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Flaky Mini Pies for Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers #cookthebooksclub

December/January's selection for Cook the Books Club is Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers, by Sara Ackerman. Thanks for hosting, Deb from Kahakai Kitchen, who happens to be a blogger from Hawaii, where this wonderful book is set.

Flaky mini pie crust with banana cream filling.

Cook the Books Club is a group of bloggers who love to read, then cook something that inspires them from the book. The book has a lot of references to pies, which is what I chose to make but others are doing more Hawaiian types of food.

From Amazon:  

Hawaii, 1944. The Pacific battles of World War II continue to threaten American soil, and on the home front, the bonds of friendship and the strength of love are tested.

Violet Iverson and her young daughter, Ella, are piecing their lives together one year after the disappearance of her husband. As rumors swirl and questions about his loyalties surface, Violet believes Ella knows something. But Ella is stubbornly silent. Something—or someone—has scared her. And with the island overrun by troops training for a secret mission, tension and suspicion between neighbors is rising.

Violet bands together with her close friends to get through the difficult days. To support themselves, they open a pie stand near the military base, offering the soldiers a little homemade comfort. Try as she might, Violet can’t ignore her attraction to the brash marine who comes to her aid when the women are accused of spying. Desperate to discover the truth behind what happened to her husband, while keeping her friends and daughter safe, Violet is torn by guilt, fear and longing as she faces losing everything. Again.

I love historical fiction, so this book is right up my family.  I love how the story bounces between Ella and her mother, Violet. As a retired school principal, I was taken in by Ella and her story. I eagerly read about her big secret she was keeping from her mother, which caused her great emotional harm. The story is of friends, neighbors and soldiers all yearning for some sense of family.  As usual, food is the key to bringing people together and in this case, the women decide to open a pie stand outside of the armory to make a few extra dollars and to give the soldiers a taste of home. 

I have a dear friend who moved to our neighborhood who makes pies. She regularly brings pie to our book club and instantly I have a sense of family when she serves it up. It was easy to be inspired to make a pie with all the talk of pie and thinking of my friend, Christie.

I wanted to try to make individual pies, but I don't have any pie tins for that. I decided to try a drape of pie crust over the bottoms of oversized muffin tins.  I made this pie crust from Bisquick:

Yield: 4 mini pies

Baking Mix Pie Crust for Mini Pies

Pie crust made using a baking mix like Bisquick.
prep time: 10 minscook time: 14 minstotal time: 24 mins


  • 1 1/2 cups baking mix
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 or 2 T hot water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour the baking mix into a bowl.  Add the ice cold butter and cut into the flour using a fork or by rubbing the butter with your fingers until the baking mix resembles a bowl of peas. Starting with 1 T of the hot water, mix until the dough comes together.  Add more water, a little at a time until the dough can be stretched without breaking.
  2. Divide dough into fourths.  Spray the backs of the muffin tin with cooking spray.  Take one of the fourths, and pinch out a 6 inch circle.  Place over the muffin tin.  Push the dough together so that it forms a cup.  Bake in over for 12 minutes, or until dough is cooked through and is golden brown.
  3. Remove cups from muffin tins and let cool thoroughly before filling.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

For my family, I made a simple filling of low-fat sugar-free pudding and sliced bananas. Banana cream pie is my daughter's favorite and this was a wonderful way to serve up a portioned controlled piece of pie.  If you'd like another filling, I suggest this delicious Peach Pie!

I highly recommend this book to you if you love historical fiction, Hawaii or cooking. It has the elements of a good mystery as well, so there is something for everyone!

If you consider reading this book, consider purchasing it from me. I will make a small commission from Amazon, but the price stays the same for you!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Those sound delicious. I've always loved mini desserts like this. I think they're fun.

  2. Cook the books is a brilliant idea! I love that. These tarts look fantastic by the way. Love the look and the taste of these, but mostly I like that you are cooking the books. That's a clever name too. LOL.

  3. Mini desserts are awesome. these look really yummy! Individual desserts are the best.

  4. Cook the Book Club sounds so fun! The pies sound like a great dessert and I like that they are mini so I don't overindulge!

  5. You had me at pies! This crust recipe sounds delicious and I love that you combine cooking with a book club. So fun!

  6. I have admittedly, never made a pie! I need to get on it!

  7. Pie is very difficult to bake! I can use some tips on this article. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I'll try it at home.

  8. This club,Cook the book sounds interesting.Nice recipe too.

  9. That looks like such a fun and yummy pie to make! I want one!

  10. Those are some tasty looking mini pies. It looks like something off the shelf from a bakeshop or cafe.

  11. YUM! I love mini pies! It makes me feel less guilty when eating them. LOL

  12. Haha I'm trying to lose weight and this isn't helping. Maybe I can find a substitute for this that is a bit less calorically dense! Or ... I can make it on my cheat day!

  13. oh that looks amazing. i have a party coming up and i may have to make this!

  14. Great idea to bake mini pies and good job on being creative in using the inverted muffin tin!


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