When asked to choose between cake or pie, I’m a pie kind of girl.
The crispy crust.
The moist filling.
Pair it with a cup of coffee?
Me and Agent Cooper, we could hang out.
But I digress, when I discovered the First Prize Pies cookbook by Allison Kave my mouth immediately began to water. It had all those modern cookbook elements to make a girl swoon:
Glossy photos. Inventive recipes. A cover that enhances your home decor.
But did its results match the sweet and savoriness of the physical book itself?
Read on for my full review.
It’s no surprise that Allison Kave loves baking creatively. Kave grew up in a food-centered family with a mother who doubled as an innovative chocolatier, a brother turned professional chef, and a boyfriend who pushed her into pie competitions.
Her first foray into the cookbook world has a little bit of everything in it. From classic Strawberry Rhubarb Pie to such offbeat creations as Avocado Pie, there is a recipe for every taste and compelling photos to tempt you into stepping out of your comfort zone.
The book is divided by season, which is really helpful when you’re trying to cook with what’s ripe at the local farmer’s market. I’m weird in that I don’t like chess pies, or apple pie, or meringue, and she includes a lot of these staple-types of pies.
I’ve always been in the camp that a shortening crust is best. It’s easier to work with and my results are usually flaky. However, Allison’s butter crust is another beast and has me rethinking my whole crust philosophy.
While I do think that overall it was worth the read and worth many a try (the Rhubarb Frangipane… just do it), there are a couple of typical cookbook caveats.
It doesn’t always tell you the exact measurements for things.
This wouldn’t have been so noticeable if it hadn’t called out that measurements are given in cups as well as weight for more accurate baking.
For instance, I was making the Avocado Pie and it called for 4 medium Hass avocados. No measurements were included. I did some googling and found that the average medium sized avo is 5oz. Unfortunately, I still wound up with way more filling than the pie called for, which leaves me to believe the flavor wasn’t quite right (It still tasted pretty good to me! Like a creamy, lightly lime cheesecake.).
Another time, the recipe for the Trifecta Pie (chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel) called for a pretzel crust (sounds amazing right?). I thought it was weird that the recipe didn’t have you bake it, but I rolled with it. Instead of crispy, salty pretzel bits, it turned out moist and stale and crumbled apart instantly.
Note to self–go with your gut. Or just google it. In this day and age I’m sure someone has posted the recipe with notes.