It's almost Spring, must be time for pie books: here's a look at Brooklyn baker Allison Kave's First Prize Pies: Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple, and Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (and More). Despite being organized into chapters by month, the strength of Kave's book is not on seasonal fruits but on her any-time-of-year pies: custard pies, chess pies, sticky nut pies, chocolate pies. The flavors are fun and, as the title implies, inventive, and they will get you out of any kind of pie rut in which you may currently be languishing.
But wait: does the world need another pie book? Didn't we just get another pie book, in the form of last Fall's Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book? The two will appeal to difference audiences, though: Four & Twenty should go to beginners, as the meticulous crust method will turn pastry hacks into veritable Midwestern grandmas. First Prize Pies, on the other hand, has recipes for tons of types of pies. If you cook through it cover to cover, you'd have a pretty good foundation for inventing pie flavors like Kave's, which include Chai Chess Pie, Licorice Pudding Pie, Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie, Manhattan Pie (the cocktail, not the place), and her famous Candy Apple Pie.
Vegans and the gluten-averse will find recipes in Kave's book as well, with a vegan pate brisee recipe and Kave's recipe for a gluten-free pie dough flour. The only drawbacks to Kave's book are the weird whole-page textural treatments everyone is doing these days for some reason, and it would really benefit from having a photo for each recipe. That said, the book is a great departure from classic pie books and will have you rethinking your pie approach.
First Prize Pies is out March 11 (pre-order on Amazon). Here's a look inside: