50 Slices of Pie

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It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I am really looking forward to some pie! I ventured to the 2nd floor of Central Library and found my way to the 641s (this is the Dewey Decimal call number that includes cookbooks). I grabbed all of the pie books I could find, and carried them to my desk, so I could find the perfect pie recipe. (Don’t worry, I put them back!)

But this begs the question: Just what is the perfect pie?

There are several categories of pie, including fruit, cream, custard, chocolate, and savory, but this is Thanksgiving, after all, so let's focus on traditional Thanksgiving dinner pies, and their many variations.

Pumpkin Pie

With pumpkin pie, I think you either love it or hate it. I, for one, am not a fan of traditional pumpkin pie, but I like ones that are creamy.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie (from Food Network)
Pumpkin Cream Pie (from AllRecipes.com)

Pecan Pie

A Southern favorite, pecan pie is another that some people like more than others. The divisive issue here seems to be “corn syrup” or “no corn syrup.”

The Pecan Pie Recipes You Need and Want (from The Huffington Post)

A particular favorite of mine, which tastes as good as it looks, is the Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie that appeared in Southern Living magazine a few years back.
 

Apple Pie

Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with an all-American apple pie. The biggest dilemma here is whether to eat it cold or warm with ice cream. Why not have it both ways?

24 Crazy-Good Apple Pie Recipes to Make This Fall (from Country Living)

Sweet Potato Pie

I have to admit, I’d never had sweet potato pie until a staff member brought one to a holiday luncheon a few years ago. Sweet potato pie, where have you been all my life?

Last year, Wal-Mart introduced a sweet potato pie by none other than singer Patti LaBelle, and the pies became wildly popular after a fan posted a video of himself sampling the pie. They were so popular that some Wal-Mart stores sold out. Well, now you can try the recipe from the comfort of your own home!

How to Make Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie at Home (from Washington Post)

Chocolate Pie

What can I say about chocolate pie? There are so many variations that I could devote a whole blog post to just this. My personal favorite chocolate pie is Chocolate Chess Pie. I’ve yet to find a recipe that quite lives up to my childhood memories, but this one is pretty close:

Angus Barn’s Chocolate Chess Pie (from luluthebaker.com)

 


 

If this post got your mouth watering and now all you can think about is baking a pie, I narrowed down my huge stack of pie books to these seven. All of them can be borrowed from Houston Public Library.

Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts: 150 Recipes for Old-Fashioned and Modern Favorites from the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

What makes this book stand out?

I recommend this one on name recognition alone. How can you go wrong with Martha Stewart? There is a small technique section at the end of the book, but the selling point of this book is the recipes. As the title states, included are 150 recipes from your classics to more modern recipes.

 

First Prize Pies: Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple, & Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (and More) by Allison Kave

What makes this book stand out?

I particularly like that this book is organized by seasons, so you can choose seasonally-appropriate recipes. The technique photos are incredibly helpful, and most recipes also have an accompanying photograph. One thing to note is that many of the recipes in this book include alchohol, as well as ingredients that may be harder to find in the average grocery store.

 

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop by Emily & Melissa Elsen

What makes this book stand out?

Written by two sisters who own a popular bakery in Brooklyn, this is not your mama's pie book. The photographs in this book are astounding, with an accompanying photo for each recipe. Like First Prize Pies, this books is arranged by season.

 

Pie it Forward: Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes & Other Pastries Reinvented by Gesine Bullock-Prado

What makes this book stand out?

I really like the conversational writing style of this book. It's not as photo-filled as I would hope, but the photographs included (including a few technique photos) are beautiful. This book is good if you want to stray (but not too far) from the traditional.

 

Pies and Tarts by Kristina Petersen Migoya

What makes this book stand out?

This book was published by The Culinary Institute of America. The first 61 pages are devoted to tools, equipment, ingredients, and techniques, complete with detailed pictures. Additionally, nearly every recipe has an accompanying photograph of the finished pie. The recipes are sophisticated, but with the introductory content, it would be good for an adventurous beginner.

 

A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies by Ashley English

What makes this book stand out?

Like a few of the others, this book is arranged seasonally. This one is a little more sparse than the others, but the recipes included look outstanding and look accessible to the home baker. There is a nice section on equipment, but it is lacking a good technique section. If you are a novice baker, you might want to consider one of the others.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from Houston Public Library!

by Somer N., Virtual Library Services

 

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