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A different pie for every week of the year is a concept that I can get behind. That’s the idea that drives Allison Kave’s First Prize Pies, and the book is a perfectly balanced year of pie possibility. Pie is known for its finicky nature, but Kave sets readers up for success with a thorough rundown of everything you need to make an exceptional pie, from equipment to ingredients. There are step-by-step photo guides for skills that require a little more explanation, like how to peel stone fruit for the Sugar Plum Pie and how to ace your marshmallow topping for the S’mores Pie. Kave tells you everything you need to know about assembling her pies, making this the perfect book for a home cook who hasn’t ventured too far into the land of pies from scratch.
The book’s seasonal recipes feature classics you crave like Apple-Cheddar Pie, Key Lime Pie and Pumpkin Spice Pie. But it colors outside the lines a bit, too, mixing up flavor combinations with recipes like Eggnog Cream Pie in a Gingersnap Crust, Mint Julep Cream Pie and Root Beer Float Pie. There are enough pie recipes in the book to cover each week of the year (and then some!), so you can think of it as a long-term investment in your culinary happiness. Kave balances the recipes to be practical too. There’s a vegan-friendly You-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Pie that everyone at the table will love and a no-bake Banana Split Ice Cream Pie (recipe featured below), which is perfect for the summer months when it’s just too hot to spend hours in a kitchen with your oven blazing. Even summer’s heat is no match for a pie made of ice cream. You can order your own copy of First Prize Pies here.
Banana Split Ice Cream Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
10 to 15 sugar ice cream cones
5 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup chocolate ice cream, slightly softened
4 medium-ripe bananas, sliced lengthwise
1 cup vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot fudge sauce (store-bought or see recipe that follows), warmed
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
Maraschino cherries (optional)
Make the crust: Grind the ice cream cones in a food processor (or put them in a plastic bag and bash ‘em with a rolling pin) until finely crumbled. Drizzle in the butter and mix until the texture is that of wet sand. Press the crust into a 9-inch pie plate and freeze it for about 5 minutes.
Make the filling: Spread half of the chocolate ice cream over the bottom of the cone crust. Lay half of the banana slices over the ice cream and top with half of the vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle on the walnuts, and repeat the layers as above.
Make the topping: In a stand mixer, with a hand mixer or by hand with a whisk, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the pie and drizzle it with the hot fudge and nuts. Don’t forget the cherries on top! This pie can be frozen, without the topping, for up to 2 weeks, covered tightly in plastic wrap. Allow it to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before topping, slicing and serving.
Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it is hot but not boiling. Stir in the chocolate, sugar, butter and salt until they are fully dissolved. Continue to cook the sauce over medium heat until it is smooth and heated through. Remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Use it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.
From First Prize Pies by Allison Kave. Photography by Tina Rupp.