Seasoned bakers Evonne Lyn Lee and Sarah FC Lee share the inspiration behind their newly launched cookbook Asian Pies
Pie recipes may be nothing new, but bakers Evonne and Sarah have upped the ante with the launch of their first cookbook – Asian Pies: A collection of pies and tarts with an Asian twist. From beef rendang and chilli crab to red bean and pulut hitam, the alluring Asian-inspired flavours in this book will redefine the traditional idea of pies.
Apart from teaching readers how to make delicious fillings, the book also offers a slew of insightful tips, such as how to make fragrant, buttery and crisp shortcrust pastry.
Complete with a comprehensive basics section that offers a variety of pie crust recipes and troubleshooting pointers, Asian Pies is your definitive guidebook to making pies. You will be amazed at how easy it can be.
In this feature, Evonne and Sarah share the inspiration behind their cookbook, as well as their plans for the future.
CAN YOU SHARE WITH US BRIEFLY HOW THE IDEA FOR THIS BOOK CAME ABOUT?
Evonne: Before I started work on Asian Pies, I never imagined that I would one day become an author of a cookbook. Then one fine day, the publisher-manager of Marshall Cavendish approached Sarah and I after seeing both our profiles on the website of a cooking studio that conducts baking classes. She asked if we would be keen to launch a cookbook on pies but with an Asian theme.
Sarah, on the other hand, did harbour dreams to publish her own cookbook. Prior to Asian Pies, Sarah and I were conducting chicken pie workshops in closed group settings in Singapore. We started out in 2011, and back then, we noticed a food trend in Singapore – more and more food establishments were selling pies and soon, local flavours started to appear – chicken curry, babi pongteh, etc.
We decided to pool our favourite recipes – Asian signatures – and compile them into a cookbook. I see this cookbook as a culinary heirloom – it enables me to pass family favourite dishes to the younger generation.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED THESE CREATIONS?
Evonne: Our pies are totally Asian at heart (fillings) and dressed up as Western. Our late mothers’ nurtured our passion in cooking during our childhood days, so many of our pie recipes were drawn from our late mothers’ treasure trove of recipes. We then tweaked the recipes and adapted them as fillings for pies and tarts.
My travels also inspired some of the creations –whenever I travel, I would go out of my way to sample specialties of every destination I visit. These culinary encounters never fail to inspire me to develop unique pie fillings.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT MAKES A GOOD PIE?
Evonne: A great tasting pie is a fine balance of flavours and textures with a good crust and filling ratio. The pastry should have a good texture – crisp, light, and not too thick but sturdy enough to support the fillings. The filling, on the other hand, has to be moist, chunky with fresh succulent meat, fresh vegetables, and then judiciously seasoned with salt, pepper and sugar. Generally, with a balanced crust and filling ratio, there is sufficient bite to ensure a robust mouthful.
DO YOU GUYS PLAN TO SELL THESE DELICIOUS PIES SOMEDAY?
Evonne: No such plans as of now. However, we’re considering conducting hands-on pie baking workshops or private pie baking sessions. We want people to learn how to bake pies, and enjoy the food we eat. This doubles the enjoyment for us.