weekly wrap up + a year of pies book giveaway!

Nothing makes me happier than watching great people get to live out their dreams and share them with others. D*S contributor and all-around amazing woman Ashley English has brought her love of all-natural baking to the rest of us with a beautiful new book called A Year of Pies (Lark Books 2012). Ashley has shared countless delicious recipes with us over the years, but this book really does her mission, style and cooking proud. A Year of Pies serves up 60 seasonal, natural recipes for pies and tarts (both sweet and savory) that will keep you and your family happy and well fed year round. With around 15 recipes per season, there’s bound to be something tasty to please everyone in your family. Or if you’re like me, just 15 different ways to treat yourself to something good after dinner.

In addition to the amazing pies, what I love most about Ashley’s new book is that each chapter includes two guest recipes by some of our favorite bloggers (and past In The Kitchen With contributors) like Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille, Tim Mazurek of Lottie and Doof, Jessie Oleson of Cake Spy, Kate Payne of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmande and Amanda Soule of Soule Mama. Along with this talented crew’s offerings, Ashley presents her own recipes (I’m holding out for the hand pies — my favorite), as well as a full basics section that covers six essential pie crust recipes, crust troubleshooting tips, instructions for creating various decorative pie and tart crusts, tips for selecting seasonal ingredients and much more. Also — this goes a long way with me — almost every recipe featured has at least one full-color photograph. I hate not being able to see what something is supposed to look like when you’re done, so I really appreciate the extra photo love Ashley gave the book.

To celebrate Ashley’s book, she’s sharing a delicious recipe for a Peach and Plum Tart with Mint Walnut Pesto (along with the Basic Pie Dough recipe needed), as well as giving away 5 autographed copies of A Year of Pies! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the books of team members on my shelf, and now that I have this one, I can say that you definitely want it on yours. To enter, just leave a comment in the comment section below telling us about your favorite pie experience. It could be a hilarious baking disaster, a particularly delicious pie on a road trip or something you’ve always wanted to try. Leave your comment by next Thursday, August 9th at 12pm EST, and Ashley will choose her 5 favorites to receive autographed copies. Thanks so much to Ashley and Nicole at Lark Books for sharing all of this with us today. And of course, a huge, huge congratulations and virtual hug from all of us here at D*S to Ashley on her beautiful new book. xo, grace

Below is a summary of this week’s highlights:


The full post with both recipes from A Year of Pies continues after the jump!

All recipes below are reprinted with permission from A Year of Pies © 2012 by Ashley English, Lark Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Peach and Plum Tart with Mint Walnut Pesto

I adore the stone fruits of summer. Nectarines, peaches, and plums are a pie-maker’s dream, with their fragrance, juiciness, and gem-like beauty. This tart uses another summer crop: fresh mint. This, with the addition of walnuts, renders a sweet pesto.

Makes one 11-inch tart

You will need:

  • 1/2 recipe Basic Pie Dough (BELOW this recipe)
  • 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom


Fruit filling:

  • 1 pound peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 pound plums, pitted and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch


Mint pesto:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt



  • 1 tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar



1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Prepare the crust: Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into the tart pan. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, then fold it inside the tart pan, pressing it against the pan’s fluted sides. Prick the bottom of the crust 6 or 7 times with a fork, then place the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

3. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove from the oven, leaving the oven on and reducing the temperature to 375°F.

4. Remove the dried beans or pie weights and parchment paper from the crust, and cool it completely before filling.

5. Prepare the fruit filling: Combine all the ingredients for the fruit filling in a medium-size bowl. Stir with a large spoon until the fruit is fully coated with sugar and starch.

6. Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and set aside while you prepare the mint pesto.

7. Prepare the mint pesto: Place all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and puree until a paste is formed, about 1 to 2 minutes.

8. Assemble the tart: Spread the pesto evenly across the bottom of the tart crust. Top with alternating slices of the peach and plum mixture, arranging the fruits in concentric circles. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the filling.

9. Set the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the 375°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the fruit becomes juicy and the brown sugar topping turns golden brown.

10. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving, first removing the sides of the pan.

