Two of Australia’s most talented magazine food editors have spent a year baking delicious fillings into golden pastry. The result is 60 beautifully styled and photographed sweet pies. From cold to hot, and hand pies to recipes for cheats, The Pie Project is the perfect compendium for anyone who has ever wanted to master the art of pie.
1. The Pie Project is your first book and the question has to be asked, why pie?
Phoebe: I spent a few months in New York and loved the American pie culture. Coming home from the States, I wanted to recreate that flaky, buttery pastry, jam-packed with fruity, creamy, chocolatey, and boozy fillings.
I also discovered you become really popular when you turn up somewhere with a pie.
2. For many home cooks, pie is next-level baking from cakes and biscuits, should we be scared of pastry?
Phoebe: Absolutely not! Pastry is challenging, but mainly because it takes time.
If you’re in a rush, don’t even go there. We had a few flops on shoot when we tried to cook something in a rush – butter splitting everywhere, pastry cracking, jam exploding.
You have to enjoy the full process with pie pastry.
3. Do you have a favourite pie from the book?
Kirsten: The book is all about being non-traditional, but we both love the strawberry, rhubarb and thyme lattice pie, which looks as traditional as you can get!
4. You have both worked in magazine publishing for years on titles such as donna hay, Feast, and delicious., from your experience, how do you think the Australian food culture has evolved in the last 10 years?
Phoebe: Education and understanding about food has changed the food culture – people are invested in food, interested in provenance, technique, sustainability and experimentation.
Because of this, it’s an exciting time to work in the food industry as we’re increasingly able to push our own boundaries and takes risks with what we do. Imagine 10 years ago adding balsamic or thyme to a dessert – at that time pork belly was only just beginning to trend!
5. Which pie in the book is most likely to take out a CWA (Country Women’s Association) first-place ribbon?
Kirsten: We call her Big Bertha – a giant slab pie stuffed full of jammy peaches and white chocolate and a perfect ratio of crust to filling.
6. Is there another baking ‘project’ in the making?
Kirsten: We’re always planning something!
Phoebe: A baking project might be off limits for a while but we have a few ideas in the works…
The Pie Project ($29.95) is available from Hardie Grant Books.