Customer Reviews: First Prize Pies: Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple, and Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (and More)
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While I own a collection of cookbooks, I needed one filled with recipes just for pies, and homemade pie crusts. My daughter and I chose this cookbook out of several, and are extremely satisfied with it. We are amazed by the top quality of this book, and all the information it offers. It is also a very enjoyable book, packed with inspiring stories.

The Introduction tells the story of how and where it all began, with a love for cooking and baking, passed down from one generation to another. The delightful stories take the reader to many places across the globe, and shows you about the family inspiration of baking in New York, from winning pie-baking contests, to becoming a famous culinary business owner.

Allison Kave gives information on the essential kitchen needs and tools to have on hand. In addition, the author shares her own pie secrets with helpful tips, and tricks. I learned a great deal on making a variety of mouth-watering pie-fillings, and crusts. We also learn how to create different mouth-watering toppings, and the essential ingredients to make perfect pies, and crusts.

Some of the Key Ingredients for good pie crusts are: Flour; Sugar; Cream & Milk; Eggs; butter; Salt. Many of the ingredients needed for pie crusts are common. The Tools Of The Trade section, along with learning how to make many different types of pie crusts are very interesting.

Some of the mouth-watering recipes include: Spiced Fig Pie; Chocolate Lavender Teatime Pie; Avocado Cream Pie; smoked Almond Pie; Sesame-Honey Pie; Lemon Cream Pie; Salty Caramel Pie; Strawberry Rhubarb Pie; Mint Julep Cream pie; and many more. A bonus for me was to learn how to make delicious, Candied Mint Leaves. They not only taste good, but are attractive on the toppings such as cream topping.

We made the Toasted Coconut Cream Pie, which was divine. Our favorite so far was the Shoo-fly Pie. It was a sensation. I tasted this pie many years ago, when I visited Dutch Country in Pennsylvania with my children, while on vacation. It is known as an Amish cuisine, and I always wanted to get a recipe for it. We will update this review as we make new recipes, and I will be gifting this inspiring book to friends and family for the holidays. Highly recommended!
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on June 6, 2014
Without a doubt, this is the best pie book I have ever owned. I love making pies as a hobby, and my wife gave me this book on my birthday. I am simply blown away by this book. The pie recipes are spot on, and the crust recipes are dynamite. I thought I was making decent pies before I bought this book, but now I feel like my pies are over the top now. I cannot recommend this book more. Also, aesthetically, the book is really nice and has great pictures throughout. If you like making pies or want to learn, you will not be disappointed.
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on June 11, 2014
This is a good cookbook for people with zero to moderate experience baking, and also has some interesting flavor combos more experienced bakers may not have seen before. Many of the pies are fairly easy to make, and there are 3 or so basic formulas the pies are based around (crust, filling, topping).

My main complaint is that sometimes there isn't enough troubleshooting or explanation. For example, the recipe for chai pie calls for "chai spice." Well, that could be anything. There's the sugary stuff that Starbucks has (which I imagine isn't what the author intended, but it is what most people think of when they think of chai), and then there is chai made from actual ground spices. But there are as many chai blends as there are people who make chai, and the author doesn't even give a suggestion of the spices to use. I also had some issues with the crumb crusts, and the author gave no troubleshooting for what to do if your crust caved in in the oven, etc., despite the fact that the recipes gives a range of ingredient amounts to use.

One nice thing is that there aren't too many special ingredients that you'll have to order on Amazon. Unlike, say, the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, First Prize Pies isn't overly picky about your ingredients, though it does suggest organic when possible. The author suggests you weigh ingredients with a kitchen scale, but that's only really needed when making the pie crust.