Variation: Substitute pecans for the walnuts in the pesto.

Basic Pie Dough (Shortening-and-Butter Version)

Why use shortening in a piecrust? The general thinking is that shortening aids in creating flakiness, while butter imparts flavor. This recipe creates a crust that is just that — full of tender flakes and rich in flavor.

Makes enough dough for one double-crust pie

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup ice water



1. Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-large bowl.

2. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you should still have some rather large bits of butter and shortening when you’re done).

3. Slowly drizzle in the ice water and stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump.

4. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not feel overly sticky.

5. Divide the dough in half, shape it into two balls, and pat each ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

6. Proceed according to the pie recipe instructions.


Basic Pie Dough (All-Butter Version)

This all-butter crust is unrivaled in terms of flavor. It’s also quite flaky, despite having no shortening. The secret is to work with very cold butter. I keep all of my butter in the freezer, transferring it to the refrigerator overnight or several hours before I intend to make pie dough. Work quickly, with cold hands on a cool work surface, and you’ll end up with a crust that’s as flaky as it is scrumptious.

Makes enough dough for one double-crust pie

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup ice water



1. Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-large bowl.

2. Using a pastry blender or two forks, incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you should still have some rather large bits of butter when you’re done).

3. Slowly drizzle in the ice water. Stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump.

4. Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until all of the flour is incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not feel overly sticky.

5. Divide the dough in half, shape it into two balls, and pat each ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

6. Proceed according to the pie recipe instructions.

  1. Chrissy says:

    I was about 4 or 5 (55 years ago) when my mother spent a long time creating her first strawberry cream pie. She placed it on a baking sheet on top of the fridge (we were having it that night). I was looking for “crackers” when I climbed up to get them from the fridge and pulled the baking sheet causing the pie to land right on top of my head. I’ll never forget the expression of dismay on her face. She never made another strawberry cream pie . She did make other pies and made them very well, passing on her great aunt’s tips to her three daughters. I would rather have pie than cake and like only two kinds…hot and cold.

  2. Erin P. says:

    My favorite pie is the sugar cream pie we always had at family functions growing up. I’ve now learned to make it and continue the tradition!

  3. Lisa says:

    My (then new) husband tried to surprise me with a special dinner and my favorite pie, but he’d never made a crust before. Something went horribly wrong and I came home to a frustrated mate struggling to force a batter slightly thicker than cake batter into a pie dish.

  4. I made spinach pie for the first time this summer, to take along on our annual pilgrimage to our city’s best annual event (The Vancouver Folk Music Festival!). I threw in some mushrooms and used puff pastry instead of filo (it was 11pm the night before the weekend began), and they turned out delicious (if I do say so myself)! A definite new favourite in this house. I’m a pie novice, though, so it would be great to get some professional help on this new pie adventure…

  5. Angela says:

    As a little girl I loved looking through my mom’s books and folders full of recipes. I loved helping in the kitchen – measuring, tasting, stirring… And when I was 7 I decided I wanted to make a pie. We weren’t really pie people, my family. But when I saw this beautiful golden lattice-top apple pie, I knew I had to make it. So, I set out on a solo-mission to make that beautiful, perfect apple pie. I remember riding my bike to the grocery to pick out my apples, and spending the day in the kitchen trying to make sense of the recipe, measuring, rolling, slicing, assembling. I *loved* weaving together the lattice, and when it came out, it looked even better than the recipe picture. I was hooked. A few weeks later, I entered another pie in the county fair pie contest and won a blue ribbon (which is pretty special, but not that impressive considering I might have been the only person in my age category entering a pie). But, since then, I have delved into many-a-pie. I would absolutely love and cherish this sweet book devoted to the amazing pie.

  6. Amie says:

    I made a multi-berry pie for a friend’s birthday, and it is the running joke that her and I are the crazy cat ladies. So in the top pie crust I carved out a cat face, complete with whiskers. While baking, the juices oozed out of the cat mouth and gave the once cute cate a really sinister smile.

