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Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic House Hardcover – April 16, 2014


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Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic House + Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie + The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie: Recipes, Techniques, and Wisdom from the Hoosier Mama Pie Company
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Basic Pie Dough for Single-Crust Pie
Basic Pie Dough for Single-Crust Pie
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Basic Pie Dough for Single-Crust Pie

"Fear of making pie dough is the number one reason people run to the store for pre-packaged pie dough and frozen pie. I feel it’s my personal mission to help these would-be bakers by sharing some of my confidence-building guidelines. It’s just pie. You don’t need a culinary school degree or any kind of degree at all to make it. All you need is desire, a few pointers, and some encouragement to break the rules!"

Before You Begin:

Contrary to what other cookbooks will tell you, extra flour will not make your dough tough; adding flour to your rolling surface will keep your dough from sticking—and will keep you from running to the store in frustration to buy pre-made pie crust. Always start from the center and roll out to the edges, rolling in one direction. Keep your workspace clean and take the time to scrape the gunk off your rolling surface as well as your rolling pin. When rolling dough, use your pie dish to calculate how big you’ll need it, allowing for enough extra width to account for the depth of the dish and make sure the extra inch or two of overhang from the dish has enough bulk for crimping the edge. Size isn’t the only goal when rolling dough—you want to aim for a certain “thinness. ”

Directions:

1. In a deep, large bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour and salt with your hands until you have almond- and pea-sized lumps of butter. 2. Then, drizzling in ice water a little at a time, “toss” the water around with your fingers spread, as if the flour were a salad and your hands were the salad tongs. Don’t spend a lot of time mixing the dough, just focus on getting it moistened. Translation: With each addition of water, toss about four times and then STOP, add more water, and repeat. 3. When the dough holds together on its own (and with enough water, it will), do a “squeeze test. ” If it falls apart, you need to add more water. If it is soggy and sticky, you might need to sprinkle flour onto it until the wetness is balanced out. The key is to not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t! 4. Now divide the dough in two balls (or three, if your pie dishes are smaller) and form each into a disk shape. 5. Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Roll to a thinness where the dough almost seems transparent.


Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1¼ cups flour, plus at least ¼ extra for rolling
  • Dash of salt
  • Ice water (fill a ½ cup but use only enough to moisten dough)

Review

"Howard's new cookbook, Ms. American Pie, offers an old-fashioned view of pie-baking: It is much easier than non-bakers think." - Courier-Post, Camden, NJ

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Race Point Publishing (April 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937994686
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937994686
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Beth M. Howard, author of "Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie" and "Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic House," has been a journalist for more than 25 years specializing in personality profiles, adventure travel, and outdoor sports. She has written for Shape, Elle, Travel & Leisure, Fitness, and many other magazines. Her assignments have taken her sky diving, dog sledding in Alaska, scuba diving with sharks, and competing in the Eco-Challenge, a ten-day multi-sport race through Utah's wilderness, which she and her team successfully finished.She has worked as a senior editor for Sports Traveler and a contributing editor for Sports Illustrated Women. She has been a producer for MSN.com's Women's Channel and for MSNBC.com's 2002 Winter Olympics official Web site. For six years she freelanced for Microsoft Corporation as the content editor for Bill Gates' annual CEO Summit.

Before becoming a journalist, Howard established herself as a successful public relations executive. She began as a PR manager for a Hyatt Hotels mega-resort in Hawaii, which led to an account executive position at Rogers & Cowan in Los Angeles, where she launched the original hit TV series Beverly Hills, 90210. Other high-profile PR projects have included Diedrich Coffee, Hilton Hotels, and FUEL TV (a unit of Fox), establishing an internal publicity department for the action-sports cable network.

At the age of 25, she started a gourmet coffee business in Nairobi, Kenya, living the life of a modern-day Karen Blixen. She marketed her award-winning coffee in Kenya and the U.S. But after convincing The New York Times to run a story on her product, she knew media was her true calling.

She received a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, graduating in three years with an emphasis on communications and environmental studies. She has worked and lived throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. She continues to practice speaking French, Spanish, and German, though, admittedly, she gave up on Japanese and has forgotten most of her Swahili.

From 2010 to 2014, Beth lived in Eldon, Iowa, in the famous American Gothic House, where she wrote her memoir, "Making Piece" (published April 2012) and her cookbook, "Ms. American Pie" (published April 2014) and ran the Pitchfork Pie Stand. She is currently writing a memoir about living in the famous Iowa tourist attraction. She continues to write for magazines and is developing a TV/web series about pie. Her story and her blog, "The World Needs More Pie," has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, New York Times, Readers Digest, Midwest Living, Real Simple, Country Living, CBS This Morning, NPR, and many other national media outlets.

