This week we’re taking time out to catch up with Carol Hilker, Chicago-based food writer and author of the newly published Pie Pops: 28 recipes for miniature sweet and savoury pies – on sticks of course!
1. Who is your main culinary inspiration? I would have to say Julia Child, as clichéd as that might sound. She worked hard and cooking wasn't so natural for her. She was always honest with who she was. And she was never afraid to admit that she wasn't perfect. Sometimes you do drop an egg or knock over a bag of flour. I think our culture likes to take food too seriously sometimes.
2. What gave you the idea to put a pie on a stick? It was a combination of a few things. 1. My three-year-old nephew doesn't like to get his hands dirty. 2. I had noticed them starting to become a trend at weddings as party favours. 3. No one has written a book featuring only pie on a stick. I have seen a few recipes in books for say, apple or cherry, but no one had ever attempted banana cream pie on a stick. I knew it could be done, it was just about figuring out how to do it.
3. When experimenting for the book, did you have any kitchen disasters? I have a mischievous black and white cat named Lennon who is a real awesome little gal, but very lively with personality. She gets jealous and bored easily so if she feels neglected, she will make herself known. I was on deadline for the first half of the recipes, rolling out a crust in a kitchen that was way too warm to be rolling crust in when, "BAM". I looked over and there sat my cat Lennon. She was on the chopping block, staring me straight in the eye. On the ground was a full batch of chocolate pudding with broken glass peppered around it. I swear if she had a middle finger she would have had that up at me, too. She just made her point and then jumped down and sauntered off, bits of pudding all over her.
4. Which is your favourite recipe from Pie Pops? The chocolate-covered Key Lime Pie on a stick. It's whimsical and it was one of my favourite desserts as a kid.
5. So far you’ve written Mmm… Marshmallows and Pie Pops, any thoughts on what the next big food trend might be? I think fancy pancakes will soon become a household name. Or breakfast desserts. In Chicago, I do a lot of writing about food trucks. One of the food trucks that has become a favourite is Chef Leah Wilcox's red and white chequered food truck, Babycakes. It's a pancake truck. She makes flavours like Strawberry Margarita, Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum, S'mores, Tamale, Green Tea, Green Eggs and Ham etc. I think that concept is about to blow up (and one that I wish I had invented.) It is a pancake, but it almost leans towards cupcake.
Pie Pops: 28 recipes for miniature sweet and savoury pies by Carol Hilker is published by Ryland Peters & Small on 14th February
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