  7. Jamsby says:

    I grew up in the Midwest and my mom uses any gathering as an excuse to make pie. And she does that well. I remember one year, my niece (who was 7 at the time) was going to stay with my parents for a few days. Here dad referred to the time as “Pie Camp”, hoping she’d pick up some tips from Grandma that she could bring home to dad. I still think about that often and know I should set up my own week of Pie Camp.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Pie was something that I had limited experience with in my childhood. Being Puerto Rican, family desserts and recipes that were passed along consisted more of flan, tres leches, and mantecaditos (a type of cookie). However when I was 16 or so, my mom brought home a lemon meringue pie from a local bakery. Little did I know this was her favorite pie that she grew up eating (in NYC). I was blown away by the delishly lemon flavor and creamy meringue, and that she had neglected to share this with me until that point!

    Anyways, it is still one of my favorite pies (also on top is key lime) however I have very little experience making pies. I do a lot of cake, cookie, pudding, ice cream making, however very little pie. I want to make more pie and this book seems like the best way to become inspired.

  9. Heather Kaye says:

    My favourite pie experience begins with where I work. Cowichan Green Community, a little local non-profit dedicated to building community around food security hosts an annual Harvest festival which includes a pie-baking contest. Pies are judged on, of course, taste, presentation, and lastly, the number of locally-sourced ingredients included. One pie submitted to our savoury category last year, took the cake (pie?), when every single ingredient used was home-grown including the lard for the crust which had been rendered from the baker’s own pigs and salt from our very own local salt company. This beef and veggie pie was a true regional delight and took first prize!

  10. chelsea says:

    Oh, wow, that looks delicious!

    My dad is not a baker by any stretch of the imagination. But he has a thing for wild food. Weekends he’s usually off fishing or hunting with his buddies. Every summer though, there would be a wonderful saturday when he would take my sister and me out to the woods to gather blackberries. We would come home, stained purple and drunk on the heady fruit. Dad would then bake the most amazing, bubbling pie that we would devour before it had a chance to cool. It was perfect!

  11. Kimberl says:

    I have made exactly one good pie crust in my life and it was with beginner’s luck! With 6 recipes and trouble shooting tips, this book may make a pie maker out of me yet!

  12. sommerkind says:

    I once made a delicious walnut-pie for my class in school, and then my mum got really mad, because she thought it was to good to take to school. My class loved it though. But they never got the good pie again.

  13. godwinkr says:

    I have dreamt about owning a pie shop for many years, but in the meantime, I just work in a bakery. I am also am a diy–er and a foodie, so of course, for my ambitiously handmade family farm wedding, I made 14 9″ deep-dish pies and a small one for the husband and I to eat. For the sake of freshness and sanity, I froze the pies in their pyrex baking dishes, and then distributed them to reliable loved ones to bake-off the day of. I had pretty much learned to cook/bake from the Joy of Cooking, but during my engagement, I received a copy of Grand Central Baking’s cookbook that used an appealing all-butter crust that was assembled in a stand mixer, as opposed to my J. of C.’s version that used a blend of butter and shortening. I originally learned to make apple pie from my grandmother who used a blend of both fats a la Betty Crocker, so I assumed that was the standard method. Using all-butter was a taste revelation, as well as using a mixer (sacrilege!), but the real fun was sourcing the local ingredients for the fillings (grandma’s apples & cherries, in-law’s farm for blackberries, my dad’s blueberries, local farms for the rest of the fruit), and then making the pie dough with my soon-to-be mother-in-law in her kitchen because she had a stand mixer and spacious counters.

    I really appreciated the whole process of assembling the pies, since making these special batches of pies brought me closer to my in-laws who helped off and on through the whole process, let people wanting to help get involved (a bunch of women from my mom’s social group ended up baked pies), and I got to share my passion for pie perfection with all my closest family and friends on the wedding day.

    Just for the sake of the conversation, pie-count included:
    — 3 apple with a pecan-cinnamon streusel (it was a leap-of-faith-ohmygawd-i’m-serving-this-to-everyone-i-know because the recipe I made up and it was untested prior to the wedding due to time-constraints; hit-favorite and my bakery now makes this one regularly)
    — 3 whipped ganache w/fresh glazed strawberries, gluten-free crumb crust
    — 3 cherry pies
    — 3 quintuple berry pies
    — 2 strawberry rhubarb pies
    — 1 7″ peach and blackberry pie for my husband and I to eat, baked in his great grandmother’s old Fire King pressed glass pie pan

    We made huge 3-tiered stand out of plywood to hold 8 of the pies, plus the small one, and then constructed individual plate stands actually using a D*S tutorial on recycled cakestands (2008).

