Disclosure: I received a copy of Easy as Pie Pops from the lovely folks at Page Street Publishing. Thanks guys! THE GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.
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Easy as Pie Pops Cookbook Review
Lollipops and corn dogs are pretty much the only food items I think should be on sticks. Yet here I am reviewing the new cookbook that is mostly all about shoving sticks into other foods: Easy as Pie Pops, Small in Size and Huge on Flavor and Fun by Andrea Smetona of Cakewalk Desserts.
When I first got my copy of the book from Page Street Publishing, I decided that I would be making one of the tea cakes since they don't have to be shoved on a stick. I made Lemon Thyme Tea Cakes, and overall I was pleased with the way they turned out. More on that in a bit, though.
The book is divided into five sections, three on pie pops (Fresh and Fruity, Sweet and Sophisticated and Savory), one section on cake pops and the last on small, individual loaves or tea cakes. Before I get into what I think about the book, let me give you a sampling of some of the recipes you'll find in this book:
From the Fresh & Fruity Chapter
- Vintage Blackberry
- D'Anjou Pear
- Peachy Keen
- Strawberry Rhubarb
- Blueberry Pomegranate
From the Sweet & Sophisticated Chapter
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Crème Brûlée
- Orange Flan
- English Toffee
- Honeyed Fig
From the Scrumptious & Savory Chapter
- Hot Ham & Cheese
- Pizza Pockets
- Gouda Broccoli Quiche
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Vegetable Roll (egg roll filling)
From the Cake Pops Chapter
- Couture Coconut
- Caramel Cacao
- Lavender Honey
- Pancakes & Bacon
- Tangerine Cheesecake
From the Tea Cakes Chapter
- Rocky Road
- Kalamata Olive & Oregano
- Nonna's Zucchini
- Butter, Beer & Cheese
- Golden Harvest
- I think that Smetona has come up with some really unique and delicious-sounding flavor combinations.
- The instructions are thorough and detailed. Even beginning bakers will find success with the recipes in Easy as Pie Pops.
- I love that she gives one standard pie pop crust that can be used with all the recipes in the book.
- All the cake pops recipes start with homemade cake and frosting rather than boxed mix and canned frosting. Thank you for that, Andrea Smetona.
- Bill Bettancourt was the photographer for this book. The photographs are wonderful and inviting. I found myself childishly disappointed when I didn't see a photo on each page, but the vast majority of the recipes do have corresponding photographs.
- I don't think you need to shove a stick in them. Honestly, I think I would make most of the pie pops the size of Toaster Pastries and leave the stick out. Et voila, healthy breakfast or dessert. And in the case of some of the savory ones, a larger gouda broccoli quiche, for example, plus a salad would make a lovely brunch. Ditto for the cake pops. Leave the sticks out and call them truffles.
- I understand that most people think foods on sticks are awesome, and I guess in the case of little kids who could otherwise end up with cake or pie all over them, sticks keep little hands less sticky. (ha!) So, if you are making these for kids, use the stick. Personally, I'll be leaving them out.
- I was paying particular attention to the amounts of salt called for in the recipes. Some called for enough salt to really bring out flavors: 3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour for example. In the Lemon Thyme Tea Cakes that I tried, the recipe only called for 1/4 teaspoon of salt for 1 3/4 cups of flour. I followed her measurement, and honestly, I don't think it was nearly enough salt to bring out the sharpness of the lemon and the herbal goodness of the thyme. To help perk things up a bit, I added a tart, sharp lemon glaze that consisted of 10x sugar, a bunch of strained lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
- Most of the fruit pies do not call for salt at all, but I was happy to see that most called for some acid in the form of lemon juice. But in all the recipes, if no salt is called for at all, please add some. It will make a world of difference.
I will most likely try some more recipes from Easy as Pie Pops--and it's really all the fault of the interesting flavor combinations and the photographs. Everything sounds and looks so tasty! I must admit that I'm especially intrigued by the pancakes and bacon cake pops (hold the stick)!
If you are especially a fan of cake pops and have ever been brought to frustrated tears by a gooey mess of cake pop dough, I humbly submit that you have been doing it All Wrong. Smetona gives some excellent directions for making cake pop dough in the book, but if you are more of a visual see-it-in-action kind of person, please check out my friend Karyn's (from Pint-Sized Baker) cake pops videos on YouTube. I promise you will have an ah-ha moment and never cry over cake pop dough again.
Lemon Thyme Tea Cakes
Lemon Thyme Tea Cakes are simply packed with lemon zest (2 lemons worth) and thyme (2 Tablespoons). For all of that, I felt that they lacked some dimension, and I'm pretty sure that the addition of another 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt would have gone a long way in that regard. The cakes also call for a teaspoon of vanilla which tends to tame and mellow the sharp lemon. If you want strong lemon flavor, I would forgo the vanilla in favor of a teaspoon of lemon juice or maybe 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract.
The Lemon Thyme Tea Cakes are certainly cute and I could see giving them as gifts or serving them at a ladies' luncheon or a baby or bridal shower. Not too sweet and perfumed with lemon and thyme, they really do go very well with a nice cup of hot tea. I enjoyed mine with some black tea with lemon.
Easy As Pie Pops: Small in Size and Huge on Flavor and Fun by Andrea Smetona (Page Street Publishing (November 12, 2013) Printed with permission
- ½ C (114 g) butter, at room temperature
- ¾ C (143 g) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ C (174 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp (4 g) fresh thyme, minced
- 2 tbsp (11 g) lemon zest
- ½ C (118 ml) buttermilk
- ½ C (118 ml) sour cream
- Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Grease and flour an eight-loaf linked mini loaf pan or one 9 x 5-inch (22 x 12 cm) loaf pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla and continue mixing for 1 minute.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, thyme and lemon zest.
- In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk and add the sour cream, stirring until combined. Alternately add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition.
- Transfer to the prepared mini loaf pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (or 25 to 35 minutes using a 9 x 5-inch pan [22 x 12 cm]), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs secured with twine, for an added touch.
Easy as Pie Pops Giveaway (Closed)
The Easy as Pie Pops giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers only. As always, I like to make it pretty easy to enter! You'll have up to three chances to win. Yay! The giveaway is open until 7pmEST, Thursday, February 20, 2014. At that time, I'll draw a winner using random.org To enter, please make sure a valid email address is associated with your comment/s and leave separate comments for each entry. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite food on a stick is and what recipe from the ones I listed above you find Intriguing. Like Andrea's facebook page, Cakewalk Desserts, and then come leave a comment telling me that you did. Follow Andrea on Pinterest and then come leave a comment telling me that you did. And that's it. Easy as Pie Pops, right? I'll let the winner know via email right after random.org chooses the number of the winning comment. Please respond within 48 hours with your mailing address, and Page Street Publishing will send your copy winging your way ASAP. Best of luck in the giveaway!
Thanks so much for reading and spending some time here today. Have a wonderful day.