Cutie Pies

Cutie Pies by Dani Cone, Andrews McMeel 2011, $16.99 hardback, 144 pages

Be honest bakers. Part of the reason you go through the amount of butter you do is for the cute factor. Who doesn’t get all happy when the cookie jar comes out? Who can not smile at tiers of cupcakes? All those sweets are carbo-comfort.

Well, on an adorable scale of one to ten with one being, “Oh throw it out and make believe it never happened” and ten being “It’s so cute I’d consider trading my baby,” this book’s recipes are an 11. It’s the pie equivalent of cupcake mania and you knew this day would come, so just embrace it.

Pies in muffin tins, pies in mini-muffin tins—oh god stop me from running to the Container Store—pies in little jars, and—really, take away my car keys—pie pops.

But before you get all precious, you have to start with the crust. And there’s no reason you shouldn’t; making your own is way too easy and far superior to any frozen facsimile. After all, author Dani Cone was a confirmed cake mix baker when she started, determined to reproduce her Grandma Molly’s blackberry pie. Now she owns and operates Seattle’s High 5 Pie shops.

And with recipes for all-butter, graham cracker, vegan (vegetable shortening and soy milk), and gluten-free (rice and amaranth flours) there’s really no excuse not to make your own crust. Cone’s encouraging instructions include a sidebar of measurements from the Petit 5s, made in mini-muffin tins, to full size pies. And she includes tips on what to do with the crust once you’ve got it—tops, bottoms, lattice, scraps, and crumb.

Of course, there’s a recipe for Blackberry Pie Pops, but Cone also includes savory fillings like Three Cheese and Onion; Garlic, Potato, and Cheese; or Curry-Veggie. She’s got a good basic in The Very Best Apple Cutie Pies, which lets the apples shine through a simple binding mixture of cornstarch, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I used the Bramley apples from last weekend’s outing to Distillery Lane and ended up with the most perfect apple pie I’ve ever made. But perhaps if you’re using lesser apples, Cone ventures into the flavors of apple, cheddar, rosemary and Cranberry-Apple. For sheer indulgence turn to S’mores; Peach, Ricotta, Honey; and Chocolate Cream pies.

Okay, there are a few calories here, but the real charm and indulgence in these recipes comes from presentation. And these cute little pies are a great idea. They serve for lunchboxes and buffets and are easy to serve. Perhaps the best, they require no more effort than a full-size pie and may just have you developing long lost pie-baking skills.

About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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