    I loved our wedding day, and making the pie for it was a labor of love. I made the pies because I wanted the best, most honest food I could make for my treasured family and friends, and to show I cared enough about them being there that I could put so much energy into hand-making something for them to enjoy.

    Even as a semi-accomplished pie baker, I like to collect new pie recipes to try, because the sort of rural, regional, collective joy people have about pies still gets me excited. Sharing pies means sharing time, either spent making and/or consuming pies together, and that’s special on any day.

    There’s cake-people, and there’s pie-people. I’m pie-people.

  14. Beth says:

    My favorite pie experience was last Thanksgiving when I made a chocolate malt tart. I don’t usually get to make anything because I am flying to various relatives houses last minute, but last year I had time to make this at my parent’s house. My whole family got involved in helping and it turned out delicious. Fun to make and eat.

  15. Sarah says:

    I had just spent a wonderful (but very hot!) summer in India. I had loved sampling all the new foods and being a bit “out of my element” for awhile. On the long plane ride home, the culture shock began to set in. I began to realize how dirty and smelly and out of sync with the pace of western culture I had become. I had the overwhelming urge for a cheeseburger and a huge slice of good ole American Apple Pie. All through the 12 hour flight, baggage claim, customs, the bus ride and the long walk home I was crazy for a slice of pie. I finally got my wish at the neighborhood diner. It was good to be home!

  16. monica says:

    I have a relationship with pies…of all types really. My best-est friend and I find ourselves at a local diner (pies are their specialty of course) where we indulge in a few slices as we process the highs and lows of life…always over pie. Strawberry-rhubarb, cherry or a classic apple pie and a cup of (not so good unfortunately) coffee always does the trick. Amongst all of the silver hairs & at precisely an hour when its far too early to have a meal, pie helps us find clarity no matter how low the low was. And certainly has the power to bring the highs of life to a whole new level.

  17. Allison S. says:

    mmm… pies. Just last night, I made and canned several pints of blueberry pie filling. I am a huge canner, and the first time I did pie filling, I used blueberries I picked myself! this time, I used local ones from the farmers market, but still delicious, and still exciting.

  18. Tammy says:

    Oh, my– what wonderful pie- comments! All 400 + of them! So I will simply write that pies are awesome– humble or decadent! What a beautiful book– when I think of pie– I think of the desert kind– thank you for reminding me, with your beauty of a book, that pot- pies, quiches, etc., are Really pies too! Pie Redux! Love it! Thank You for the opportunity!!

  19. Mary says:

    Every Thanksgiving my mother, sister, and I make a bourbon pecan pie together. I love the tradition and the generations of bonding involved, but not as much as I love eating that pie every year!

  20. Michelle Warnke says:

    The first time I tried making pumpkin pie, it was a delicious sounding ginger pumpkin with graham cracker crust recipe I found, I forgot to add the cream to the pumpkin mixture! I didn’t realize it until it was almost cooked. The pie tasted great but was way too dense. I was hoping to get rave reviews and instead I was just sad. This book looks great, I would love to make more pies!

  21. Steph VW says:

    Favourite pie experience? Just one? I don’t think I can do it. I love pie so much – pumpkin, blueberry, raspberry, rhubarb, lemon meringue, strawberry cream, and heck, quiches of all sorts. I loved pie so much that when I was a child and my dear babysitter would make stewed blueberries I called it “Blueberry pie without the crust”. My mom, my grandmothers and great-aunties made many delicious pies over the years but I didn’t learn pastry-making from them. Instead, I learned from my husband’s aunt Kathy, who, when I questioned her on the amount of sugar going into a blueberry pie, said, “Well, you can put in less, but it won’t be as good as mine.” Needless to say, I dumped in the entire cup.

