Pumpkin Pie

By Michele Stuart, Random House, Photos By Ben Fink,

Michele Stuart started her professional baking career long ago in grandma'€™s kitchen. Happy hours crimping crusts and measuring flour laid the fire and her first award €”first place! €”from Food Network's 2006 National Pie Competition set it ablaze. Today, the blocks-long lines outside Michele's Pies in Norwalk, Connecticut, are proof the hard work wasn't wasted. Learn Michele's tried-and-true secrets for making golden, flaky piecrusts and delicious fruit, nut and cream fillings, and you too can reap the benefits of making perfect pies. When it comes to blue-ribbon-worthy flavor, Michele'€™s Pineapple-Mango Pie with Macadamia-Coconut Crumb Topping, Chocolate-Raspberry Delight Pie and Ham and Brie Quiche can'€™t be beat.

The smell of a pie baking in the kitchen immediately conjures up feelings of comfort, nostalgia, and love. Michele Stuart vividly remembers standing at her grandmother's apron hem as a child, as she fine-tuned (and improved!) family recipes that had been passed down for generations. Eventually, Stuart'€™s lifelong passion for pie-making inspired her to open what would become the world-famous shop Michele'€™s Pies.

You don'€™t have to travel to Michele'€™s Pies in Norwalk and Westport, Connecticut, though, to taste Stuart's mouthwatering creations. Perfect Pies shares nearly eighty delicious recipes, many of them National Pie Championships winners: There are desserts bursting with fruit (Country Apple Pie, Blueberry-Blackberry Pie), crunchy with nuts (Chocolate-Pecan-Bourbon Pie, Maple Walnut Pie), cream-filled delights (Coconut Custard Pie, Lemon Chiffon Pie), and pies perfect for a party (Ultimate Banana Split Pie, Candyland Pie). And let's not forget Stuart'€™s sensational savory creations, from Lobster Pot Pie to Quiche Lorraine to Italian Wheat Pie. Stuart also passes along easy recipes for Hot Fudge Sauce, Raspberry Jam, and Whipped Cream to top it all off.

Photo By Ben Fink

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© Ben Fink 2017