different kinds of apples." She also added whole cranberries cooked to perfection and a layer of cream cheese topped with an apple crumb mixture.
It took her 14 hours prior to the day of the show to prepare. She left Muncy with two pies (in case one faltered on the way) and arrived Friday, January 6th from 9 to 4. "I got up at 4 a.m. and was on the road by 6," she announced.
Although Stacie won another blue ribbon and the $500 to go with it, she said one of her biggest moments was being a judge. "It took two hours to judge 74 cakes." Hart said she judged the cakes on Saturday, January 7th in Harrisburg at the State Farm show. Each judge had a table of 12 to 15 cakes and had to narrow them down to the top two using a point basis for each category.
Hart related that there was a lot to judge from moistness to doneness, appearance and even the icing. As a baker, Hart said she knew what to look for when judging. "I tasted the cakes in different parts using all of the senses," she said. "Some were more moist than others, some more dry."
Hart was also proud to know her heritage came from two aunts and a grandmother who operated and owned "The Pie House" a well known small cottage like house that baked pies during the 60s in the Gettysburg area. They would bake and deliver 400 pies a day according to Hart who took up the trade when she was 18 when she made her first batch of apple butter.
Hart has been a state farm contestant for the past 8 years, entering all baked goods. She said she has never won before until last year and felt good about it. "Some have been doing this for 20 years and never won," she replied. "I put everything into that cake last year. The filling was awesome, moist and chocolaty. I did the same thing this year for the pie."
For this year Stacie said she got some ideas from last year's show after winning the best cake recipe. "I wanted to do a pie with homemade spices using cardamon, cloves and cinnamon. "It gives it a nice spicy, warm flavor."
Will she enter again next year? "You bet," she said and has been working on an angel food cake recipe for 2018.
She also said she wants to be a judge at the Lycoming County fair in July. With over 300 copies sold, look for Stacie's cookbook, "Recipes from the Hart" written in 2013. Hart is currently working on a second book to be released this October, and she is going to dedicate it to her husband, John.