  22. Monikam says:

    Beautiful photos of the baked pies are precious as my husband would have quickly found himself off track :-) One birthday he wanted to surprise me with a home-made lemon meringue to this day we still refer to as the “floppy” hat!
    He hand made the crust, but didn’t realize it needed to be prebaked. The lemon filling was mixed but it wasn’t made evident to boil the mixture! And then with a quick rinse of the mixing bowl my poor husband beat the egg whites for half an hour waiting for them to fluff, only to (much) later discover the requirements of a clean and dry mixing bowl!! He “poured” on the meringue (cause hey, MAYBE it will come out fluffy in the oven right?!) and we baked it until all the whites pooled over the pie, and onto a baking sheet and then ate the whole thing with a soup ladle!! A++++ for his efforts!

  23. Hattie R says:

    A couple years ago I went to visit my dear friend in Texas. We decided to bake pies for a contest while I was there. I chose to bake a pumpkin pie with a brown sugar walnut topping. I won second place in my category! I was so excited to take home my handmade wooden cutting board I won. I still display it proudly :)

  24. DD says:

    When I was a little girl we used to go to Cape Cod every summer to visit my cousins at their grandparents cottage. It was always the highlight of the summer and so much fun. Beach all day, followed by a cookout and ending with the most delicious Lemon Meringue Pie. I loved those pies and could never wait to get my hand on a piece. I think it was the 3-4 inches of perfectly toasted meringue that I was obsessed with. Also the lemon was not too tart and not too sweet, just right. I can remember the pie was always brought in from the bakery and put on top of the fridge until dessert time. To me it was pie in the sky because being a little kid the top of the fridge seemed sky high! Over the years I would always think of that Lemon Meringue pie, especially when I would see them with only a small 1 inch meringue top and bland lemon flavor. I always wondered where that pie came from. Fast forward to college where I met one of my best friends who was from the Cape. We all went home with him one weekend and after a great day at the beach, cookout (some traditions never waver) we had dessert and there was the most amazing raspberry pie! I thought my God they make the best pies on Cape Cod. It was coming in a close second to my long lost Lemon Meringue pie. On our way back to college we decided that we needed to bring a pie back with us so we went to Marion’s Pie Shop in Chatham, MA. I walked in and low and behold there was my long lost Lemon Meringue pie, with the mile high, perfectly toasted meringue from my childhood! I couldn’t believe it, I’ve been searching for this pie and it came back to me. It made total sense when I realized that I was just down the street from the old cottage from my childhood. So that day we bought 2 pies, raspberry and my Lemon Meringue. That day at the pie shop was one of the best surprises ever. Now when my friends and I go to the Cape there is always a stop at Marion’s to pick up pie(s). We now even have the next generation making the stop and making their own pie memories.

  25. Lyanne T says:

    My favorite pies are the apple pies baked by a close friend whom we call the Dessert Fairy. Nothing beats warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream! I have actually never tried baking a pie before- just baking the crust seemed so difficult. Now I cannot wait to get the book to finally try it, and if I am really fated to fail as a baker, I will ask the Dessert Fairy to make all 60 pies and tarts for us! :)

  26. Stephanie says:

    I was celebrating Thanksgiving with a friend and his family when I had my favourite pie moment. His grandmother had made the most perfect pumpkin pie – just the right balance of sweetness and spice, a deliciously flaky crust, plus festive leaf-shaped cut-outs. While sharing my desire to learn how to make pie, she told me her secret to the perfect crust: use both butter and shortening. To my excitement she then offered to teach me how to make pie. Unfortunately I was never able to get that private lesson, or her pie crust recipe, as she passed away not too long after.
    Although my story doesn’t have the typical happy ending, pumpkin pie always makes me think about my friend’s grandmother and what a wonderful woman she was – particularly her adorable tendency to call everyone “sweetheart”, and, of course, her tip for the perfect pie crust.

