THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE, the twelfth book in the Domestic Diva Mystery series, is a sweet, satisfying cozy mystery! I love how the author starts each chapter off with a pie advice column question. You can always count on the protagonist, Sophie Winston, to provide a great answer while her nemesis, Natasha (who claims to be top Diva) provides advice that is best not followed. Sophie is one of those sweet, caring women who anyone would love to call a friend. Natasha, on the other hand, is abrasive and self-absorbed. However, I’ll have to admit over the course of the series, she’s grown on me and made me more likely to overlook her faults. Ms. Davis has created several memorable characters which have made this such an endearing and enduring series to her fans!
With the annual Pie Festival in full swing, Sophie finds herself involved in yet another murder when the celebrity chef falls face first into a butterscotch cream pie. Her good friend, the organizer of the festival, wants the crime solved so that the show can go on. Ms. Davis weaves a tight tale of long ago slights, an old murder, a young girl who begs Sophie to free her mother from prison, and pies galore. The author draws the reader in and keeps you turning pages with well-sprinkled clues and suspects to keep you guessing. A suspenseful conclusion wrapped up the threads of the story with a satisfying and sweet ending!
If you’re a “people of the pie vs. clan of the cake” like I am, then this book is for you! Filled with mouthwatering descriptions of all sorts of pies, the author satisfies the reader’s cravings with several pie recipes at the back of the book, both dessert pies and savory pies. As I read through the recipes, I really wanted to make them all! In the end, I allowed my granddaughter to choose the pie to celebrate her half birthday which lands on Pi Day. We started the tradition when she was three and have continued for the last eleven years. Since strawberries are a huge favorite in her house, she chose the Piled High Strawberry Pie and it was the perfect choice for springtime. And she even took after Sophie and Nina by consuming the pie not only for dessert, but breakfast too. I loved the ease and the extra flavor and texture the graham cracker crust brought to the pie. The combination of both fresh and cooked strawberries added to the appeal, while sweetened whipped cream was the crowning touch to this beautiful jewel-toned Piled High Strawberry Pie. The perfect way to celebrate the best of spring!
Nothing heats up Old Town quite like the annual Pie Festival, and this year is no exception, especially since Sophie’s professional rival, Natasha Smith, is barred from participating. Sophie, meanwhile, has been asked to oversee the pie eating contest. But the drama really rolls out when celebrity judge, Patsy Lee Presley, host of television’s most popular cooking show, bites the crust during the competition, and Sophie’s friends are suspected of the crime.
As the folks of Old Town dish, the tough truth about Patsy’s meteoric rise to domestic stardom begins to leak. It turns out that Patsy’s sweet exterior hid a secret sour side, which alienated many of her closest allies, including a jilted ex-husband, a bitter ex-mentor, and a jaded ex-best friend. With the festival falling apart, and her friends in danger of being boxed up for murder, Sophie must cobble together the clues and stop a flakey fiend from serving up any more deadly desserts.
A special thanks to Krista Davis for providing a winner with a hardcover copy of THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE. Contest ends Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
- 1 8-inch pie pan
- 9 sheets honey graham crackers (or 4.8 ounces graham cracker crumbs)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds strawberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1-1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
Melt the butter. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. With the food processor running, pour in the butter. Press into the pie pan with your fingers.
Bake 8 - 12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Wash the strawberries, hull, and cut into quarters lengthwise. Place 2 cups of the strawberries in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the sugar, and mash with a potato masher, leaving some clumps of strawberries. Add the cornstarch and mix until dissolved. Stir in the water and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cook at a simmer (you may need to turn the heat down a bit) and cook until it thickens and turns red, approximately 2 minutes.
Pour enough of the uncooked strawberries into the prepared pie pan to cover the bottom in a single layer. The should not be perfectly arranged. Some should be turned up and others down.
Ladle 1/3 of the hot strawberries over them. Add another layer of the uncooked strawberries, mounding them toward the center. Ladle another 1/3 of the cooked strawberries over them. Add the remaining uncooked strawberries, heaping them toward the middle. Ladle the remaining hot strawberries over top, slowly. (If you pour it too fast it may overflow.) Try to cover all the bare strawberries.
Refrigerate until completely chilled and set
Beat the cream until it begins to hold a shape. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until stiff.
Serve the pie with sweetened whipped cream. If you're feeling festive, pipe the whipped cream around the edges for a knockout appearance.
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I was provided an advance copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.