best of the best

Friends in pie, the content of this blog post is at least a year old and therefore should probably be considered old news, BUT I was diligently typing up my business plan and realized while reviewing my various accomplishments and accolades that I completely forgot about this little nugget of wonderfulness. Every year Food and Wine comes out with a Best of the Best Cookbook featuring their all time favorite cookbooks of the year and it just so happens that MY COOKBOOK, Teeny’s Tour of Pie, with it’s scrumptious pies and delightfully quirky, heartfelt stories was chosen as one of the best cookbooks of 2014!! Ridiculously old news, right? To be fair F&W’s Best of the Best didn’t come out until the following year, so it’s only slightly old and I figured any reason to shine some sparkly spotlight on my favorite cookbook, especially with the holidays coming up (*hint hint* it makes the perfect gift*), was a good reason.

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Look at that full page pie lady pic taken by the stunningly talented Katie Parra

I share the cookbook stage with some stellar company including The Kitchn Cookbook, My Paris Kitchen (by David Lebovitz!!), Plenty More, and Prune (by Gabrielle Hamilton whose memoir I just read and loved).  The Teeny Pies section covers bourbon bacon pecan, strawberry rhubarb custard, coconut cream, espresso french silk with blackberry compote, and a new, never before revealed, roasted corn and tomato tarts! How lovely is that?

So, this post has been a long time coming but somehow still pretty exhilarating. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that I actually wrote a cookbook … one of the best cookbooks, apparently … and I’ll always be endlessly proud to show it off every once in a while. If you’re looking for gifty ideas for the upcoming holidays may I suggest a combo cookbook deal (Best of the Best and Teeny’s Tour of Pie) + pie pan? In the meantime, let’s just swoon over the fact that Food & Wine sent me mail!!

 

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Pie from a Pumpkin

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[ A Fall Haiku ] Pumpkin in a patch, You thought you’d be a lantern, Now you are a pie.

Six years ago I peered into a CSA veggie box from Irv and Shelly in Chicago, Illinois and as I caught sight of a tiny pie pumpkin my life was unalterably turned toward a future of lady baking. Aaron and I took one look at that orange orb of destiny and knew the only thing to do was to make a pie. We paired our roasted pumpkin with copious amounts of cream, honey, cinnamon and a hint of ginger, whisked our ingredients into a dreamy swirl of fall flavors, and together we baked our very first pumpkin pie.

It’s October which means all sorts of pumpkin varieties are storming the the grocery store shelves and farmer’s market stalls. Pumpkin patches and orchards everywhere are irresistible with promise of hot apple cider, decadent donuts sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and  miles upon miles of bakeable, carvable, decorate-able pumpkins. Fairytale pumpkins are alluring with their orangish blue hue and their idyllic Cinderella carriage shape; they are sweet to the point of almost not needing sugar and they are one of the few pumpkins that don’t become stringy after baking. Peanut pumpkins are fun with their skin looking as though they’ve been decorated with empty peanut shells, which, in actuality, are sugar deposits making for another naturally sweet baking option. And then there are the sugar pie pumpkins; tiny, sweet pumpkins promising just the right amount of pumpkin puree for a single pie.

Don’t ignore the call. Get yourself a pumpkin and start roasting. Munch on pumpkin seeds while your house fills with the unbelievably delicious smell of fall. Eat slices of pie with your morning coffee or after dinner with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Fall is is here to stay, so start making perfect pies.

Teeny Pies Pumpkin Pie:

1 small pie pumpkin                                                                                                                                         3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                                                                                                  1/4 teaspoon salt                                                                                                                                           1/2 teaspoon ground ginger                                                                                                                           4 large eggs                                                                                                                                                         1 cup honey (local if you have it)                                                                                                                   1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream                                                                                                                    pie dough for one bottom crust

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle position.

2. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon (and save them for roasting, duh), lightly doil the cut surface, and place the halves cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the pumpkin until it’s tender and easily pierced by a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes.

