National Pie Day

You’ve got to love a country that sets aside a whole day on the calendar to celebrate dessert.  Yes, my fellow Americans, it’s that time of year again — get out your rolling pins and let the flour fly!

Pie just happens to be my favorite dessert of all time.  I love ’em all — apple, pumpkin, cherry, lemon meringue, blueberry, marionberry (a Northwest specialty).  My favorites, though, are strawberry-rhubarb and coconut cream.  Mmmm.

And since it’s National Pie Day, I figured this would be the perfect time to announce two forthcoming books for 2010 which, coincidentally, are both pie-related.  What can I say?  I must have been piestruck when I picked up my pen…

Drumroll, please:

My first picture book!  And no, as you can see, I did not illustrate it (I can’t even draw stick figures).  The sublime Ms. Amy Schwartz did.  Wait until you see what she has in store — I’m absolutely head-over-heels in love with her artwork.  As a writer, handing over one’s manuscript to an illustrator is akin to handing over your newborn to a babysitter the first time you venture back out into the world.  Let’s just say there’s some trepidation involved.  With Amy, though, I hit the jackpot, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with her vision for my story.

Babyberry Pie will be published next fall by Harcourt.

The second book in my pie-a-palooza of a fall lineup is the fourth installment of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series.  The cover is almost-but-not-quite-ready-for-prime-time (check back here in a few days).  The title tells it all, though.  Pies & Prejudice hits the shelves in September, and I’ll bet you can guess what the book club will be reading this time around!

All this talk of pies is making me hungry.  Fortunately, there’s one waiting for me in the kitchen.

Coconut Cream Pie

Years ago, I coaxed one of the waitresses at Heather’s Cafe in Cannon Beach, Oregon, into sharing the restaurant’s recipe for coconut cream pie.  The cafe, alas, is no longer in business, but its memory lingers on in this sweet treat.  Here’s the recipe:

Coconut Cream Pie
Heather’s Cafe — Cannon Beach, Oregon

1 c. heavy cream
3 c. milk (don’t use less than 2%)
1-1/4 c. sugar
6 egg yolks
4 T. cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 T. vanilla
1 T. butter
3-4 cups coconut
Baked pie crust
Whipped cream

In a bowl, mix 1/2 c. milk, salt, egg yolks, and cornstarch.

Bring remaining cream, milk, and sugar to a gentle boil.  Pour a bit slowly into the egg mixture, stir, then slowly pour egg mixture back into the heated milk (the point here is to avoid scrambled eggs).  Return to medium low heat and stir until thickened and boiling (small bubbles, not full rolling boil).  Boil for about four minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.  Add 3 cups coconut (more or less, depending on your preference).  Cool.  Pour into baked and cooled pie crust.  Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes.

Happy National Pie Day!

14 thoughts on “National Pie Day”

  1. That “Babyberry Pie” cover is so cute! I love the purple fingers and cheeks!

    . . .and the title of your new Mother-Daughter Book Club sounds very interesting. I just ordered “Pride and Prejudice”on Netflix and I can’t wait to read your book’s teen-age version.

    I will try to make that pie and hope it turns out like the picture.

    You’re doing a great job on all fronts.

  2. Wuhoo! on both counts! how wonderful that more of your stellar journalism will hit the shelves indeed! I love the way your mind works; it’s so cohesive (love the pie theme) and so creative. I’m a big fan!

  3. Well, I know I can’t wait for P&P! I finished Dear Pen Pal in a day, so I’m sure I’ll love the fourth. Just a question, do you know what Tollhouse Pie is ?? The recipe is on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip packages. IT TASTES DELICIOUS!!!!!

  4. Hey everyone. I just wanted to say hi. Just saying again, you HAVE to try tollhouse pie. Hey! Maybe the girls in the 5th book could make it for something. i don’t know but…
    By the way, I’m sure to recommend Babyberry Pie book to my younger sis. I’m sure she’ll LOVE LOVE LOVE it! :):):)

  5. Heather, You continue to bring me a smile with your goings-on!!! I *love* this new Babyberry Pie book, and I just so happen to have a new little 1-year old niece that will love having this read to her! Awesome! Of course, we’re looking forward to P & P from your series. Esther & I are planning to read the original first, to get perspective :o). Thanks, too, for sharing that awesome-looking pie recipe! Hmm, I’ll have to scour my recipes and see if I can come up with one to share soon! Thanks again Heather. You’re awesome.

    • Would love to have pie recipes from readers here on the blog! Feel free to share! (Pop it under the latest “pie-of-the-month club” post, OK?) Hmmm. Now I’m thinking maybe we need to have some sort of pie bake-off or pie-a-thon eventually…. Pie lovers, unite! 🙂

  6. Hey, girlfriend! I didn’t know you had this book popping out of the oven! Congratulations. And, I agree totally with your o-pie-nion of the greatest dessert of all. Especially strhubarb! Yesssss.

  7. Hey,
    just wondering, if you make a fifth book, is it going to have Becca in it? I don’t really like her that much (I definitely agree with Jess that she is a Chadwickius Frenemus, is that right?). But maybe you should include her next time. Or, you could even make a set of books that would be based on the Gopher-hole gang! idk. but yeah. just saying.

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