Customer Review

121 of 141 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Foolproof is anything but foolproof, November 22, 2012
This review is from: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust (Hardcover)
I was so excited to get this cookbook! I have Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics and it is wonderful. I've also used some recipes from her other cookbooks and have never been disappointed. So far I have made six recipes from Foolproof. The Endive, Orange and Roquefort Salad was pretty good but I felt the dressing was a little bland. The Mustard Marinated Flank Steak recipe was all right, but again, nothing I couldn't live without. It went downhill from there. The Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken was not what I had hoped. The crumb coating is very delicious and flavorful but it doesn't stay on the chicken at all. While you try to eat the chicken, the crumbs are just making a huge pile on the plate. The skin doesn't get crisp, it stays soggy so you just have to peel it away with some of the crumbs. It's as if the chicken and coating never melded; they remained two separate things. I thought I might have better success with dessert so I decided to use the Perfect Pie Crust recipe and make both the Ultimate Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whipped Cream and the Maple Pecan Pie. Keep in mind that I made these pies for company without a test run thinking, I can trust Ina's recipes, after all how bad can a pumpkin and pecan pie be? I'm not a beginner cook; I've been cooking for 20 years and I've made several pumpkin and pecan pies using my old tried and true recipes. As I was making the pumpkin pie, I noticed that it called for hardly any spice compared to the standard recipe. Against my better judgment I thought, Well, I'm going to do it Ina's way; she knows what she's doing. The pie turned out a pale insipid color that my friend's agreed did not taste like pumpkin pie at all. The pie cracked terribly, too. As she says, the texture is more mousse like than usual, and I think this recipe could be salvaged by adding more spice. The Rum Whipped Cream was delicious and I will make it again. The pecan pie was a disaster. My heart sank when I started cutting it. It was slightly watery and the filling was curdled like cottage cheese, plus there was hardly any filling at all and way too many pecans. I did some research and found that while Ina's recipe uses 2 1/2 cups of pecans, most recipes use around 1 1/2 cups. Most recipes also use 1/4 to 3/4 cup more sugar, and they all use some granulated sugar. The pie crust recipe was good, though. My friends were gracious but I knew the pies were bad and it was embarrassing. That night my husband threw the rest of both pies in the garbage and that's when I knew it was bad because he is the least picky man on earth and eats anything. Just so you know, I followed all recipes exactly, which I normally do when I make something the first time. It's possible there are some very good recipes in this book that I just haven't tried yet, but I'm taking a break from it for awhile. I still admire Ina and continue to use several of her other recipes, but my opinion is Foolproof is anything but foolproof.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2012 10:34:13 PM PST
Janine Hawk says:
Interesting, i just made the Maple Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving and it was amazing! I was mad there weren't any leftovers. My family loved it, I used 2 cups of pecans only because I didn't want to buy an extra bag. I've made a few other recipes from this book and all have turned out great. The date cake was fantastic, the pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting were to die for. I also made the crab strudle which was really good, my family isn't big on curry so i went light on that and they turned out great. Don't give up on Ina yet!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 1:38:11 PM PST
love to shop says:
Thank you for your comment. I'm perplexed as to what i possibly did wrong with the pecan pie, but nevertheless you have very much encouraged me to keep trying other recipes in this book. If i have better success i will update my post. (It may be a while because my husband just started a diet.) I continue to love several of Ina's other recipes and have no plans of giving up on her. Im so happy you had success!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2013 7:44:50 PM PDT
franklinmimi says:
How nice it was to read your post to janine Hawk. I wish more people could be kind like your expressed here. I have all of Ina Garten's cookbooks and truly enjoy reading them. Being alone, I don't cook very often,but love to read cookbooks and watch Food Network. Ina is my favorite. I hope you find some recipes you enjoy in her new book.

Posted on Aug 2, 2013 11:31:32 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 2, 2013 11:33:23 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2013 1:08:24 PM PDT
I too, found that the pecan pie was awful....curdled in the middle and looked and tasted nothing like pecan pie but more eggy tasting. We threw ours away too, and we never throw away food. Later I saw Ina make it on TV morning show (not her show) and her measurements for ingredients on the show were different than the recipe in her book. Unfortunately, I didn't make note of exact changes....I think it was sugar. Other than this pecan recipe, so far Foolproof has been another great BC book! Try the Crispy English Potatoes!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2014 10:02:16 AM PDT
flyaway says:
Indeed. The crispy English potatoes were the BEST! Simple, gargantuanly (if there is such a word) delicious!
I'm not so sorry to hear about pecan pie, since I've never made one, never plan to. I do hate hearing that Ina (or her publishers) messed up. Hope it's just this once. The pumpkin pie now...hmmm. Was thinking of making it, and now have doubts. But think I will forge ahead, with the caveat of adding extra spices. Thanks for the info.

Of all the celebrity chefs, I think Ina Garten's the best, least pretentious, most reliable.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2014 8:39:07 AM PST
I have made the pumpkin pie 3 times now and it has come out spectacular every time. The guests love it.
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