“Candy might be sweet, but it’s a traveling carnival blowing through town. Pie is home. People always come home.” ~ Pushing Daisies
Watching Pushing Daisies on Sunday nights was like eating a lovely slice of cherry pie with ice-cream. It was a completely guilty pleasure being able to watch the antics of Ned – a “very good-looking” pie maker who had the ability to bring things back from the dead. This included, Chuck, his childhood sweetheart, which he also brought back to life.
Ned’s interesting power makes him very useful to the local detective to bring murder victims back and ask them who killed them. The only problem is, Ned can’t re-touch something he has brought back other wise they stay dead forever. This means Ned can never touch Chuck. Horror! That means no touching or kissing – nothing!
The whole series was like a lovely glossy storybook, with Seuss-like narration and bright candy cane colours. But, it only ever ran for two series. It was the best a zombie-foodie romance story ever. Completely bonkers, and as sweet as cherry-pie.
I never met a pie I didn’t like. I have in fact walked for 5 miles – in heels – looking for the perfect cherry pie in Manhattan – and finally found it in the meatpacking district in a tiny tin caravan perched on the edge of a car park. The slice of pie was enormous and packed to the brim with cherries. It was the most perfect thing ever.
There are pies for all occassions. Apple pies for when you visit your parents, a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, cherry pies in American diners, steak and ale pie with thick cut chips on a Friday night.
My favourite fictional pies are Desperate Dan’s gigantic Cow Pies, any pie of Richard Scarry or ones cooked by the mice of Brambly Hedge or the creatures of Beatrix Potter.
In an homage to all things pie; I have some lovely pictures of vintage children’s books about pies below and some mini pie recipes as well:
Moon Pie (Cheese pie)
Sweet teardrop tomatoes
Cheese (Gruyere, emmental, manchego)
Check out how to make the amazing cheese sauce recipe here. Once made, simply add your onions, tomatoes and plop a pickled onion right in the centre!
Chicken & Leek Pie
(Adapted from Heston Blumenthal’s Chicken & Ham Pie). These are quite a bit of effort, but they are well worth it.
For the chicken
8% brine (1kg cold tap water and 80g salt mixed together)
8 chicken thighs
500ml chicken stock
2 tbsp groundnut or grapeseed oil
Chicken skin from the thighs
300g sliced leeks
250g button mushrooms, quartered
25g unsalted butter
For the sauce
135ml double cream
120ml white wine, reduced to a syrup consistency
135ml whole milk
90ml chicken stock
1 tbsp agar agar flakes
25g wholegrain mustard
15g Dijon mustard
10g flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of pepper
Shortcrust pastry (400g flour, pinch of salt, 4oz margarine, 4oz vegetable fat)
Beaten egg to top
1. Start by making your shortcrust pastry. Mix the flour and salt together, then rub in the fat. Drizzzle in ice cold water and use a knife to bring the dough together. Leave in the fridge until your filling is ready.
2. Soak your chicken in the brine for at least 2-3 hours.
3. Simmer the chicken in the chicken stock (try homemade) for 5 minutes and then transfer to the oven for an hour at 85C.
4. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms in the butter with thyme and a dash of olive oil.
5. Use some of the left-over chicken skin to saute the leeks.
6. Set the leeks and mushrooms to the side while you make the sauce.
7. To make the sauce, mix the rest of the chicken stock, cream and milk in a saucepan. Scatter the agar flakes over the top and let it melt into the sauce – it may need a good whisk.
8. Put the finished chicken, leeks, mushrooms, mustard, pepper and parsley together and mix. Add salt to taste.
9. Fill your pastry cases with the chicken filling and bake in the over for around 25 minutes at 180C / Gast Mark 6.
“Every day I come in, I pick a pie, I concentrate all my love on that pie. ‘Cause if I love it, someone else is gonna love it, and y’know what? By the end of the day, I’ve sold more of those pies than any other of the pies in the bakery.” Olive Snook, Pushing Daisies.
“Clowns have no respect for pie.” ~ Demetri Martin
“Lost your mittens! You naughty kittens! Then you shall have no pie.” Mother Goose