Dani Cone's grandma Molly was a pie-maker. At Cone's Fuel coffee shops, she has been selling pies for years, and in 2010 opened High 5 Pie on Capitol Hill. The pies received mixed reviews from customers and critics alike, most notably from Jason Sheehan, Seattle Weekly's former food critic. Cone heard the criticism and went back into the kitchen with some extra help from area chefs and taste-testers to rework Grandma Molly's recipes. These new recipes and more can now be found in the pages of Cutie Pies.
The book is divided into chapters for each shape, but most filling recipes can be made into any shape or size pie. Obvious exceptions are fillings such as banana cream and lemon meringue. But sweet pie fillings like blackberry/raspberry and apple, and savory fillings such as mac 'n cheese, ham, Gruyere, & onion or curry veggie can be made in the various shapes and sizes.
Cutie Pies includes some good tips and tricks, but not a lot of troubleshooting information or information on equipment and technique. If you don't already have some experience making pie, this book isn't necessarily going to make a pie maker of you. That said, the recipes are good. Cone's berry pie fillings perfectly balance sweet and tart, and include just the right ratio of thickeners to berries, resulting in a thick filling that isn't gelatinous. Her all-butter crust recipe is classic, but there are also recipes for gluten-free and vegan pie crusts. And filling flavors like s'mores, salmon, cream cheese & dill, and pear, Gruyere, & prosciutto offer the opportunity to serve pies at casual or even formal events.
In the book's introduction, Cone suggests steps for how to use the book that echoes what pie fans and pie bakers all know and understand: "Establish a craving for pie. Seek to fulfill it." With Cutie Pies, we're all one step closer in that quest.
Author Dani Cone is hosting "Pie Socials," pairing pies with coffee from Caffé Vita at High 5 Pie on October 15, November 5, and December 3 from 2-4 p.m. Cone is also sharing samples and signing books at Metropolitan Market locations in September and October. Details at metropolitan-market.com.