Nine Mile Falls resident Jeanie Hyer is known among her family and friends for her pies and soft peanut brittle. Pushed by a desire to pass on her knowledge to her daughters, she has self-published a cookbook titled “The Suncrest Pie Lady’s Famous Pies and Other Favorites.”
She’ll sometimes sell pies to her neighbors in the spring and makes her soft peanut brittle around the holidays, selling it to friends and neighbors. The moniker Suncrest Pie Lady is a natural fit, since Hyer lives just a couple blocks from Suncrest Drive. One of her daughters suggested the title as she was proofreading the cookbook.
“I didn’t intend to publish this book,” she said. “I wanted to teach my daughters how to make pies.”
Her two daughters are grown now, with families of their own. “It’s too late to have them in the house and teach them,” she said.
She set out to make the recipes easy for her daughters to understand, taking pictures of each step along the way.
“I have learned that it’s the crust that makes the difference,” she said. “I use butter and I use powdered sugar. That might be the secret right there. I don’t mix it very much, and I use a food processor to do it.”
As she worked on the book, she wondered if other people might be interested in it, too. She put up a Facebook post asking if people would be interested in the cookbook if she published it.
“I was totally blown away by how many people wanted it,” she said.
It became available on Amazon last month. “I wanted to have it for Christmas, but I was slow,” she said. “It’s just a basic book. There’s nothing really fancy.”
The cookbook starts, naturally, with her pie crust recipe. “No matter how wonderful the pie filling is, it’ll never get a blue ribbon at the state fair if the crust is subpar,” Hyer writes. “An excellent pie starts with a good crust.”
There are a lot of pie recipes, of course, including strawberry, peach, blueberry, triple berry, pumpkin chiffon, key lime, coconut cream, lemon cream and pumpkin cheesecake. Many of the recipes, especially the cream pie ones, can be easily adapted to showcase a different flavor, Hyer said. The blueberry pie recipe, for example, would also work fine as a huckleberry pie recipe.
“Whatever you put into it, your imagination can go wild,” she said.
There’s also her “top secret” soft peanut brittle recipe. “It’s addicting,” she said. “I think it’s super good.”
There are also a few extras like carrot cake, fruit pizza and homemade ice cream thrown in. “I do have a few family favorites that my kids liked,” she said.
But she admits there’s a little something missing from her cookbook. “I totally forgot to put an apple pie recipe in there,” she said. “I put grated sharp cheddar cheese in the dough.”
Though she may have forgotten apple and cherry pie recipes, Hyer doesn’t think she’ll do another pie cookbook. But that doesn’t mean she won’t do another book.
“I want to learn more about foraging,” she said.
The pie cookbook is $7.95 for the Kindle version or $12.95 in paperback. It’s free to Kindle Unlimited users. Hyer said she’s not sure how many of her books have sold so far, but has been pleased to see some five-star reviews.
“The reviews I’ve gotten are 100 percent strangers to me,” she said. “I think that’s exciting.”
Though she’s excited to read the favorable reviews, she’s not concerned about how many books she might sell or how much money she’ll earn.
“I’m not worried,” she said. “I’m really not, because that wasn’t my intent when I started. I’m happy people are interested, but that’s not my goal.”
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