Cookbooks: A Year of Pies

I did not grow up in a household where dessert was a regular thing. More often than not, when we asked about a sweet treat after dinner, we were pointed to the fruit bowl or a jar of applesauce. However, once or twice a year, there would be pie.

The pie happened on no particular schedule. My mom baked in response to her own cravings and could not be hurried or begging into producing pie. We learned early that it was better to leave her alone and accept the serendipitous pie than try to wheedle it into being. And accept it, we did. Her pies were always sturdy, not-too-sweet creations that piled mountains of fruit into a nutty, half whole wheat crust. My favorite thing was being allowed a slice for breakfast the next day.

Thanks to this early conditioning, pie will be forever feel like a way create a special occasion out of a Wednesday evening. It’s one of the things I hope to do with my kids someday (of course, I have to have them first).

You may be asking yourself, why is Marisa waxing poetic about her childhood pie memories? I recently got a review copy of Ashley English’s new book, A Year of Pies and now I can’t stop thinking about tucking food, both sweet and savory, between layers of crust.

Some of you probably know Ashley from her blog, Small Measure, or from her other four (!) books on all manner homesteady topics like Bee Keeping and Food Preservation. This book is similar in organization to her previous ones in that it offers an extensive section towards the front of the book that walks you through the equipment, the different kinds of crusts (and what each is best for), tips on rolling and the various techniques you can employ to achieve gorgeous crusts, before moving on to the recipes.

Once through that grounding section, the rest of the book is arranged by season, proving unequivocally that pie isn’t just a summer and fall dessert. Any winter day would be made better by the Maple Orange Walnut Pie on page 55 on the Carrot Pie on page 77.

The book contains sweet pies, savory pies (like the homey Chicken Pot Pie pictured below), tarts, galettes, crostada and hand pies. There are both bake and no-bake options and even a pie version of Polish-style stuffed cabbage. Ashley also invited a few of her blogging friends to contribute recipes, including a Gluten-Free Streusel Apple Pie from Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne.

For those of us who are working our way through baskets of berries and armloads of peaches this time of year, I think it’s important to put a little of that fruit aside and make something that allows us to enjoy the bounty now, as well as later. Pie is on my to-do list for later this week.

Thanks to Ashley and her publisher, Lark Crafts, I have a copy of this lovely pie book to share with one of you. If you want a chance to win a copy, here’s what you do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post, sharing a pie story. It can be your favorite kind of pie, a memorable slice you once ate or anything other pie fact you’d like to mention. .
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, August 3. Winner will be chosen at random (using and will be posted to the blog on Saturday, August 4, 2012.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Lark Crafts gave me two copies of this book, one for review purposes and one to giveaway. However, my opinions remain, as always, entirely my own. 

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571 Responses to Cookbooks: A Year of Pies

  1. 551
    Lorna says:

    Pie is awesome!

  2. 552
    Jamie says:

    Pie is awesome… I have to say making crust is not my favorite thing in the world, but worth it.

  3. 553
    Diane says:

    Growing up, both houses we lived in had an apple tree. No idea what variety, but both grew tart green skinned apples with a bit of a red blush. My mom would make pies from them and would peel, chop and freeze bags of extras so pies and other apple goodies would be around the rest of the year. My mom was not the best at crusts–hers were of the “sturdy” variety, versus the “flaky” type. I was over at the house the other day, and despite the drought conditions, it looks like this is going to be a banner year for apples. Better get my peeler ready!

  4. 554
    Lizi B. says:

    It’s crazy to think that for my love of pie, I always seem to get something wrong. I definitely can’t seem to make a latticework pie or any pie with a cute topping and I tend to make pretty runny pies 🙂 Thankfully my messy pies are still delicious – one day I’ll get it all right!

  5. 555
    Janice says:

    As much as I love making and eating homemade key lime pie whenever I can get fresh key limes at my local market, squeezing the juice out of the little emerald jewels is a royal pain…so I have learned to enlist my husband to “squeeze duty”…it cuts my prep time by half and by the time he’s done, everything is mixed…just add the juice, mix and throw in the oven…so easy, so good, and tart!

  6. 556
    Kristen James Eberlein says:

    A butter-based pie crust was the first recipe that I ever learned, and it will probably be the last recipe that I ever forget!

  7. 557
    Cyndi C. says:

    I do enjoy making a pie, and I especially love making the crust. My grandmother taught me to make pies and tarts, and I have such happy memories of family when working with pie dough.

  8. 558
    brenda dubois says:

    I remember growing up in the 60’s and 70’s and going over to my Grandmothers house on Sunday’s and she would make the best pie’s apple, lemon, coconut cream, you name it and she made it, and the best crust too! But being at the young age of 57 yrs have never made a pie because I guess Im afraid of making the crust! Would love to win the cookbook so I can try and make them too. Thanks for the give away!

  9. 559
    Katie says:

    I love chocolate pie and am a sucker for graham cracker crusts.

  10. 560
    Sarah says:

    My favorite pie is whatever is on the table.

  11. 561
    Michelle says:

    After my mother-in-law died, my father-in-law took a pie making class at the Bama pie company in Tulsa. We have been blessed with Grandpa’s pies over the years. He is very ill now but my goal is to carry on the pie making tradition. And I am hoping my girls will also pass on the legacy!

  12. 562
    LissaLissa says:

    I will always remember the trouble I got in as a child whenever my mother baked a lemon meringue pie. I always snuck into the kitchen and ate the peaks off of the cooling pie. And when my mother found the remains of the pie I could not sit down for a week!!! Needless to say she did not bake those pies often!

  13. 563
    Yafa says:

    We picked a lot of wild blueberries in July and made a small pie to share with my parents. I have a small glass pie pan that we is perfect for cutting into 4 nice sized pieces of pie. It was fun to tell my parents that we were going to each get 1/4 of a pie to eat. Beyond the novelty (for me at least!) of cutting a pie into quarters to serve, the homemade crust tasted lovely and the sweet berries were divine.

  14. 564
    K says:

    I really like how this book has savory as well as sweet pies, and different shapes. (My grandmother made the best pie crust.)

  15. 565

    […] other news, the winner of the A Year of Pies giveaway is commenter #236. That’s Carlie from able-bodied girl. Carlie, I’ll be in touch […]


  1. Photos from a Food in Jars Potluck - Food in Jars | Food in Jars - August 6, 2012

    […] other news, the winner of the A Year of Pies giveaway is commenter #236. That’s Carlie from able-bodied girl. Carlie, I’ll be in touch […]