  27. Cyndi C. says:

    This looks like a great book, can’t wait to read through it and make lots of pies. My grandmother taught me how to make my pie dough and it is the recipe I use when I want to make a pie or tart. It is also the recipe I used to get my foot in the door at a bakery I wanted to work at. I made a pie and presented it to the owner, she cut into the pie, tasted it, asked who taught me how to bake, and then asked me if I would like a job at her bakery. I of course said yes, and loved all those early morning hours at the bakery.

  28. Tia Bednar says:

    learning my grandmother’s award winning crust with her in the kitchen when I was a kid. She always had one bubbling up in the oven, or in the freezer, ready to reheat.

  29. Annie S. says:

    Growing up, I always loved going to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Iowa, because at THEIR house, pie serves as breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND dessert! There is always an excuse to have a slice (or two) of pie when I’m with them. In fact, I’m in Florida with my Grandma right now and we have a Key Lime pie waiting in the kitchen. During Thanksgiving, my Grandpa would sit down at the piano with my brothers and I, composing songs about all of the wonderful foods we were going to eat later that day–with a special focus on the delicious pumpkin and apple pies. Needless to say, I have very fond memories associated with pie and I look forward to continuing this tradition (hopefully with the help of this cookbook)!

  30. Virginia says:

    Hah, I am going to make my own pie recipe book by googling the names of all the different delicious sounding pies in these comments, and compiling the best looking recipes. I am getting seriously hungry reading all these great stories.

  31. Jennifer I. says:

    I have great memories of trying to help my mom make a Coconut Meringue pie for my grandmas birthday, her favorite. We couldn’t get it to set right and she ended up helping to make her own pie ;) She was an excellent cook and I’d love to learn how to cook better and make a better pie to remember her by!

  32. Kia says:

    My favorite pie experience was a peach number I made while in labor two years ago. I was doing a home birth so was not going anywhere and my labor was long. Days long. I cooked a lot including this masterpiece as I was cutting in butter for the crust there were contractions, as I rolled the dough there were contractions, as I carved into the finished dough to decorate there were contractions. You get the idea. However after my labor my midwives ate well and I also had pie.

  33. Amy says:

    I have always made my husband an Apple Pie for his birthday. After our children’s first birthdays and the required cake they too have defected to pie. So in Feb. it is Chocolate Cream for my 5 year-old Anna, June it is Two-Berry Pie (rasp. and blueberries) for my 3 year-old James and November it is a custard pie with fruit dipping sauce for my 7 year-old Emma. My kids sometimes get comments at parties, but they hold firm that pie is best and no one refuses a slice. My birthday is in Jan. and I rotate pies, since I have a top five I can’t decide between, Strawberry (my Mom’s recipe), apple (from my Aunt), Sweet potato (Mom’s again), lemon cream, and rhubarb crumble. I would love to add to my year of pies! They are certainly worth the effort like all the good things in life.

  34. Amandine says:

    As far as I can remember, there was always something going on in my mom’s little, impractical kitchen – be it a ragout simmering on the stove or bread baking in the oven. When my sisters and I came down from our rooms, we would always make a comment on how delicious it smelled, but our attention would be caught by something else and we would forget about these smells full of the promise of a delicious meal together until it was actually time to sit down and eat. But when it was a pie baking in the oven, our little noses would smell it from the moment the crust began to get a little crispy and we would all rush into the kitchen to see what happened on the other side of the oven-window. We would observe it as it began to get that wonderful golden color and wait for the moment when the fruit started to melt, releasing its sweet nectar. Because as great of a cook my mom may be, she is an even better baker, and we knew that a moment of pure bliss was awaiting us– and waiting for it so eagerly made it even more enjoyable afterwards.

    When I was old enough to help in the kitchen, my favourite thing to help with was, you guessed it, pie. And now that I think of it, I’m actually pretty sure my mom would make a little more dough than needed because she knew, even though she didn’t say enything, that half of it would find its way to my stomach before it even reached the pan, yet somehow she always managed to have enough dough to make her pie and sometimes even to make delicious, plain biscuits that we would eat right after they got out of the oven, when the pie was not ready yet. Now that I have my own appartment and that the occasions on which my mom and I get to bake a pie together have become scarce, I cherish those memories with all my heart and nothing makes me happier than the smell of a pie baking in the oven as a reminder of those moments of mother-daughter complicity and bonding.