3. Using your fingers remove the pumpkin peel, which will have pulled away from the flesh and should be very easy to take off. Place the roasted pumpkin in a food processor and puree until smooth.

4. Place 2 cups of the pumpkin puree in a large bowl, add the cinnamon, salt, and ginger, and stir until everything is combined.

5. Add the honey and the cream to the mixture and whisk gently until everything is incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk until everything is combined and the pumpkin mixture is smooth.

6. Prepare the crust: Place the dough disk on a floured work surface and with a floured rolling pin roll it into a rough 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Lay the crust into a 9-inch pie dish, gently press it in, and trim any excess dough from the edge with a paring knife, being sure to leave a 3/4 inch overhang. Tuck the overhanging dough under itself and crimp.

7. Set the crust on a rimmed baking sheet before giving the filling one final stir and pouring it into the crust. Bake until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Mamma Pie

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Hi friends in pie. It may feel as though we made our epic announcement two weeks ago and then fell off the face of the earth, but in reality we made our epic announcement two weeks ago and then we just got really busy! We’ve made several visits to our potential neighborhoods to check out the pie climate, I’ve been chatting with pie professionals across the country,  we’re back on blogging track, and Mamma Pie is in town for a lovely, lengthy visit. How excellent is the month of October so far?

As we move past our initial announcement of Cincinnati being our final city choice we now have the delightful task of deciding where we want to live (and eventually decide where we want to open the shop as well … but that’s a little further down the line). I think best case scenario, we choose to live in a neighborhood that we absolutely fall in love with and then in a little while, once we’ve thoroughly introduced Teeny Pies to the city, we open the shop in that same neighborhood. The worst case scenario is that we choose to live in a neighborhood that we absolutely fall in love with and then because of currently unknown extenuating circumstances we open the shop in a different neighborhood that we also love deeply. And if that’s the worst case scenario, then I’m pretty sure I’m winning. Our top two life neighborhoods are Northside and Covington and our top three pie shop neighborhoods are Northside, Covington, and Findlay Market. We spent the last two weekends traipsing around each of the potential pie hotspots with our families, peering into houses, supporting the local retail, and imagining life there. It’s been a delight and to say I’m excited and ready to dive right in is an understatement. I’m ready to buy a house, rent a building, and start slinging pie … Aaron and Mamma Pie have to constantly remind me that there’s no rush, and it’s better to do it right, and I’m going to want to think long and hard about the next few life changes, and all I hear is blah, blah, wait, blah, don’t rush, blah, blah. What I’m saying is, let’s buy a mansion because I’m ready.

Since no one will let me just buy a house online I’ve been taking Mamma Pie around Danville and showing her all of our summertime-livin’ sights. We did our laundry at the laundromat/tanning salon, visited the doll-house museum, she helped me finish my constellation quilt, we had an extensive conversation about what to look for when considering which mansion to buy, had lunch in covington, are going to the horse races on Friday and today we are making pie, because … duh.

I love baking with my mom, and obviously making pie with her is the ultimate flour-filled day. She just has a certain knack that I have tried to emulate throughout my ongoing pie adventures. She’s the one that taught me to try and try again, that practice makes perfect, and if and when the time comes that you’re insanely frustrated because nothing is going right, to toss it out and start fresh. I grew up watching her and her mom put together family meals, grow epic gardens, can and pickle themselves silly, and bake the perfect pies. Without knowing I would end up in the world of professional food I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be able to make stock from leftover bones, I wanted to someday have my own epic garden, I wanted to have a million recipes in my head, and I wanted to be able to make the perfect pie at a moments notice. And here we are, roasting a pumpkin that I grew in my not-quite-so-epic-but-still-lovely garden and whipping up the perfect pumpkin pie at a moments notice. I am truly my mother’s daughter and I couldn’t be more pleased. Happy fall everyone, I hope your lives are full of cider, light sweaters, roasty pumpkin seeds and the perfect pie.

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(look at this solid and incredibly miniature pie making scene we encountered in a dollhouse kitchen! … those apple cores tho.)