The three pies I've made have all been good, but the Earl Grey/lavender one was the standout. I've also tried the root beer pie and the trifecta pie (had some issues with the crust on that one too). I'm sure I'll make 90% of the pies in the book at some point--it's definitely a cookbook that will see some use. But it's hard to give this one 5 stars when I have books like My Paris Kitchen and The Splendid Table on my shelf.
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on September 5, 2014
This is a beautiful book with delicious recipes. My only criticism is that many of the recipes rely on liqueurs for which only a tablespoon or two is needed. As someone who doesn't drink, I found myself facing the choice of having to buy an expensive liqueur (and boy are they expensive!) or altering the recipe. My creamsicle chiffon pie suffered as a result.
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on May 13, 2014
Okay, so I've only had this book for a few days and I've only baked one pie so far. But it was the Toasted Coconut Cream Pie. And it was a sensational success. It was easy to make (one pre-baked pie shell, fill with cooked custard and cool) so it was my mother's day treat to myself to hang out in the kitchen and make a delicious dessert pie to indulge in that night! And I loved the combination of toasted coconut and coconut cream. I admit, I'm a sucker for anything coconutty, but still this was good. My husband loved it, my six year old loved it, and even my fussy four year old is asking when can we make it again. I'll downgrade my rating from five stars if I find some hit-and-miss recipes - but for now I'm really happy.
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on May 25, 2014
I love that the recipes are broken up by month to reflect what's in season and what's popular around those holidays. The recipes are fun - not your usual Pinterest collection. The pictures are beautiful. I also love the details showing how to get the perfect crust, among other helpful technique tips.
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on February 26, 2015
The first part of this beautiful book is filled with techniques, crust recipes, ingredient lists, tools of the trade and other essential information in making the perfect pie - which I really appreciated. You know - so many pie books just jump right into the recipes. And - I'm sure that's fine for some - but I would prefer some instructors - some tips and tricks - to ensure that for one thing - I know what I'm doing - and for another - to help give me the piece of mind that I'll end up with (using their recipe) the "perfect" pie. The book is sorted out into different seasons - love this! It gives you a "starting idea" of what to make just by simply looking it up BY MONTH! How genius is that!? March, for example, contains my favorite pie - "Samantha Bee's Salty Caramel" (page 70). Why!? Delicious combination of sweet and salty and crunchy and indulgent - perfect! Some highlights from the book are - April's "Avocado Cream" (page 82), May's "Mint Julep Cream" (page 94), June's "Hawaiian Delight" (page 106 and amazing!), July's "Raspberry Vinegar Tart" (page 120), August's "Banoffee" (page 136), September's "Candy Apple" (page 144), October's "Buttercrunch" (page 162), November's "Sweet Potato" (page 179), December's "Salty Dog Chess" (page 183), January's "Oatmeal Molasses" (page 196) and February's "Elvis" (page 208 - and a personal favorite of mine). And - of course - there are more recipes per month - I only listed my favorite recipe from each month...and that was hard to narrow down. This book had some of the most unique recipes I remember seeing in a pie book... I recommend this book for those who want to learn more about "pie stacks" and want a recipe outside the realms of "classic recipes". This book thinks outside the box - and I appreciate that.
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on June 30, 2014
I just got this book and was so impressed by just the look of it, that I had to sit down and write this review.
I baked my first pie when I was still a teenager, and it came out quite good for a first attempt, as I've matured though, I have become slightly intimidated by all things pie-like.
This book had me excited and ready to try my hand again.
I loved the look of the book as a whole, and the fact that there were a lot of pictures. Perhaps not a picture for every recipe but certainly for most. I like knowing what to expect(and there are pictures with helpful step by step instructions in some cases for that too), but also just being able to drool over the pictures themselves.
What I liked about this book most though was that the author divided her pies into months of the year, making it easier to decide on what pie to make depending on the seasons. Also I loved the fact that there were some very original recipes like the Licoricious pie recipe. (Really want to try that one!)
I wanted a book that took a slight detour from the classic fruit filled apple and cherry pies, and that's what I got in this book. Can't wait to dive right in!
For those pie lovers out there who are also looking for something off the beaten track, I think they'll find it in this book!
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on July 2, 2015
I had some tart cherries a friend had given me so I knew I needed to make a pie. I used the traditional crust recipe from this book and sour cherry pie recipe as well. I made a beautiful lattice crust for it too. It was phenomenal. I will never use another recipe for that pie. The crust was easy and turned out beautiful too. Someone commented that my pie looked fake because it was so pretty. I'm an intermediate baker and pie crust has always scared me. Plus I don't own a food processor so I liked that the author suggests cutting the fats in by hand. I used a pastry blender and the crust was beautifully speckled with butter as Allison said it should be. I was so proud of how this pie turned out that I want to make another one from this book right away!
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on February 3, 2015
The outline in this book is great since it's by month so you can bake seasonally, which I think is important.
The first pie I made was the strawberry basil, it came out impeccable and tasted amazing.
She recommends lard in the pie crust. I had never made a crust with lard before and now that I have, there is no going back. It makes the crust flakier than you can imagine. And definitely spring for the European style butter.
I think it also strikes a balance with old classics and modern pies.
Highly recommend this book to anyone from the novice baker to the beginner. She provides clear step by step instructions with pictures on how to mix and roll out your pie crust which can be the very daunting for any new baker.
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