A salty caramel pie inspired by Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay”
Happy Pi day! I think I get wished a happy pie day more than I get wishes a happy valentines day or a happy halloween; occupational hazard. Today’s pie is a sure-to-please salty caramel pie with lots of golden, buttery goodness throughout. It was inspired by Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” and thanks to the students of Fieldston Middle School it definitely didn’t stick around.
A raspberry lemonade icebox meringue, inspired by Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy (or at least the first two books). When I recommended Red Rising to my friends, I said things like, “it is so good, you have to read it!” But when I tell people about the recently-released Golden Son, the second book of Pierce Brown’s action-packed trilogy (Morning Star to come), I simply deadpan: “it’s orgasmic.” Vivid, rich, and with pacing as sharp as a razor’s edge, this is definitely one of those series I will be recommending for years to come.
A cognac crème brûlée tart inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.
Magical realism is probably my favorite genre; I like how introducing the fantastic into an existing political or social context engages both my imagination and my (somewhat pretentious) analytical sensibilities. I think in spite of unusual occurrences in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, most people would describe it as a satire or political novel before they would call it a fantasy. But I think it is both, and so much more besides!
Pumpkin spice hand pies inspired by the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.
It’s almost Halloween; goblins, ghouls, and ghosts are abroad in the muggle world. If you’re like me then you’ve done your apple picking, your pumpkin hunting, and your woodland hiking. But at the end of a long day of jumping in leaf piles, you need something a little sweet to go with that cup of hot apple cider. I wanted to get this recipe out before that particular flavor of witchy October magic passes, while there’s still time to curl up with a pumpkin beer before we start mulling cider and delving into winter holiday territory. So here it is! This one goes out to anyone who spent their preteens waiting for their Hogwarts letter.
Maple and oat chess pie with dark chocolate seams, inspired by Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
At this point Frankenstein has become so ingrained in our popular consciousness I think it’s difficult to read the novel without any kind of preconceived ideas. The green, flat-headed monster with bolts protruding from his neck has become such an iconic part of the horror canon (especially in cinema) that it’s sometimes difficult to reconcile pop-culture with the literary reality.
Shoofly pie with pecans and a poached apple garnish, inspired by The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.
It’s really hard to sell people on this pie. The particular, bitter tang of molasses cut with woody pecans, balanced with the sweet, syrupy taste of an apple poached soft in cider, cinnamon, and brown sugar; it all takes a backseat to the creepy-crawly stigma of Kafka’s disturbing novella. It is, however, an excellent pie for Autumn!
Rose and white chocolate custard studded with fresh raspberries in a Nilla wafer and gingersnap combination crust, inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland specifically for this project. For me, it belonged to that list of books that every college professor and classmate assumes you’ve read and so you must smile and nod when they talk about them, lest you look like an illiterate buffoon in front of your academic peers. (Other books on this list include, Paradise Lost, The Canterbury Tales, and most of Jane Austen’s work.) Now, having read it, I can see why it has such a fanatic following: it has a staggering amount of depth for such a slim volume.
An Orange, Lemon, and Key-Lime Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust, Inspired By The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
It took me a couple of readings and a few years of living in New York City to understand the complexity of wit and emotion in Gatsby. When I first read it in 11th grade I didn’t like the characters, they seemed shallow and dysfunctional, and yet it seemed like all my friends were invested in this great American romance. When I read it again a few years later I realized that not only had my instincts about the book been right, but that its genius also stems from the way social commentary is layered into the characters’ personalities. Lesson learned: you don’t have to like a character for them to be well written.