Sure, there are pies for sale around Nashville. Papa C makes a good pie. So does Geraldine. There’s The Pie Wagon (which isn’t quite as pie-centric as one would expect). And I’ve heard about a place in Berry Hill, The Loving Pie Company that sells pie. But we need places (plural) you can go for pie. Like you go for cupcakes, ice cream, yogurt, coffee. Pie by the slice, available in a mind-boggling number of flavors. As in, “Hey, let’s meet for pie somewhere.”
Because I like pie, but I don’t make pie. Why? Because pie requires skill to make, friends. There’s a science and technique to it. That is, to make your own perfect pie crust. Heck, I can’t even make a decent cookie crust. Do I ever plan to attempt a real crust? I … don’t know. If you watched the first episode of The American Baking Competition, you know that even experienced bakers can fail at pie.
However, I will say I’m tempted to try, now that I’m armed with Crazy About Pies, a new book by Krystina Castella. There are over 150 pie recipes in this lovely book, including a fair number of savory pies. Aside from the fillings, there are detailed instructions on making a variety of crusts — flaky, fluffy, cornmeal, oatmeal, pretzel and more — and measurements for making them in a variety of sizes. Also included are the essential techniques as well as a guide for troubleshooting less-than-perfect outcomes. The author leaves nothing to question, including portions devoted to the equipment and ingredients as well as decorative crusts and even transporting your pies.
And once you start looking at the recipes, you’ll want to get in the kitchen. Truffle pie, cashew custard tart, pineapple and mango empanadas, plum crostata, salted caramel ice cream pie … hungry yet? I am. There’s even a recipe for buttermilk pie, which I’m curious to know if it will yield a pie like the ones prepared by Lisa Donovan at Husk Nashville. And there are recipes for knishes and pasties, hand pies, shepherd’s pies, pot pies and quiches tucked into chapters among the many sweet pies. But this isn’t just a book for novices; the author has helpfully separated the more basic technique portions of the book into a sort of reference section so that experienced pie-makers can get right to the good stuff.
So, if you’re looking to challenge yourself with pie and/or expand your repertoire, this is the book for you. And I will happily serve as your taste-tester.