More recipes you will eat up from the Delaware State Fair.

As I am writing this, the 2013 the Delaware State Fair is behind us and I've turned in the record books for the Culinary Department. We are tired but so excited because once again we had the opportunity to re-connect with our Fair family and to meet new folks and add them to our circle of friendship.

As people picked up their ribbons and score sheets, many of them were talking about what they plan to enter next year. David Powell, our Best of Show-Baked Goods winner, was so excited that he even brought us another one of his Mixed Berry Pies today. (My friend and Culinary Assistant Superintendent Mary Pyott had complained very vocally because she didn't get to taste the pie David entered and won top honors with. The rest of us decided that sometimes it does pay to whine!)

Once you taste this recipe, you'll understand why it was, indeed, judged to be Best of Class and then Best of Show. David and a cousin in the Midwest try to "out-ribbon" each other in their respective State Fairs and next year David's goal is to score top honors in the Coconut Cake Class. (I look forward to tasting that!)

Seven-year-old Yasmin Cruz entered two of our children's competitions – Kidz Using Cake Mix and Creative Kids Cooking – and she earned top honors in each competition. Her award-winning recipe for Kidz Using Cake Mix is a variation of a banana pudding recipe that I think you'll enjoy.

Alexis Dempsey was another first time competitor. This very confident 12 year old tested several recipes before deciding to make Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars when she competed in the Creative Kids Cooking competition that was held this past Friday. We hope we'll be seeing more of both Yasmin and Alexis in the years ahead for they are very capable and knowledgeable young bakers.

David Powell's Mixed Berry Pie

Pastry for Double Crust Pie:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup shortening

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoon "iced water"

Pie Filling:

1 cup fresh strawberries (quartered)

2 cups fresh raspberries

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

Combine flour and salt together. Blend together the shortening and flour mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and blend after each addition. Divide dough in half and form into a ball. Refrigerate until ready to use. In a large mixing bowl combine strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Stir fruit together, adding the sugar and cornstarch. Allow fruit to stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Lay foil down on bottom rack to catch any drippings. Roll out the bottom dough and line pie pan with this pastry. Spoon in fruit mixture. Dot fruit with small pieces of the butter. Roll out and add top crust and flute. Bake for approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Look for brownness. Cool on a wire rack.

Yasmin Cruz' Banana Poke Cake


1 (2-layer) yellow cake mix

4 eggs

2/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup milk

1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix


2 small boxes instant banana pudding mix

4 cups milk

Sliced bananas

1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed

20 'Nilla Wafers, crushed to crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and set aside a 9x13-inch baking pan. Cake: start with the yellow cake mix. Empty into a large mixing bowl. Add one more egg than recommended on the box recipe (total of the 4 eggs). Use the melted butter instead of the oil that the recipe calls for and double the amount (to 2/3 cup). Instead of water, use milk and then add the dry vanilla pudding mix. Mix to blend well. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake according to timing directions on cake mix package. Once cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for just a couple of minutes. Then, using a wooden spoon handle or some other similarly-sized object, begin poking holes in the top of the cake. You want the holes to be fairly big so that the pudding has plenty of room to get down in there. Be sure to poke right down to the bottom of the cake. Pour the two dry banana pudding cake mixes into a mixing bowl and beat in milk just until all the lumps are gone. Let pudding sit for about 2 minutes or so until slightly thickened but not fully set – it should still be pourable. Pour pudding over cake and be sure you get as much pudding into the holes as possible. Slice bananas on top of the pudding and then spread on the whipped topping. If you haven't done so already, crush your 'nilla wafers. Leave some of the pieces big. It's nice to have a bit of a crunch when you eat the cake. Sprinkle crushed wafers evenly over top of the cake and refrigerate.

Alexis Dempsey's Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars


1 (16-ounce) package Oreo cookies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


3 (8-ounce) bricks low fat cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the shorter ends. Spray with cooking spray. Make the crust: Place 28 Oreos in a food processor and process until finely ground. Pour into a large bowl; add the melted butter and stir with a flexible spatula until all crumbs are moistened. Place the cookie crumb mixture in the lined pan and, using your fingers, press the mixture firmly and evenly onto the bottom. Bake 10 minutes and then remove to a wire cooking rack while you make the filling – LEAVE OVEN ON! Snap the remaining Oreos in half and put them in the food processor and turn on and off quickly a few times to roughly chop the cookies. Make the filling: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed beat the cream cheese and sugar until well blended – about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a flexible spatula and beat again until uniform. Beat in sour cream, vanilla and salt. Scrape down the bowl and mix again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. After beating in the last egg, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and bat one more time to make sure the mixture is fully combined. Stir in the chopped Oreos with the same spatula. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the baked cookie crust. Smooth the top with the spatula and bake for 40 minutes until the filling is set around the edges but still slightly wobbly in the center when you gently shake the pan. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool to room temperature – about 1 hour. When cool cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until chilled – at least 3 hours. (I chilled mine overnight.) To cut, use the foil overhang to lift the cheesecake out of the pan and place on a large cutting board. Use a sharpened chef's knife to cut the cheesecake into bars, rinsing off the knife with hot water and wiping it dry between each cut. Keep bars refrigerated until ready to serve.