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Cookbooks in the Works From Hoosier Mama Pie, Other Top Chefs

By Janet Rausa Fuller | February 28, 2013 6:37am | Updated on February 28, 2013 12:35pm

CHICAGO — Paula Haney of Hoosier Mama Pie Co. inked her first cookbook deal with Evanston's Agate Publishing last year. Then came the deadlines.

The first was the week before Thanksgiving, the second the week before Christmas — the busiest times for Haney. The final deadline: March 15, the day after Pi Day on her calendar, which also is the fourth anniversary of her West Town shop at 1618½ W. Chicago Ave.

"I think perhaps I didn't realize how much work went into it," said Haney, who nonetheless came in ahead of schedule, turning in the final draft last week.

"The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie" is due out in August, one in a crop of forthcoming cookbooks from some of Chicago's top chefs (who don't own a certain gourmet hot dog stand).

Stephanie Izard is working on her second book, a collection of stories and recipes from Girl & the Goat, her first restaurant on West Randolph, across the street from her new Little Goat Diner. Izard's first cookbook, "Girl in the Kitchen," co-written by TimeOut Chicago's Heather Shouse, came out in 2011.

Pastry chef Gale Gand recently turned in the manuscript for her eighth book, "Gale Gand's Lunch." The 150-recipe book will be out next spring.

Gand, a partner at Tru, has gradually been branching out from the sweet work that has defined her career and her previous cookbooks. Her most recent book was on brunch.

"Once Rick [Tramonto, her ex-husband and former partner at Tru] and I stopped cooking together, it opened up the savory world for me. And I cook a lot at home," said Gand, mom to a 16-year-old boy and 8-year-old twin girls.

Her work as chef-in-residence at Elawa Farm in Lake Forest, where she leads cooking classes and luncheons, also gives her room to expand. Her upcoming classes include a brunch session on March 13 and 14 and an Easter class for kids on March 23. The farm's main season runs from May to December.

"I'm baking and cooking from vegetables and fruits and honey grown right there on the property," Gand said.

Haney's book also will mix sweet and savory. Allison Scott, her baker in charge of savory items, wrote that section of the book.

All 124 pies in the book have been on the menu at some point at Hoosier Mama. It's an open book, so to speak. Haney didn't alter her original recipes — not even her seven dough recipes — or hold back any techniques.

"It's silly when people are like, 'Oh, it's a secret recipe,'" she said. "For one thing, you're not giving yourself that much credit."

Recipes run the gamut, from a restaurant-worthy and rather complicated Caramel Banana Cream Pie to the shop's signature Sugar Cream Pie.

The latter is a good starting recipe for novice bakers, Haney said. Some of her frequent customers might already know this. Haney asked them to help test recipes for the book.