Bake a winner: Ag Expo champions share their recipes

August 31, 1999|By KATE COLEMAN

"SOME PIG!" is what the spider wove in her web in E.B. White's classic children's book "Charlotte's Web."

Had Charlotte been at Washington County Ag Expo viewing the Home Arts Baking Competition, her web might have said "TERRIFIC" about Reva Souders' grand champion Red Velvet Chiffon Cake. Or Charlotte might have woven "RADIANT" about Shannon Bittner's best-of-show Peach Cookies. Perhaps "HUMBLE" would have been used to describe Elizabeth Bittner's grand-champion Cherry Pie.

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A reader requested that we ask the bakers for their recipes.

Elizabeth Bittner, 31, was humble indeed about her winning entry. It was "just a cherry pie," she says. The pie crust recipe is from her mother, Doris Saum.

Bittner says making the pastry is the hardest part of the pie, especially in the summer because of the heat in the kitchen. The Williamsport resident thought the recipe with grenadine syrup and almond extract sounded good.


Her husband, Shannon Bittner, helped to make the winning cookies that look like peaches, so they were entered in his name.

Elizabeth Bittner learned to bake in Saum's kitchen in Maugansville. She makes another cherry pie, her mother's recipe, but adds "a little of this, a little of that" when baking that one.

This was the first year the Bittners competed at Ag Expo. Beginners' luck? Maybe so, but they might be back. "It was a lot of fun," she says.

Souders' secrets

Reva Souders is no beginner when it comes to baking competitions. This is the fourth consecutive year she has baked the grand champion cake at Ag Expo, and, in past years, she took top honors at the Hagerstown Fair and Keedysville Ruritan contest. Other prize cakes were coconut, pecan chiffon and black walnut creations.

She's given her recipes to relatives, but they say the cakes she bakes are better. Is there a secret ingredient?

Souders, 79, thinks it might be the eggs from the chickens she's always had on her Keedysville farm. It seems like the egg whites beat up better than the ones from store-bought eggs, she believes. "You have to beat the egg whites proper," she adds.

Chiffon cakes seem to be Souders' specialty. She cautions that buttermilk and baking soda can't be used for these cakes, and she always uses cream of tartar.

Will Souders be back in Ag Expo competition next year? "I'll bake as long as I'm able," she says.


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