The always inspired blogger over at Small Measure has up and done it again, adding to her collection of how-to-cook-and-live-better books with her latest tome, A Year of Pies. Oh, how I love that title. There are no surprises with that title. There is no guess work with that title. It’s so clear: Four solid seasons of pie, PIE, PIIIIEE.
For the past couple of weeks, Jake and I have been experimenting with the recipes in this book, and I have to say, I am extremely impressed. Kudos to you, Ashley English!
As expected, Ashley went beyond the usual (but always delicious!) standbys like strawberry and blueberry by serving up plenty of other clever assemblages as well. There is an even mix of sweet — Honey Pie, Maple Orange Walnut Pie, Taffy Pie (!!) — and savory creations — Carmalelized Onion and Blue Cheese Galette, Ratatouille and Polenta Pie, Asparagus and Dill Quiche. A little of something for every taste.
Now, I’m of the opinion that pie is right up there with French fries or waffles or pancakes — a basic that seems like it should be easy but is actually quite technical to get right (if you’ve ever eaten a soggy French fry or limp, mushy waffle you know what I’m talking about). Pie is the same. So often the crusts are soggy or dry or excessively flour-y or even greasy.
So the first step in any pie book is a great crust and Ashley more than delivers. Her master recipe is easy to execute, holds up to all sorts of moist fillings and tastes SO AMAZING.
Which leads to another thing I love about pie: Its half-life. Ever since I had June, I’ve become a serious devotee of leftovers. I love leftovers! While making a pie initially can be an involved process (rolling out and baking the crust, cooking the fillings, baking the whole thing together) it has a wonderful half life. Pie holds up exceptionally well two, three even four days after the fact, making it a great option for packed lunches and quick family dinners (the leek tart is what both June and I are having for lunch today).
If you buy one pie book this year, make it this one.