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The Pie and Pastry Bible Hardcover – November 11, 1998

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Dinner Pies: From Shepherd’s Pies and Pot Pies to Tarts, Turnovers, Quiches, Hand Pies, and More, with 100 Delectable and Foolproof Recipes by Ken Haedrich
"Dinner Pies" by Ken Haedrich
Dinner Pies includes 100 recipes for two-crust, one-crust, and no-crust pies. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews Review

Reading about the ins and outs of baking the perfect, flaky pie crust is a little like reading about how to achieve the perfect golf swing: the proof is in the doing. And it often takes a remarkably intuitive reader to understand exactly what the author is getting at. Not so the work of Rose Levy Beranbaum, the author who gave us The Cake Bible. If ever there was a cookbook author who could place her hands on top of yours, putting you through the proper motions, helping you arrive at just the right touch, Beranbaum is the one.

The Pie and Pastry Bible begins with the crust. The author confesses right up front that 21 years ago, when she first began her quest for the perfect crust, "it was a complete mystery to me." She wasn't looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but something she could consistently turn out at a moment's notice. The ideal pie crust, she writes, "has light, flaky layers, but also ... is tender, and nicely browned, with a flavor good enough to eat by itself."

In a book that stretches to about 700 pages long, her favorite pie crust is the first recipe: Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust. Typically, Beranbaum lists the ingredients by measure and weight for three separate sizes of pies, then gives instructions for the food processor or by hand.

After 70 pages of pie crusts, tart crusts, and crumb pie crusts of every imaginable make and combination, Beranbaum starts with fruit pies. Her first (of many) detailed charts shows exactly what her ratios are of fruit to sugar to cornstarch. Then each recipe (start with The Best All American Apple Pie) includes pointers for success as well as several variations on the theme. Under the headline "Understanding," Beranbaum goes that extra mile by taking the trouble to explain just why something works the way it does.

If you are only going to own one cookbook for pie and pastry recipes of every imaginable stripe and combination, you can't go wrong with this one. It's the Bible, after all. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Precision is the trademark style of Los Angeles Times-syndicated food columnist Berenbaum, a baking and chocolate industry consultant and author (The Cake Bible) who demystifies the art (and science) of pie and pastry making. Exacting instructions in this compendium of sweet and savory "how-tos" (achieve the flakiest pie crust, shape and bake croissants, apply decorative techniques, etc.) may open new doors for daunted home bakers and dessert dabblers, while offering serious amateurs an additional resource for creative inspiration. Recipe ingredients are given in both volume and weight (ounces and grams). Pies and tarts include sweet (e.g., Fig Tart with Mascarpone Cream) and savory (e.g., Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pies; Roasted Red Pepper and Poblano Quiche). The pastry section includes classic French puff pastry, Danish pastry, phyllo and strudel doughs among others. End chapters cover fundamentals like techniques (decorating, measuring ingredients), ingredients (often with stated brand preferences) and appropriate equipment (mixers, tart pans, etc.). Accompanying sections to recipesA"Pointers for Success" and "Understanding" (notes on food chemistry)Aclearly detail the scientific underpinnings of the baking process. Indeed a "bible" for novices and serious amateurs alike, this time-tested encyclopedic tome distills Berenbaum's 21 years dedicated to the pastry arts in a clearly written, thoroughly documented manual. First serial to Family Circle; BOMC/Good Cook main selection; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (November 11, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684813483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684813486
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rose Levy Beranbaum is the award-winning author of 10 cookbooks, including the upcoming The Baking Bible (November 4, 2014) and The Cake Bible, now in its 50th printing and the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year for 1988. The Cake Bible was also listed by the James Beard Foundation as one of the top 13 baking books on "the Essential Book List." Rose also won a James Beard Foundation Award in 1998 for Rose's Christmas Cookies, and her book, The Bread Bible, was an IACP and James Beard Foundation nominee and was listed as one of the Top Ten Books of 2003 by Publishers Weekly and Food & Wine. Her most recent book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, won the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year for 2010. She is a contributing editor to Food Arts magazine and writes regularly for the Washington Post, Fine Cooking, Reader's Digest, and Bride's. Her popular blog,, has created an international community of bakers where you can visit Rose Levy Beranbaum and join in the discussion on all things baking. While you are there, you can bring the author right into your kitchen as she demonstrates key techniques and shares trade secrets so that you can create perfectly divine cakes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

