Dessert stalkers lie in weight
MUNCY – When Stacie Hart carries her pies and cakes to the monthly suppers at Trinity UM Church in Pennsdale, eyes are upon her. “I was even followed once by a man who asked if he could buy the pie,” Hart said. Another gentleman remarked that, “I wait until you come then watch where your desserts are placed.”
This month at the 100th annual Farm Show in Harrisburg, the taste buds of local connoisseurs were affirmed when Hart’s chocolate cake received a blue ribbon, beating out 79 competitors. With her husband Steve at her side, they watched the judging. “Usually the judge takes one bite; when sampling mine, she took three bites. We couldn’t decide if that was a good or bad sign. When they announced the winning cake was from Lycoming County, my husband jumped higher than I’d ever seen.”
Husband Jon and his co-workers at Penn College play a very important part in the process of vying for perfection. As the taste testers they are implored to give truthful input. Customers at her hair salon are often taste testers too. “At the shop, I always have the food channel on my television,” Hart said. “It was from the Barefoot Contessa show that I learned that by adding coffee, it would bring out the chocolate flavor.”
Instead of adding layers of icing, she decided to use a filling using mascarpone, buttermilk, crushed coconut cookies, powdered sugar and dark chocolate. “It is a most moist and delicious cake,” Hart said.
“I’ve always loved to bake. When I began winning contests my dad said I’d inherited my baking genes from his side of the family. Grandma Lily Sites lived in Fairfield near Gettysburg, and operated a business called ‘The Pie House.’ Grandma and her two daughters baked 400 pies a day delivering them to homes, stores, even across the state line in Maryland,” she said.
The Muncy resident published a cookbook titled, ‘Recipes from the Hart’, and she is currently working on a sequel. “My husband is so supportive of my efforts, he’s my best bud,” she said.
Another supporter is Deb Steransky, Superintendent of the Grange Building at the Lycoming County Fair. “We are very proud and happy for her,” Steransky said, noting Hart has participated at the county level for many years. “Apple pie, angel food cake, and chocolate cake are categories adults may enter. One year she won in two categories and went on to states.” In 2013, Hart placed fourth at state level with her pie.
Back at the Pennsdale United Methodist Church on Sunday, January 10, during the sharing of ‘Joys and Concern’ segment, Cathy Dauberman stood up and gave her joyful congratulations to Hart. “She’s like a second mom to me and I value her support,” Hart said.
Hart has become the darling of the media, giving interviews to newspapers and television stations. Hart says she’ll place her big blue ribbon in the center of a rack full of other ribbons, cherishing this as not only the top prize, but doing so during the Farm Show’s Centennial year.