MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Finally today, you might still be getting that Thanksgiving menu together. So we want to call your attention to a bite-sized dessert that might not stretch your stomach out as much as grandma's sweet potato pie. We're talking pie pops, something like a pie on a stick. If you're confused by that, we're going to straighten that out for you. Joining us to tell us more about her most in-demand new product is Andrea Smetona, owner of Cakewalk Desserts in Laguna, California and author of the new book "Easy as Pie Pops." Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.
ANDREA SMETONA: Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: I think people have seen, like, cake on a stick, like a cake pop. And I think, maybe if you've ever been to a country fair, then you might have seen all kinds of things being served on a stick. But I got to tell you, I don't know that I've ever seen pie served on a stick. So how did you come up with this one?
SMETONA: I particularly like pie more than I do cake, and I know so do a few other people. So while I was trying to master the cake pop, I thought, you know, why not offer both for those people that are like me. And sure enough, they were just as easy to do and just as fun.
MARTIN: What do you think people like about it? Is it - what is it - Americans - that we just - it's like we have to drive through everything, so it's got to be convenient. What is it that you think people like about it?
SMETONA: I think that's right. I think it's because they are portable. They're less messy, and they're perfectly portioned. I mean, you can have a couple different kinds versus one big piece of pie. You can get, you know, maybe two or three different flavors, and you don't have to commit. So...
MARTIN: You don't have to commit. You can have, like, your...
MARTIN: You can have your - OK. I don't want to say it, but I'm going to say it. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
MARTIN: You can have your pie and eat it, too. OK. All right, now dumb question - do you need a tiny, little rolling pin?
SMETONA: No, you basically just roll out a standard nine-inch pie crust, and you can use different cookie-cutters. I like at least a three-inch cookie-cutter - round, heart-shaped, star. And you kind of just do it like you would a cookie-cutter, but you just need a top and a bottom crust. So if you're going to do a dozen, you'd just stamp out, you know, 24. And then you lay them out on a cookie sheet. You press the sticks in. You put your filling, and then you kind of make a pie pocket. So you lay the top crust over it. And then you bake just as you would a normal pie, obviously a lot less time. So usually, it's about 350 - 375 for about 15 minutes.
MARTIN: Have you ever had any pie pop disasters, like they just, like, flipped off the stick or anything like that?
SMETONA: Well, when I first started, sure. Absolutely. And, you know, my husband was always right there to kind of eat the mistakes. So he's kind of disappointed I don't mess up as much anymore. So, you know, you get better as you go along.
MARTIN: What do you think we should be thinking about if we're still getting that holiday menu together? What are some of the popular flavors that you would - or variations that you would steer us toward?
SMETONA: The holiday season, I really like the nutty flavors, like I have a Texas pecan pie pop. And there's a pumpkin cheesecake. That's always really popular. I also include cake pops and my tea cakes as well - my little, mini loaves of bread, too. And they're savory and sweet, so not everybody likes sweet. So you can go with a savory flavor if you'd like to.
MARTIN: So, Andrea, is this something we really can do ourselves or is this just something you put together to make us all feel bad and know that you're better than us...
SMETONA: It really...
MARTIN: ...To make us feel inadequate that, like, yeah, actually Andrea has, like, an awesome - is going to have an awesome Thanksgiving...
MARTIN: ...And you're not, so...
SMETONA: No, I really wanted to make sure everybody could do it because that's exactly right. I hate getting cookbooks, and I'm just like, oh, this look so pretty and mine turns out not looking so pretty. So I really took time to kind of make some step-by-step instructions and some tools and tips in the front of the book for the pie pops. You know, there's a little more steps than baking a traditional pie. But I think they're fun, and people really get into it.
MARTIN: Where do you get the little sticks?
SMETONA: Oh, any craft...
MARTIN: Where do you get the little sticks? Like, do you have to, like...
SMETONA: Any craft store.
MARTIN: ...Get a whole bunch of Tootsie Pops and, like, break them off?
SMETONA: They're called cookie sticks or lollipop sticks. And you can get them at any craft store - Michaels, Hobby Lobby. I think even Target carries them now.
SMETONA: So they're pretty easy to find.
MARTIN: All right, what are you serving for Thanksgiving?
SMETONA: Well, we actually had two Thanksgivings. One was this past Thursday. And I think I'm going to be doing English toffee or have a cranberry walnut crisp pie pop. And I think I'm going to make those for everybody.
MARTIN: All right, well, happy Thanksgiving.
SMETONA: Thank you. You, too.
MARTIN: Andrea Smetona is owner of Cakewalk Desserts. That's in Laguna, California. Her new book "Easy as Pie Pops" shows you how to do it. She swears it's easy. Andrea, if they're not easy, I'm calling you up at home. I'm calling you up at home.
MARTIN: And she joined us from Irvine, California. Andrea, thank you for sharing with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
SMETONA: Thank you. You, too, Michel.
MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.