Most helpful positive review
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
This book will give you pie making skills!
on July 11, 2012
This book is an excellent piece of work. If you would like to get really good at making pies, and tarts, I highly recommend it as an addition to a baker's cookbook collection. The book begins with the basics in which it contains a discussion on the essentials and tips and tricks for turning out beautiful pie, tart, puff pastry, and even doughs that I was pleasantly surprised to find in the book like, for example, the pizza dough (a recipe, by the way, that will rival any good bread cookbook that includes pizza dough in the contents). The book provides "a few master recipes" for caramel, ganache fruit glaze, and pastry cream, with several options for making a variation, e.g., chocolate, salted caramel, coconut, or pumpkin, etc.
The book is organized very well with chapters that focus on berries, to stone fruit, to apples and pears, to dates and figs, to my favorite chapter "sweet & creamy" pies, which includes a buttermilk peach pie, a bruleed maple custard tart, a boston cream pie, and a butterscotch meringue pie, etc. I really love, love, love that chapter! It then moves into "chewy and chocolaty" pies, to "tart and tropical" ones--with the pineapple coconut macaroon tart being an excellent choice in this section--to pies made with nuts, e.g., classic pecan, and a macadamia coconut-caramel tart (which I plan to make soon after an upcoming visit to Hawaii when I will have the opportunity to visit a macadamia farm and bring some of those babies back with me). The book also has a strudel chapter, and an excellent savory chapter as well that includes chicken pot pie, and pizza pie recipes. The book ends with a chapter that asks you to put your new found pie making skills to the test with what she calls masterpiece recipes. This section includes a link to the author's blog where the reader can find video and photo demonstrations of some of the techniques featured in that chapter, and the others as well.
I really like how the ingredients are presented in tables and include both weight and volume measurements. I also appreciate that the instructions are numbered, making it really easy to follow along should you have to check back with them while in the process of making a recipe.
Her quick puff pastry is a gem of a recipe. It is well explained, and the pictures make it super easy to follow. I couldn't tell much of a difference in terms of texture and puff from using this quick puff pastry versus one that uses a traditional process.
I recently made a chocolate cream pie and had leftover filling. Her hand pie dough recipe was the perfect way to use it up and make chocolate cream hand pies. They were absolutely delicious! I also just made a nectarine and vanilla cream tart and used her sweet tart dough and pastry cream recipe with only small adaptations. They turned out great. In fact, you can check out the finished product on my blog (Baker With a Cause) if you would like the opportunity to see more recipes from the book.
While this book is definitely not one that simply sticks to the classics, I've really appreciated the opportunity to make pies that I would associate more with buying at a bakery. If you are a serious home baker, this book will definitely add to your skill set. However, the writing style, organization, and photographs in the book will make it easy for just about anyone to turn out beautiful pies. It is definitely worth 5 stars.