Saturday, October 1, 2016

Pies and Prejudice - Cozy Mystery Review + Recipe

Pies and Prejudice (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery #1) by Ellery Adams (Amazon)

Description:  When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LeFaye bakes pie.  So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flaky crust.  But her pies aren't just delicious, they're also having magical effects on the people who eat them - and the public is hungry for more.

Having discovered her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening The Charmed Pie Shoppe.  But with her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor making trouble, and her old crush Hugh Dylan making nice, she has more than pie on her plate.  And when Loralyn's fiance is found dead - killed with Ella Mae's rolling pin - it'll take all her sweet magic to clear her name. (from the back cover)

My Thoughts: Ellery Adams is a name I've seen floating around in cozy mystery world for quite some time.   She has a number of tempting looking series (including one that features a book themed bed and breakfast but that's a story for another day) and I couldn't wait to get started on the Charmed Pie Shoppe series.  What's better than pie and murder?

Since this is the first book in the series there's a lot of setup.  We meet Ella Me's family, we hear about her marriage and what went wrong, and we follow along as she gets her footing back in her hometown and figures out just what exactly she can do with her pies.  I never felt like it got overburdened with details or that we were taking a timeout from the plot to get caught up on the back story.  The flow was really nice and the mystery was very fast paced.

As far as mysteries go this is definitely smack in the middle of cozy.  There isn't any grit, the detective is most definitely an amateur and there are quite a lot of hi-jinks courtesy of Ella Mae's aunts and the family friend Reba.  With all that I never felt like it drifted into overly silly or slapstick territory.  This is an entertaining mystery especially if you're in the mood for something a little on the lighter side.  Just don't read on an empty stomach because it'll have you wanting pie!  Luckily there are several recipes in the back for savory as well as sweet pies.  I'll be making Shoofly Pie.

Charmed Shoofly Pie

1 Charmed Piecrust (there is a recipe in the book but just use your favorite - I'll be using Pillsbury because I'm boycotting making piecrusts)
1 cup flour
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1cup molasses
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out crust and place on bottom of 9 inch pie dish (Ella Mae recommends a glass pie dish for this pie).  Trim off extra dough and pinch sides of dough.
Mix together first three ingredients until butter is integrated (using the pulse bottom on a food processor works nicely).  Reserve 1/2 cup of crumb mixture.
Add molasses, beaten egg, and baking soda into mixture.  Then add boiling water and mix well.  Pour the filling into pie dish.  Scatter reserved crumb mixture evenly atop pie.
Bake for 18 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 20 minutes until the crust is golden and center of pie is only a bit wobbly.  Cool for 1 hour.
This pie is very rich and Ella Mae recommends that you serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (I'm pro whipped cream here.  Ice cream just seems excessive with this.).

It's been a long time since I've had Shoofly pie so I'm really excited to make this one!  It's perfect for holiday baking or just because sometimes a Tuesday requires pie.

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads


  1. Oh my, it's been a long long time since I had should pie. You did it justice. That a hilarious name for the book, good pun.

  2. Sounds like a fun cozy. As you know, I'm a fan of culinary cozies -- just something so feel-good about reading them.

    I too boycott pie crusts. I'm a great cook and baker, but pie crusts? Not so much.

  3. I love the title of this one and would pick it up for that alone!!! I have never heard of Shoofly Pie before. I will have to save the recipe!!

  4. I love the sound of this series. Pie! Haven't had any shoo fly pie in ages. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Don't believe I've ever had Shoofly pie, but that egregious error will have to be remedied. I have enjoyed Ellery Adams' books however, and culinary mysteries in general.

  6. gah I absolutely love cozy mysteries. This one looks like a very fun start to a new series!
    Don't think I ever had Shoofly Pie either.

  7. I've never had Shoofly pie, I bet I'd like it. This sounds like a good cozy.

  8. I have never heard of this type of pie. It looks sweet like pecan. Interesting.

  9. Glad you enjoyed it! I really like this series.

  10. I'm making a savoury meat pie at the moment - a lot of faffing around - hope the results are edible! Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  11. I've heard the expression "easy as pie" is very misleading! I've never even tried making a real pie (like with a REAL crust) -- way too intimidating.

  12. That's a great cover. :-) Now I'm in the mood for pie. Haha

  13. I used to obsess over my crusts, but the first Thankgiving after Sebastian was born (I was still exhausted six and a half months later) I said screw it and used a Pillsbury crust. I have used them ever since. Ha ha. Thanks for the recipe!