Thursday, August 14, 2014

Honey Pie

The fourth book in the Franklin School Friends series is going to be a spelling bee book, starring good-at-everything Simon Ellis, who offered keen reading, math, and running competition in the first three titles. Now Simon has to wrestle with the dark side of being such a gifted kid: what if in winning the spelling bee he loses his best friend?

A recurring character throughout the series is Franklin School principal Mr. Boone. He promised to shave off his big, bushy beard as a reading contest reward in Kelsey Green, Reading Queen. He let himself be dunked multiple times at the school carnival in Annika Riz, Math Whiz. He sprained his ankle on Field Day demonstrating hoppy ball prowess in Izzy Barr, Running Star. So of course he's the all-enthusiastic cheerleader for the spelling bee in Simon's book. This time he's offering a pie buffet to all the champion spellers, where the crowning glory of the pie selection will be his famous honey pie. (Bee, honey, get it?)

I sent the book to Margaret Ferguson for her editorial suggestions and received plenty of brilliant comments to strengthen the book in revision. She also asked, "Should we include Mr. Boone's honey pie recipe?" Why yes, we should. The only problem was that I didn't have Mr.Boon'e honey pie recipe. It was my own authorly fabrication. And now I needed to find it.

Hooray for Facebook! I put out a call for honey pie recipes and had a lovely selection of them within an hour. Best of all, one came from author extraordinaire Lisa Graff, also a baker extraordinaire, who includes amazing, fabulous, mouth-watering cake recipes in her hugely acclaimed recent middle grade novel A Tangle of Knots. 

I tried baking Lisa's pie yesterday. Here it is in all its splendor:

The honey/sugar in the pie caramelized, giving a pleasing creme brulee effect. I didn't use her home-made crust, of course, as I am not a baker extraordinaire myself. But it was fine with a refrigerated ready-to-bake crust from King Soopers, sweet and creamy with coarsely ground sea salt sprinkled on top. Now I'm going to try one more Facebook offering, a Greek honey pie with ricotta cheese in it. Then I'll let my family vote on which recipe, tweaked a bit, will become Mr. Boone's specialty in the book.

Sometimes it's hard to live with an author, I'm sure. But sometimes it can be quite tasty.

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