by Cynthia Chow
& Kirsten Weiss
This week we have a review of Bleeding Tarts, a Pie Town Mystery by Kirsten Weiss. We also have a fun pie recipe from Kirsten perfect to make for Dad on Father’s Day! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Bleeding Tarts along with a link to purchase the book from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Bleeding Tarts: A Pie Town Mystery By Kirsten Weiss
Review by Cynthia Chow
In a sugar-fueled bout of optimism, Valentine Harris doubled the staff of her new California coastal Pie Town shop. The future of her business depends on landing Silicon Valley’s Bar X as a client, with the first step being the pies she and her piecrust specialist Charlene McCree are providing for the Old West ghost town’s pie-eating competition. Someone’s taking the sharp-shooting realism to heart when a gunshot knocks a cherry pie out of Val’s hands, and another man shot dead in an alley outside of the saloon. Val was looking forward to meeting Detective Gordon Carmichael for what was to be their first date; they’d been on a lot of confusing non-dates, but this was not how she anticipated their time together.
Charlene’s life-long nemesis Marla already appears to have her talons firmly poised to snag Bar X’s owner Ewan Frith, but the rivalry kicks into high gear when she hears of their reputation as amateur detectives. Marla vows to find the killer before the Baker Street Bakers, and with Charlene equally determined to beat Marla and make up for a long list of past traumas, Pie Town is once again about to become enmeshed in dangerous levels of drama. The octogenarian and much younger Val might seem to have little in common, but together they make an outstanding, if somewhat dysfunction, detecting duo. Charlene loves conspiracies and Twitter, Val has a UFO phobia and strong streak of practicality, and when combined, they are an absolute joy to see in action.
Val is a character readers would want as a friend, and Charlene, the woman they wish they could be. Charlene has earned the right to be impulsive, and her strong will pushes the much more hesitant Val into taking action in her life. Their banter and hilarious exchanges are a delight, and despite their antics the friendship between the women is moving and realistic. This second in the series continues to be loads of fun, with Val powering through her misadventures with a lot of excellent baking and crust-covered delights. She continues to battle with her ex’s gym-owning girlfriend, but when someone goes off the sugar-abstaining-wagon, they really go off. Creative pie recipes will no doubt please foodies, but the real treat comes with the exuberant humor and sustained level of intrigue and fun. This is another winning series by an author who never falters in presenting unique, sharply written mysteries.
Father’s Day Choco Peanut Butter Pie
By Kirsten Weiss
One thing Val Harris of Pie Town can’t resist is a good, peanut butter pie. And though her father is… well, more on that in book three, Pie Hard, she’s always thought of a creamy peanut butter pie as the perfect Father’s Day treat!
Val can’t use an Oreo crust in Pie Town, because her pie crust specialist, Charlene, would revolt. But when she makes a peanut butter pie for herself, at home, she goes full chocolate crust. Here’s her private, chocolate crust recipe:
4 T (tablespoons) melted butter
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding
2 C cold milk, divided in half
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1/2 C creamy peanut butter, divided in half
2 C thawed whipped cream, divided in half
1 heaping tablespoon (T) semi-sweet chocolate chips (for drizzling over the top of the pie)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse 25 Oreos in a food processor until you can’t see any of the white filling. Drizzle 4 tablespoons (T) melted butter over the Oreo crumbs and mix.
Pour the crumbs into a pie tin and press into a crust shape with your fingers.
Bake the crust for 5-7 minutes, until it is set. Remove the pie crust from the oven and set aside to cool completely. (You can turn off the oven now).
Beat the chocolate pudding mix and 1 cup milk for two minutes until thickened. Spread the mixture onto the bottom of the cooled crust with a spatula or wide spoon. In a large bowl, blend the remaining 1 cup milk and cream cheese, beating constantly with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the dry vanilla pudding mix and beat for two more minutes.
Reserve 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter and add the remaining peanut butter to the vanilla pudding mixture. Beat the entire mixture until the peanut butter is well blended. Add 1 cup whipped cream and gently fold it into the vanilla/peanut butter mix. Spread the entire mixture over the chocolate pudding layer to within one inch of the pie crust’s edge. Top the pie with the remaining 1 cup whipped cream, bringing the cream to the edge of the pie crust to create a mounded shape.
Refrigerate the pie for three hours.
You’re almost ready to eat! But since Father’s Day is special, this pie needs a little decorating….
Just before serving, microwave the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl on high for 15 seconds or until it’s melted when stirred. Melt the chocolate chips as directed on the package. Drizzle the melted peanut butter and next the melted chocolate over the pie.
Fore more great pie recipes and a dose of cozy mystery, read Bleeding Tarts!
Val’s new pies are foolproof—but not bulletproof.
Old West ghost towns are as American as apple pie. So what better place to sponsor a pie-eating contest than the Bar X, a fake ghost town available for exclusive private events on the edge of Silicon Valley? Valentine Harris is providing the pies, hoping to boost business for her struggling Pie Town shop and become a regular supplier for the Bar X.
But no sooner does she arrive in town than a stray bullet explodes the cherry pie in her hands. And the delicious dessert is not the only victim. Val finds the Bar X bartender shot dead in an alley. Egged on by her flaky friend and pie crust specialist, Charlene, Val aims to draw out the shooter. But solving a real murder in a fake ghost town won’t be easy as pie. And if Val doesn’t watch her back, her pies won’t be the only thing filled full of lead . . .
To enter to win a copy of Bleeding Tarts, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “tarts,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 30, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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