September 2010 Issue
Find some of the state's best pies, breads and pastries in Amish communities.
Jessica Esemplare and Colleen Kennedy
From big restaurants to roadside markets, it’s no secret that Ohio’s Amish communities have some of the best baked goods in the state. And as the weather grows colder, nothing beats a warm slice of pie with a cool scoop of ice cream or a seasonal pumpkin treat. In honor of autumn, we asked six bakeries in Amish Country to share some of their favorite recipes with us.
Mary Slabaugh’s bakery in Hardin County can be difficult to find, but once you do, you’ll find it’s well worth the drive. Located in Kenton, the heart of northwest Ohio’s Old Order Amish Country, Mary’s is filled with freshly baked pies, from the basics, like apple, to the unique, like pineapple, strawberry rhubarb and raisin.
Mary says that her love of cooking started early when, as a little girl, she baked with her sisters and sold their goods from home. Now, Mary’s family farm has turned into a market with fresh eggs, produce, cheese, honey, candy, jams, jellies, noodles and even some Amish-made crafts. But the sign outside the red metal barn where she sells her goods simply reads “Mary’s Bakery,” and food lovers find their way to her establishment to buy pies, cookies, brownies and seasonal treats like pumpkin rolls and zucchini bread. Slabaugh also sells her baked goods by special order, which means that customers have to go the extra mile to make their requests either by foot or by snail mail. True to her beliefs, Mary doesn’t have a telephone.
Mary’s is open five days a week until 6 p.m., but it’s best to get there early, especially during warmer months. The heat of the afternoon makes baking difficult for Mary and her small staff, and items fly off the shelves quickly. On your way to Mary’s Bakery, keep an eye out for other home businesses offering everything from fresh produce to furniture. — JE
Mary’s Bakery, 12813 Co. Rd. 265, Kenton 43326; Mon.–Tues., Thur.–Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m. For directions, call the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, 419/673-4131.
Adapted from Mary Slabaugh’s recipe
Makes 2 pies
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs (unbeaten)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/2 cup warm water
2 unbaked 8-inch pie crusts
3 cups pecans, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, corn syrup, melted butter and warm water and mix well. Layer bottom of two unbaked pie crusts with 1-1/2 cups of pecans each. Pour filling mixture over the top of the pecans. Bake for 35 minutes. Do not overbake.
Kuntry Korner Bakery
The white Kuntry Korner Bakery sign on the corner of St. Rte. 39 and Co. Rd. 51 in Holmes County plainly lists zucchini bread, maple syrup, pies and bread. But pull into one of the handful of parking spaces and you’ll soon discover there isn’t anything lackluster about this small, white building. Authentically Amish, perfectly baked goodies are displayed on shelves adjacent to the open kitchen, each a reward for visiting the building that might easily have been missed.
Since taking over the family business in 1999, owner Edna Raber operates the same way her mother did when the bakery first opened in 1970. Each morning, she and husband Eli fire up the ovens and get to work rolling dough by 3 a.m. By 8 a.m., she’ll already have three or four dozen pies filled with apple, peach, black raspberry and custard cooling on racks.
The menu changes based on what ingredients are in season but — in addition to pies — it always includes a wide array of items like pecan, cinnamon and dinner rolls; loaves of bread; cookies; jellies; maple syrup; homemade noodles; honey; and angel food cakes in 13 unique flavors, including cherry nut, grape, chocolate, maple nut, blueberry and watermelon.
Cream pies are available by order only and, given that the bakery doesn’t have a phone, customers need to send a letter or drop by to request chocolate peanut butter, coconut, butterscotch or lemon.
The majority of Edna’s customers are locals, the same people who have frequented the bakery since 1970, so your best chance at the freshest, most diverse selection will be early in the day. — CK
Kuntry Korner Bakery, 12305 St. Rte. 39, Big Prairie 44611; Tues.–Sat. 7 a.m.–6 p.m. (closes earlier if items sell out)
French Rhubarb Pie
Adapted from Edna Raber’s recipe
Makes 2 pies
2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup Perma-Flow* or flour
2 eggs and 2 teaspoons
6 cups diced rhubarb
2 unbaked pie shells
1-1/2 cups pastry flour
1 cup brown sugar
6 ounces margarine
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine sugar and Perma-Flow or flour. Beat eggs and vanilla together and add to sugar and Perma-Flow or flour mixture, then add rhubarb and pour into pie shells. Mix the crumb ingredients together until crumbly and sprinkle on the pie. Place pie in the oven and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes.
* Perma-Flow is a thickening agent commonly found in Amish stores.
Troyer’s Dutch Heritage Restaurant
Troyer’s, like many Amish businesses, is about more than just its bakery — there’s also a restaurant, gift shop and miniature golf course. But the fresh pies and doughnuts baked daily are a major draw. Located just off I-71, Troyer’s is an easy detour for people traveling between Cleveland and Columbus.
Without fail, bakers begin making the bakery items — from recipes that originate in Amish bakeries in Holmes County — at midnight every day, so that they are fresh first thing in the morning.