  35. Linda says:

    It was the summer after graduating from college, when prospects for recent college grads looked bleak. I had nothing to do but stay at my parent’s home in the outer boroughs and try to re-write my resume and cover letter in a dozen different ‘snazzy’ ways, each likely as mundane as the next. That summer, the apple tree in yard was so heavy with fruit that the branches drooped and draped over our tall fence.

    I spent half an afternoon peeling, coring, and carefully slicing apples into the most delicious apple pie I’ve ever had (apples with vanilla custard). Eating a slice gave me the best feeling of accomplishment I’d had that week.

  36. Katie says:

    One family reunion some years ago, we were baking pie after pie with a veritable assembly line of peelers, corers, etc, etc. All was well til a crumb of crust fell down in the oven — and we had ourselves an oven fire! Luckily we were all right there and got the flames out before any damage was done, but I’m so paranoid about tucking baking sheets beneath to catch those little drips now!

  37. Nicole says:

    My favourite pie experience was just this week! I decided to make the Momofuku crack pie for my mother in law’s birthday yesterday. I made it Tuesday night and while making it realized I forgot the vanilla. I literally ran to the grocery store to buy it halfway through baking the pie; most efficient 30 minutes ever – workout and errand combined! The pie turned out amazing and was a hit at dinner last night. We called it rude it was so good.

  38. Rosa says:

    I was so excited to see the title of this book, A Year of Pies! Last year I celebrated my very own year of pies in the form of a quirky New Year’s resolution. Pie-baking has long been my only talent in the kitchen and in an attempt to hone my sole culinary skill I decided to bake 24 different pies in 2011. I baked two pies a month and culled recipes from cookbooks, friends, family, and often gained inspiration from the local farmer’s market. I tried to start with the classics like apple, lemon meringue, and pecan, but soon moved on to ice cream fillings and crushed breakfast cereal crusts. I love that pie could be my contribution to a variety of meaningful celebrations throughout the year. I made pies for birthdays, art openings, my college graduation, and even celebrated Thanksgiving while I was traveling in India with a caramel apple pie that tasted just like home. By the time I was ready to ring in 2012 with a New Year’s Eve pie (cayenne-spiced chocolate ganache in a gingersnap crust with cinnamon whipped cream) I had made over thirty pies and had documented most of them on the chalkboard wall of my tiny kitchen. Although I haven’t baked a pie in two months now, I look forward to someday embarking on yet another year of pies, a peach plum tart might be the perfect place to start!

  39. amy says:

    We have 5 apple trees in the backyard and each fall, we make a pie every other day until the apples run out. It’s pie heaven! I need your book for some variety! Pie is gold baby, gold.

  40. anja says:

    i`m hopeless with the crust and my lattice filling looks as if a 5 year old has made it, but i am willing to learn:) and i love nectarine pie and apple pie with vanilla ice cream and raisins and i love to see my son`s face when he sees the steaming pie. a friend of mine from afganistan once called my ruined lattice crust apple pie”apple pie khabul”. i guess that was not a compliment:))

  41. Pam Furches says:

    My mom introduced me to the art of a wonderful pie. I have been trying for years to convince her to open up a bakery and sell pies. Her apple pie is amazing and the only thing I can remember happening one Thanksgiving was a mixup with some garlic powder instead of cinnamon… we tried so hard to eat the gorgeous pie, but alas it was ruined. My aunt calls her pies Zsa Zsa Gabore pies because they look so decadent. I would love to give this book to her as a gift. I purchased Ashley’s canning book a few years ago and just made some of the peach lavender butter…it is wonderful and I know the pie book would be fun as well! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  42. Ashlyn says:

