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Crust a must

August 18, 2004|By ANDREA ROWLAND

LEITERSBURG ? Carl and Evalyn Henry were the big winners at the 2004 Leitersburg Peach Festival peach pie contest Saturday, Aug. 14 ? and they didn't even enter a pie.

They got to eat the champions.

Continuing his long-standing tradition of bidding on the first-place winners in the contest's open- and closed-faced categories, Carl Henry of Hagerstown once again fulfilled his wife's peach pie birthday wish. This year the couple went home with Jared Stottlemyer's double-crust pie and Lisa Lunny's single-crust creation.

The contest's three judges ? Joe Lietuvnikas of Leitersburg, his son, Steve Lietuvnikas of Keedysville, and John Cusic of Baltimore ? chose Stottlemyer's deep-dish peach pie and Lunny's peaches-and-pudding pie as the first-place winners from among seven entries.


Contest organizer Tim McCoy of Leitersburg Grange No. 361 advised the judges to rate the entrants on a scale of 1 to 10 for taste, texture and appearance. The pie with the highest combined score in each category was deemed the winner.

Second-year judge Joe Lietuvnikas said his task was tough.

"Who says what a peach pie should taste like? You better have an open mind when you go into this," he said. "It's about what absolutely tastes the best to you. And the way they look makes a big difference."

First-time judges Cusic and Steve Lietuvnikas said their love of all things pie qualified them for the challenge at hand.

"I'm a big fan of pie," said Lietuvnikas, 25. While the other judges evaluated a bite from each pie slice on their plates, he forked the entire sample of each entry into his mouth "to get the full effect."

The judges had one simple suggestion to improve next year's contest: Vanilla ice cream, instead of water, to cleanse their palates between each sample.

"Most people eat vanilla ice cream with pie, so it's an acceptable combination," Joe Lietuvnikas said.

Dynamite double-crust pie

Jared Stottlemyer's double-crust peach pie earned top honors from the judges.

Stottlemyer, 22, of Hagerstown, entered his first pie contest with a recipe he received while attending Boonsboro High School and modified to his tastes.

Stottlemyer, who completed two years of culinary training at Washington County Technical High School, said he was surprised to win first place for a pie he's made only once before.

"I usually make custard pies," he said, but added that his co-workers at Rentals Unlimited in Hagerstown raved about the peach pie he brought to the office.

Stottlemyer credited his pie's flaky crust to his use of just enough ice water to hold the dough together and an hour's worth of refrigeration before rolling. He also suggested using firm peaches. He attributed his pie's slightly runny filling to the sweet but soft fruit he purchased from a Smithsburg orchard and the fact that he baked the pie the morning of the contest ? perhaps not giving it enough time to set.

Stottlemyer's proud family ? including his mother, grandmother, wife and 6-week-old daughter ? showered him with congratulations after McCoy announced his win.

"He's a great cook and a great husband," wife Cara Stottlemyer said. "He even works all day then comes home and cooks for us."

Dreamy peaches and cream

Lisa Lunny, 31, of Waynesboro, Pa., garnered a first-place win in the single-crust category for the second consecutive year for her Peaches and Cream Pie.

"I was going to do something different, but this pie was so good last year," said Lunny, a retail store manager who has been entering pies in the contest for the past seven or eight years. "Next year I'm definitely going to try something different."

Lunny said her parents nurtured her culinary talents growing up, and she's not afraid to experiment with recipes. She substituted half-and-half for the milk called for in her winning pie to create a richer dessert, and added more almond extract to give the pie a distinctive flavor. The Peaches and Cream Pie also would taste great in a graham cracker crust or topped with toasted almonds, she said.

The contest's first-place winners each received $10 in cash, while second- and third-place winners earned $5 cash prizes. Second-place winners Mary Ellen Bowers of Scotland, Pa., and Sylvia Henry of Shippensburg, Pa., said they would have enjoyed participating in the contest even if they didn't win prizes.

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