It's holiday season, and you know what that means: Pie Time! This month I, Becky Standal, am recommending Teeny's Tour of Pie by Teeny Lamothe.
In 2011, Teeny Lamothe made the decision to pursue a career as a lady pie baker. To that end, she reached out to pie shops across the country offering herself as a free worker in exchange for apprenticeships. This book, and her shop Teeny Pies in Washington, D.C., is the result of her year of baking apprenticeships. Teeny's Tour of Pies is part memoir but mostly cookbook. She takes you through the basics of supplies and crusts and then separates her experiences and recipes into four delicious seasons. She starts with fall in Seattle at High 5 Pie (now on my list of places to go next time I'm in Seattle) and ends with summer in her mother's kitchen in Littleton, Colorado. The book includes her own recipes and ones from each of the bakeries where she apprenticed and features both sweet and savory pies as well as recipe modifications for miniature pies called, of course, Teeny Pies.
I have made two of Teeny's pies (so far), her Rosemary Caramel Apple Pie and her Bourbon Bacon Pecan Pie, both of which were stunning. Bacon in a sweet pie? Yes. Absolutely. My biggest take-away from this book, though, is her tip to use vodka as part of the liquid in the pie crust. Vodka evaporates faster than water, so using it results in a flakier crust. When you use vodka you can even add a little more liquid in your crust than otherwise, which can make it easier to work with, without any chewy side effects. And of course, cooked vodka is flavorless and alcohol-free, so the only thing you'll notice is how bizarrely perfect your crust turned out. I told my mom this trick and after one pie she says she'll never bake a crust without it.
Teeny's Tour of Pie has a great layout, with lovely color photos and a total of 67 different recipes. If you are a baker or need a gift for one, I highly recommend this book. If you aren't a baker, read this book and you may become one. Now I'm going to go make a pie.