While you’re there, you’ll also want to check out the Amish meats, cheeses, jams and jellies available for sale. — JE
Troyer’s Dutch Heritage Restaurant, 720 St. Rte. 97 W., Bellville 44813, 419/886-7070. troyersdutchheritage.com
. Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Courtesy of Troyer’s Dutch Heritage Restaurant
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs (beaten)
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin (canned)
16 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup salted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar and pumpkin and add to the dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly. Spray or grease a 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan, line with wax paper, and spray or grease again. Pour batter on waxed paper and spread evenly. Bake for 14 minutes or until roll springs back when touched. Remove the cake to a clean towel liberally sprinkled with powdered sugar. Roll cake up in the towel and allow to cool.
For filling, beat cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Unroll the pumpkin cake and spread the filling evenly on top. Carefully roll up (without towel) to form the finished pumpkin roll. Chill in refrigerator for one hour. Slice and serve.
Miller’s Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Foods
Some might call Miller’s Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Foods in Adams County a one-stop shop for Amish goods, but it didn’t start out that way.
In 1977, Harry and Lydia Miller often baked with their six children, and soon people from all around started buying their baked goods. Later, their son Gerold and his wife, Becky, took over the baking and bought a small shop to sell the goods. From there, they expanded to furniture, cheese, bulk food, canned goods and more. Now, three of the Millers’ sons and one daughter run the business, with a grandson helping as well.
And the pies that made them famous are still some of their best sellers. The bread, pastries and pies are made fresh daily using many of Lydia’s original recipes.
Larry Miller, Harry and Lydia’s son who is now in charge of the bakery, says that about 50 percent of the pie recipes are from his mom, but he’s always on the lookout for something new, like the fried pies that they started selling last fall. The old standbys, however, are always popular.
“A lot of people come back and say, ‘We need one of Mrs. Miller’s custard pies,’” he says. —JE
Miller’s Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Foods, 960 Wheat Ridge Rd., West Union 45693, 937/544-8524. ohiotraveler.com/ohio_amish_stores.htm
. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Adapted from the Miller family’s recipe
Makes 3 loaves
6-1/2 cups cake flour
3-3/4 cups white sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3.4-ounce package of instant vanilla pudding mix
2-1/2 cups vegetable oil
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/2 teaspoons black walnut
3 cups milk
1-3/4 cups chopped black walnuts
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pudding mix. In a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, black walnut flavoring and milk and beat well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and combine. Mix in black walnuts.
Grease three 4-1/2-by-10-inch loaf pans. Pour batter into pans. In a small bowl, mix together white sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 40 minutes. You can also drizzle the bread with your favorite glaze.
The picturesque border that runs along the dining room wall of Grandma’s Homestead doesn’t do justice to the real-life scenery you’ll pass on your drive to the restaurant itself. The food on the other hand, more than lives up to the cultures that influence it.
Located in the quaint village of Charm in Holmes County, a town so small your GPS will have trouble finding it, Grandma’s Homestead offers traditional Amish food with hints of both German and Swiss influence.
Owner Ann DeHass grew up on a Holmes County dairy farm where she often cooked with her mother. Consequently, the homestead’s menu contains many recipes that originated from or were adapted by Ann and her family.
Though Grandma’s Homestead doesn’t sell take-home pies, when you order the daily special, you’ll get a free dessert. Enjoy a slice of cherry, blackberry, pecan, chocolate peanut butter, peach, coconut cream or lemon meringue pie, among others. Additional dessert options include rice pudding, date cake and “buggy stomps” — a milkshake made with homemade ice cream and mix-ins such as fruit, nuts, candies and hot fudge.
On your way out, take a minute to peruse the small stock of for-sale items, including the homestead’s own jams, peanut butter spreads, caramel sauce and salad dressings, in addition to locally made soaps and unique clocks fashioned from non-traditional items, such as a vintage View-Master. —CK
Grandma’s Homestead, 4450 St. Rte. 557, Charm 44617, 330/893-2717. grandmashomestead.com
. Summer hours: Mon.–Sat. 7:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; winter hours: Mon.–Sat. 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Grandma’s Fresh Peach Open Face Pie
Adapted from Ann DeHass’ recipe
Makes one 10-inch, deep-dish pie
1 cup hot water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Karo syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup cold water
4 teaspoons Clear Jel*
3 tablespoons peach Jell-O
7 heaping cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (about 6–7 peaches)
Pie crust (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring hot water, granulated sugar, Karo syrup and butter to a boil. Dissolve Clear Jel or cornstarch in cold water, then add to boiling mixture. Stir constantly with a wire whisk until mixture is smooth, clear and thickened. Remove from heat and add Jell-O. Gently toss with peaches.
Form crust by mixing two cups of crumbs with five tablespoons of water/egg/vinegar mixture (see directions below). Form into a ball, then roll dough out onto a floured board into an 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick to fit a 10-inch deep-dish glass pie pan. Gently place crust in pie pan. Prick along the sides and bottom with a fork. Bake crust for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, then add filling. Place pie in the refrigerator for one to two hours to allow filling to set. Top with fresh whipped cream if desired.
Pie Crust Mixture
1-3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons shortening
Mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the butter and shortening, and combine with your fingers until the mixture resembles corn meal. Place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator until very cold. This will keep in the refrigerator for two to four weeks.
In a separate container, mix the following:
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vinegar
Store in the refrigerator for no more than three days.