319 of 325 people found the following review helpful By Rose L. Beranbaum on September 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have only just discovered "reader reviews" and want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful thoughts you have shared about my work. I also want to address the people who are having trouble with one of my all time favorites--the lemon meringue pie. There is no mistake in this recipe. More yolks result in a thicker filling not a thinner one UNLESS they are not brought to a temperature of over 160 degrees fahrenheit to destroy the amylase--an enzyme which will, within hours, thin out the filling. Since the rest of the filling is boiling hot when contacting the yolks, this should ensure that the yolks get heated adequately but evidentally in some cases this must not be so. Perhaps the yolks were cold from the refrigerator. SOLUTION: As a safeguard, after adding the yolks, bring the mixture back to a boil. I promise it will not thin out if you do this! The cornstarch in the mixture will protect the yolks from curdling so don't be afraid. It's too good a pie to miss! All the best, Rose Levy Beranbaum
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127 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on November 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
When I heard that Rose Levy Beranbaum was coming out with a new cookbook, I was very excited. The author of the Cake Bible and Rose's Christmas Cookies, she is known for her excellent recipes and very detailed instructions. Her new book, The Pie and Pastry Bible is no exception. The book contains not only 315 delectable recipes for pies,tarts, quiches and pastries but also has sections on techniques, ingredients,and equipment. She extensively covers these topics explaining, for example,how to make the perfect pie crust by giving step-by-step instructions on how to blend and measure flours, roll, cut, shape and bake the crust. In every recipe, if you follow her instructions to the letter, a three star dessert will be your reward.
In reviewing The Pie and Pastry Bible I made the Lemon Pucker Pie, Brownie Puddle, Great Pumpkin Pie, and the Open Faced Designer Apple Pie. Every recipe turned out and tasted wonderful. It is obvious that Rose Levy Berenbaum has tested every recipe to ensure perfect results. This book however, is for the professional or serious baker. To go through this amount of trouble to make something, you must really know and appreciate quality. This is not the sort of book you buy if you want to make something quickly as it could easily frustrate the novice baker. For example, making the apple pie involves many steps. The apples are first cut, mixed with ingredients, macerated for 30 minutes to 3 hours, and then placed in a colander to drain. The liquid is reduced and then re-added to the cut apples with cornstarch. This does result in a wonderful apple flavor, but is it worth the effort? When I weigh the extra time and effort involved, I would rather sacrifice a little taste and make it the old-fashioned easier way.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By NuJoi VINE VOICE on November 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now this is what folks mean when they talk about a definitive book. I will never have to purchase another pie and pastry how-to. This book covers it all with a depth that satisfies all questions. If you love Alton Brown and judiciously read all of the Cooks Illustrated background testing info, this book is for you. I am so happy with this book that I am not just looking up specific recipes, I am literally reading it as if it were a novel. (I am a curious cook.)

For the novice pie and pastry baker, you may think this will be too overwhelming for you. I think this is written in such a way that you will "get it" and thus start out making things correctly. For the experienced, this book is a problem solver and is the road to perfection.

This book contains more than 300 recipes. There are more than 15 recipes for pie crusts plus variations. With that said, obviously not every pie under the sun is here, but there is enough information for you to make improvements on any recipe that is not covered.

This book is so close to perfect, I gave it five stars. However, I do have some criticisms. First, this book needs to better catalog the recipes. The table of contents lists simply the chapters, such as fruit pies, tarts, custard pies etc. The chapters delve into the subject without listing the recipes. I would prefer that each chapter had a mini table of contents that listed individual recipes.

My second criticism is the altering of classic recipes to suit her personal tastes. I realize this is completely subjective, but if she were a Southerner, I wouldn't have to continue to hunt for recipes for chess pie and coconut custard pie. This is the same criticism I had of the Cook's Illustrated baking volume too.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As someone who had tried various pie-crust recipes over the years and never gotten it quite right, reading Berenbaum's aptly named bible was a revelation. The complex and rather unorthodox techniques for cutting in fat into the flour had me skeptical at first but, having tried several of the various crust recipes in this book, I will never make a crust the easy old way again. If you want to make consistently perfect, by which I mean delectably tender and flaky, crust, this book is for you. The cream-cheese crust that Berenbaum calls the soul of her book is alone worth the price of the book.
In addition, there's the fool-proof technique for ensuring an apple pie in which the juices cling just so to the apple slices yet puddle just a little on the plate -- no more runny apple pies. The multi-step technique, which involves macerating the apple slices, draining the liquid that forms, and boiling down the liquid to a syrup before baking, is time-consuming, but the results are worth it. I tried the apple pie recipe, and my husband rated it a 10! I am one reader who will never again simply toss the apple slices in sugar and bake, on the off-chance that the liquids might (or might not) reduce enough during baking.
The book is invaluable also for the understanding it gives the reader of how the various ingredients in pie crust work, e.g., why the addition of baking powder to pie crust is a must for flakiness, why the crust dough needs to be kneaded harder and longer to make it strong enough to wrap around a meat loaf or the filling of a turnover, etc.
I could go on and on about the merits of this book. Although I wish no one else would read it so that I could be the only person in the world (besides the author) who can make marvelous crust, I cannot help thinking this is a book that should not be kept a secret.
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