Pies/Hearts/Tarts & an Interview with Dynise Balcavage

If there’s one thing that I know about pie, it’s that you’re supposed to eat it for breakfast, and not just the day after Thanksgiving (or the one after that, and that, and that) . I’m not going to get into a pie vs. cake argument here, I know I’m consistently team layer cake when it comes down to it, but I do think pie tastes better in the morning, right before you brush your teeth for the day.

Autumnal breakfasts

And like every other sentimental, pie-loving person, I always start checking my inventory of flour and shortening while watching Keri Russel’s character start filling beautiful, heaping pie shells in Waitress, and consequently find myself singing the sweet song while doing the same shortly afterwards. Seriously, I’m not normally such a sap, but that’s one movie that can make me tear up. I dare the most hardcore cupcake-aficionados to watch and not experience the desire to bake and/or eat pie, no matter the time of day.

Fun fact: Urban Vegan, the home of Philadelphia-based vegan author Dynise Balcavage, was one of the very first blogs I started reading in 2006. I can tell you that she’s even more fun to get to know in person, with such lovely personal style, charisma, vocabulary and expertise that comes across both in her writing and face to face — meeting her was one of my personal highlights (for one thing, we both have a cat named ‘Zelda’) of Vida Vegan Con 2011.

In preparation for the Pies and Tarts with Heart blogtour, her second vegan cookbook, I asked Dynise a few questions, (which I’ll pretend was over a couple of slices of virtual pie), to naturally, talk pie:

Talking Pie with Dynise Balcavage…

If you’re at a (magical, vegan) diner at midnight, what pie are you ordering?

At the Magical Vegan Diner (run by Julie Hasson, of course), I don’t even have to order, thanks to Marge, the straightedge vegan waitress with the glittery bouffant hairdo. Since I’m a regular, Marge already knows she should bring me a slice of Lemon Fluff Pie, à la mode, topped with mountains of vanilla coconut ice cream and garnished with fairy dust. (Incidentally, Marge’s credo is “The higher the hair, the closer to God.”)

What’s the most surprising pie in this book?

Surprisingly Sweet Parsnip Pie, of course. Most people don’t think of parsnips as pie fodder, but I beg to differ.

If you could only eat sweet or savory pie for a month, which would you pick?

Sweet, definitely. And they would probably be citrus or creamy sweet pies.

Which pie do you recommend tackling for the pie virgins out there?

Pie making is much easier than it looks. The raw pies are adorbz and easy-peasy, especially if you are crust-phobic. But if you want something more traditional, I would say try the Pumpkin or Apple Pie first.

Have you dreamed about pie lately?
I don’t dream of pie, probably because pie is my reality, lately.

When are you making me a pie?

Come visit me in Philly, Jess, and I will make you the pie of your choice and take you to Vedge for cocktails and yumm

Done and done. A Philly visit has been long overdue on my radar.

Frozen Grasshopper Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

I’ve been playing around with a trio of pie recipes since I received my copy, hot off the presses, and have dozens of the inspiring, playful sweet and savory recipes noted for future pie-making hobby time when I return from my travels (and with writing this without a kitchen, there’s been a piece of coconut cream pie calling my name at Blue Diamond all week long).

What I’ve made so far…The Grasshopper Pie was the mint chocolate chip ice cream pie of my childhood dreams, when no other flavor would even cross my mind at ice cream shoppes (and I’d remain flabbergasted when presented with chunks or flakes vs. chips, the minis were the best). I made the classic Pumpkin Pie for J. Legume’s birthday, with so much tasty filling remaining (as noted may delightfully happen in the book) we had two pies’ worth. it was a pleasantly spiced classic, in which as they say, no one would ever guess contained tofu, which is always fun. The very first pie I made was the Gingered-Pear, which was likely the most heavenly aromatic flavor combination I’ve put in a pie yet. My dough was a bit on the patchwork side with the last days of my former, haphazard food processor put to work, but crumbly pie crust + the sweet & spicy root + saucy, local pears with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream makes for an always welcome dessert, or let’s keep being real here, for brunch alongside an Americano.

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla-Nutmeg-infused Coconut Whip, topped with cinnamon

You may be thinking, do I really need another vegan pie book? (You know, if you have Vegan Pie in the Sky, which I’m sure you do)

And I ask you: Why…wouldn’t…you need another pie book….especially one that features just as many sweet (and raw! and ice cream!) as savoury pies?

Point surely made.

Gingered-Pear Pie

Birthday pie. Sometimes, you can say Yes to crack.

Don’t mind me, this following photo was taken the very the night before we left for our hiatus.


Zelda agrees

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla-Nutmeg-infused Coconut Whip, topped with cinnamon

Catch up with Dynise at the Urban Vegan blog here.

For more on Pies and Tarts with Heart, which for all my proofreading, I probably referred to as ‘Pies and Hearts with Tart’ (the sassy spin-off?) at least once, head over to Powells.com or wherever else you buy your books.


  1. The frozen pies look oh so amazing! I love Dynise’s blog as well, it was one of the first I started reading, along with yours.

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