Detroit pastry chef Lisa Ludwinski will add a new line to her resume this week: author. The founder of West Village’s magnetic bakery Sister Pie is set to release her first-ever cookbook on Tuesday, October 2. Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit is being published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Ten Speed Press.
The 256-page book not only reveals the Sister Pie recipes that have made the small bakery on Detroit’s east side irresistible to its fans, but also the more day-to-day details of what makes the shop tick. Ludwinski opens the book by introducing readers to the history behind the Sister Pie — including its social media-famous #dancebreaks — and also dives deeply into its mission within the community.
Ludwinski’s words and recipes are accompanied by 75 stunning, color photos from seasoned local photographer EE Berger. Berger not only captures the pretty — but not overly precious — pastries served at the West Village shop, but also the faces of the many bandana-wearing women who help make Sister Pie such a uniquely welcoming space.
As in the shop, recipes in Ludwinski’s cookbook are roughly aligned with the seasons. Favorites like sour cherry bourbon pie and rhubarb rosemary streusel pie, for example, are filed under “Spring + Summer Pies” while selections like cardamom tahini squash pie can be found under the “Fall + Winter Pies” section. In addition to the pies, Ludwinski has included recipes for other favorites at the bakery including buckwheat chocolate chip cookies, apple cheddar rye hand pies, and salads.
Ludwinski, a 2015 Eater Young Gun, is a cookbook connoisseur and her journey into writing began two years ago with a New Year’s resolution that turned into a real life cookbook deal. In a 2017 interview, she told Eater that she wanted people to feel empowered rather than intimidated by her recipes. “I want the books to be worn and used a lot,” she said.
Each recipe is paired with thoughtful introductions including stories from the shop and suggestions for how to deal with certain tricky ingredients. “I just had so much fun compiling those memories and thoughts and I just can’t wait for people to read and share them,” Ludwinski told Eater.
Structured experimentation is a core part of the ethos at Sister Pie where wild combinations of texture and flavor are often encased in expertly prepared pie dough. That spirit of innovation is encouraged in the book. “Trying to act in an improv scene without a prompt or style — a blank slate — is cruel and unusual punishment (and also just bad theatre),” she writes. “It’s the same in the kitchen. Once you master a recipe, you should have the confidence to strut around the pantry, adding this and that.”
Sister Pie is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and publishes tomorrow. Ludwinski is also taking the book on the road with a tour to several cities around the East Coast and Midwest. That schedule is available below. Take a peek at some the recipes here from the anticipated new fall cookbook.
Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie, copyright © 2018. Photography by E. E. Berger. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
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