    Growing up my mom worked a lot, which left my younger brother and I to our own devices in the way of food. Our idea of a fancy food spread was fruit roll ups and ramen noodle…not always cooked. Terrible? Yes. Disgusting? Pretty much. Occasionally I would dabble with spaghetti or pasta in a package. On fearless days, I would try to conquer my arch nemesis– chocolate chip cookies (to this date chocolate chip cookies- 50: me-3). I have never been too fantastic with food, a curse seemingly inherited from both sides of my genetic pool. As other girls baked their chocolate chip cookies to perfection, I conceded to just eat my dough instead. Until one fateful Thanksgiving day my mother asked if I wanted to help make the pies that year. (Sidebar: Mum did have a knack for chocolate silk pies but being young it never occurred to me that this super power could have been passed down to me.) She showed me the pie crust recipe that her mom used, which was pretty much 80% butter and 20% flour, and she insisted the dough be made by hand (a rule I still adhere to). That year I made my first pumpkin pie to perfection… from a can (I was young and didn’t know), and like all young girls do, I fell in love. Buuuut my teenage love was a bit fickle and I did forget about my magical pie baking powers until college, when I baked an apple pie for a friend, and they fell in love with what I baked! They showered me with pie baking compliments and just like that the spark was rekindled. Ever since then I’ve been baking pies for friends and family, holidays and sunday dinners, cold days and sad days, and it has become the one thing that I can create that feels like “home” when I do it. I love pie books because they give me inspiration that one day I will be brave enough to follow my dreams and do what I love too…make imperfect pies (full of butter) for people to enjoy :) Congrats on your new book, it looks wonderful!

  43. Katie King says:

    PUH-LEASE tell me you’ve seen this blog post on Hyperbole-and-a-Half: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/03/pie-verus-cake-scientific-approach.html

    It encapsulates (in a lovely, flakey crust) my exact feelings for pie. Oh, man.

  44. Audrey says:

    It is hard to pick one pie moment to best describe my life with pie. It seems pie is always around the corner of my life whether it is my grandma’s “famous” pecan pie for Christmastime, one of my best friend’s vegan apple pies, or my insatiable desire for rhubarb-raspberry pie, which I eat all season long.

    That being said, one of my favorite pie moments happened a couple of weeks ago. I was visiting in the Chicago area and I stopped by a small shop called “First Slice Pie Shop.” First Slice is a non-profit with a mission to fight hunger in Chicago by providing quality meals with local, organic ingredients to the homeless. They use the profit made to put back into the community to feed others. For me, pie has always been a food that represents community. I’ve never made a pie and not shared it with friends, family, or neighbors. First Slice seems to take that idea to the next level and I felt really moved by it. I hope to do something like that in the future. In the meantime, I’ll keep sharing the pie.

  45. Tammy says:

    I once made a pumpkin pie for my mother (who has celiac disease) for Thanksgiving. Lets just say, between the tapioca flour, rice flour and guar gum crust-concoction, my mother left the table (and the plate with the pie still on it). It was a miserble, but funny experiment. Thankfully, she was a good sport–but boy did it look bad!!! ;) Even my regular pies leave something to be desired! Why on earth I thought I could make her something with these temperamental ingredients –I’ll never know!!! I would LOVE this book –because I would love to be able to make a good pie–gluten-free or not!!!

  46. Emma says:

    Its been 17 years since I had this pie and it still makes be crazy just to think about it…It was a fresh toasted coconut pie made by my friend Gloria in Honduras..she would make it for me at my house often… I would watch as she split, grated and toasted the fresh coconut, but why of why cannot I remember what went in next…I know there was a touch of vinegar….and then the smell would envelope the house and me..and madness would seep into my soul as I waited in a frenzy for it to come out of the oven…it was intoxicating..the golden gooeyness…..and I hate to even admit this..as soon as her back was turned I would steal a slice..even thought she said waiting would be better it needed to set…I couldn’t wait..I tried..I couldn’t..even when I knew the inside of the remaining pie would seep out all over the counter if I didn’t wait..I couldn’t……OMG how can a memory be so vivid! I have just found Gloria on facebook do you think I should ask for the recipe!

  47. Anna says:

    Making my first apple pie all by myself was a great moment. Made me fall in love with pie making for the rest of my life!

  48. eva says:

    pie-rty time!

  49. ayesha says:

    As I first time heard about pies.. It seems very interesting and nice.. I must try this thanks for sharing

  50. Winners? says:

    Were the winners of the give away contest ever announced?

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      they were notified via email, yes :)



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