Customer Reviews

I own lots of pie cookbooks and this is one of the best.
georgi-girl
I have made many recipes from this book and they all have come out delicious!
Amazon Customer
The illustrations are mouth-watering and the recipes are easy to follow.
Mary HT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Tart on April 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Beth Howard's first book (Making Piece, A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie) and loved it. I have been inspired, educated and entertained by her love and knowledge of pie and its ability to bring people together, offer comfort and heal. I preordered Ms. American Pie and just finished reading it. My thoughts are: first, Beth's relatable, humor filled writing style is easy to read. I loved the stories she weaves into her narrative about each pie. Second the size of the book is a nice surprise, its bigger than a novel hardcover would be. Third the pictures are beautiful and the pies look mouth watering. The recipes are not intimidating, but doable. Now I will admit I haven't made any of them yet except the apple which is excellent. Beth includes not only her own pie recipes, but many award winners as well, and old recipes handed down through families, and I can't wait to try them. There are quite a variety of pie recipes, including fruit pies, cream pies, custard pies, savory pies, and little mini pies and hand pies. This would make a great gift to anyone who likes to bake, or for a bridal shower gift along with a pie plate, rolling pin and a cute apron. I have met Beth at one of her book signing events and she is as nice and unpretentious as you would think from reading this book. Beth has inspired me and a lot of other people to do something simple to show we care, to pay it forward...make pie. And these pies look delicious!!! You will love this book, I did. Buy it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Fu on April 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'm actually really intimidated by pie and not just because of the carbs and butter involved. Here's what happened: a long time ago I made a quiche with a homemade crust for a brunch party and someone else bought one and everyone ate the store-bought one and not the homemade one, because frankly, it was better. So I got my feelings hurt and got turned off pie.

THEN I found this cookbook and decided to try again, mainly because the author is really funny and just makes it seem like no big deal--and you know what, she's right. Who cares if you mess up a crust? Try again. She puts baking into this perspective that it's a process and a beautiful one, at that. My husband's pretty damn happy with my new philosophy. My kids too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marylyn L Gillespie on August 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How can we not love pie. How can we not love Beth Howard. All of Iowa is sad she could no longer keep up with her business in the American Gothic House but here we have her refreshing 'voice' along with her recipes and we can make our own pie. Plus not only is the content of this book fun and educational and enjoyable but it is simply a very beautiful book. I have owned it quite some time now and haven't yet been able to shelve it. I have, however, used many of the recipes. This past wesk it was Gooseberry pie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Farmer on November 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Beth ' s book about her journey through loss and how pie helped her heal. I also bought this book. I think both were amazingly helpful in finally understanding how to treat the ingredients so I get a tender crust that holds together. I appreciate Beth's "low-tech" approach. I bought a $300 food processor so I could make crust....but haven't even plugged it in! I'm not great at machines! I like the low-stress, forgiving nature of Beth's instructions. If you have longed to make pies from scratch, I can't recommend this book and her other book The Missing Piece, enough. Also, Google and watch some of her video demonstrations. I almost cried when I rolled out my first crust and was then able to roll it up on my rolling pin to move it to my pie dish. I was jumping up and down in my kitchen! My husband thought I'd gone nuts! I was like, "Look! Look!" And I held up my rolling pin with the crust on it. He said he didn't realize that was the litmus test. IT ABSOLUTELY is the pinnacle! ! I've made several pies since and given them away to friends all with high praise. I've always been able to make cheesecake, cookies, cakes, etc. But there is something so wonderful about giving a homemade pie. Thanks, Beth, for sharing your love and knowledge with the world! I truly appreciate it! !!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SK on June 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Lots of great photos and fun personal stories of her journey as a pie chef. One of those that you are compelled to page through from front to back. Great instruction on techniques, and lots of encouragement!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Nahra on April 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I learned to make pies while traveling with Beth, and this book contains everything i learned about making pie and more. I have reviewed many cookbooks and recipes for making pies but have not found one to be so accurate and easy to follow. I have found that some recipes will set one up for failure or make you shop for ingredients that are not really necessary and will remain gathering dust long after the pie is made.This book not only provides easy to understand instructions, but stories that will lift one's spirit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia J on June 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My New Year"s resolution was to bake a pie with confidence. I randomly found Beth Howard on a facebook page under pie. I saw that she had a book going to print called Ms. American Pie and one in print titled Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie. I pre-orderd Ms. American Pie on amazon.com and bought Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie. I was hooked. Her technique for baking pie was all I needed to bake delicious pie with a flakey crust without over-thinking every step. The recipes in Ms American pie are delicious. I had never heard of making strawberry pie with a crumb topping. I made it for Mother's Day and it was a huge hit. It is now the pie I bake to share with family and friends. Ms. American Pie has great stories, delicous recipies, and pictures to show Beth's techniques to easy pie baking. Beth Howard taught me to make never fail pies to share with family and friends. The book Ms. American Pie was just what I needed and I actually kept my New Year's Resolution to bake pie with confidence.
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