The Lake County Fair ranks as the annual summer fair finale for 4H.
The ladies at Old Town Square Antique Mall, 103 West Joliet St. around the Old Lake County Courthouse in Crown Point, decided this year they would dedicate one of their sidewalk window displays to a kitchen tribute to the Lake County Fair.
Window designer Aria Manalan, who's been with this antiques landscape for more than 20 years, did the arranging honor, selecting a range of old kitchen gadgets, cupboards and cooking utensils, along with a sea of old cookbooks, including a nod to Martha Stewart's first book "Entertaining," which dates back to 1982.
The windows also include a section recreating a faux pie judging scene from the fair.
Not only have I been thinking about pies lately, but also birthday cake.
In July, one of my most dedicated readers — Martha Soplanda, of Kouts — celebrated her 102nd birthday.
For my family, Martha will always originally be from our tiny town of San Pierre, where years ago, she was always good friends with our neighbors Paul and Helen Bolduc and active with our town's church and the home economics ladies club.
Happy Birthday to Martha, who I know will enjoy today's special pie recipe.
It is courtesy of Tammie Alexander, of Valparaiso.
Tammie's husband, Kirk, enjoys this heirloom recipe so much, he asks her to make it for him each year for his birthday instead of a traditional birthday cake.
"My husband Kirk's grandmother, Stella McMurray, was 16 years old when she graduated high school in 1923, and left her home in Ravenna, Neb., to become a schoolteacher in Bozeman, Mont.," Tammie said.
"At that time in Bozeman, there was not a lot of fresh fruit available. So 'Miss Stella' learned to use the staple items she had, such as dried fruit, eggs, sugar and spices. She skimmed the cream off the top of the fresh milk. I hope your readers enjoy this simple yet rich pie."
Alexander Family's Old-Fashioned Sour Cream and Raisin Pie
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 (8-inch) pie crusts, unbaked
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Measure out the heavy cream and add vinegar; allow to come to room temperature (about 90 minutes) and mix together well. Gently blend mixture with the raisins, egg, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl. Line an 8-inch pie pan with one of the pie crusts. Pour filling mixture into the pastry-lined pan and spread evenly. Top pie pan with the other crust; trim pastry and press edges together. Make a few slits in the top crusts to vent. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden brown. Allow pie to cool completely before slicing. Once cooled, the pie can also be refrigerated for a couple hours and served cold for easier slicing.
Makes 8 sliced servings.