- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Later prt. edition (November 4, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580084222
- ISBN-13: 978-1580084222
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 190 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza Hardcover – November 4, 2003
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Baking bread is mysterious enough. But creating truly great pizza--the transformation of next to nothing into something extraordinary--is downright alchemical. It is for no small reason that there are distinct words in Italian for those disciples of these mystic arts who bake pizza and focaccia, pizzaiolo and focacciaiolo. Peter Reinhart, he who gave us Brother Juniper's Bread Book and the multi-award winning The Bread Baker's Apprentice, takes the reader of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza right into the heart of the matter.
Reinhart begins his inquiry into pizza with his baseline palate memory for what a great pizza should be. As a teenager he had worked in a pizzeria, Mama's, and instinctively knew this pie to be the best. Returning as an adult years later, he discovered otherwise. Had he changed, or had the pizza changed? Both, it happened, were true.
So what is the nature of perfection, and where do you go to find it? In the case of Peter Reinhart, this journey includes travels through Italy and across the US. This is Part One of the book, called The Hunt. It's not the most enlivening travel writing, which would have helped elevate the insights into the nature of great pizza and the people who make it happen. But it's only a third of the entire package. The best is yet to come. In Part Two: The Recipes, Reinhart comes entirely into his own. Here is the master at work. Chapters include "The Family of Doughs", "Sauces and Specialty Toppings," and "The Pizzas." Reinhart gives you the building blocks, no matter what your kitchen, tools, and oven might be like. And then he unfolds the roadmap--pizzas from the strictly classical to the strictly whimsical.
Work diligently with American Pie and in time you will be able to call yourself, without hesitation or rising color, pizzaiolo and focacciaiolo. --Schuyler Ingle
From the Publisher
A fascinating look into the great pizzas and pizzerias of Italy and America.
Includes in-depth pizza-making techniques; more than 40 classic pizza recipes; and an engaging narrative of Reinharts pizza hunts with such food luminaries as Rick Bayless, Jeffrey Steingarten, and Joanne Weir.
Peter Reinharts last book, THE BREAD BAKERS APPRENTICE, was named Cookbook of the Year by both the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
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I started with the recipes available in the cook books we own and with some online resources. Once I got rolling, I was hooked. I had been looking to buy Crust and Crumb (one of Reinhart's other popular books) and, being bitten by the pizza bug, I knew I had to check out American Pie. This book has truly inspired me to create the best pizzas I possibly can at home. In fact, I've begun thinking seriously about even opening a pizzeria. But I digress...
If you want a fairly complete compilation of pizza styles available in the US as well as a perspective on Italian pizza, this book is a great addition to any shelf of cookbooks. The wonderful thing about Reinhart's style is that the book is not just a cookbook; rather, it is accompanied by his narrative on the process he went through in discovering great pizza. This book has everything you need to know to make great pizza at home. I have only two knocks against it (and results in the four- instead of five-star rating). The first is that there's not quite enough perspective on pizza-making from the professional pizzaiolo. I would love to know more about working with dough, sauce and toppings beyond 555 degrees. The other is that I think his perspective on sauce tends to be more is more. One of the reasons I am so attracted to pizza-making is because, like great design, less is more.
All in all, this book is a good read (not something you usually hear about a cookbook) and a great jumping off point to learn more about making pizza. If you want to make good pizza at home, you'll need only this book.
My husband and I live in a pizza-challenged suburb of Atlanta. Thanks to this book, I have come as close as I believe possible to duplicating the wonderful thin-crusted pizza my husband and I enjoyed in Italy. Whatever type of crust you enjoy, however, you are sure to find the the way to reproduce it in this book.
If you skip Part 1, The Hunt, you will miss out on the adventure, and you may also miss the point of the photography. The black and white images taken with slow shutter speeds totally complement the nostalgic sentiment of the journey and may spark memories of your earliest pizza experiences. I believe the style of the photography was a deliberate choice as the photographer credited can produce exceptional images of this genre. marencaruso.com
The recipes I have tried have been great. My quibble is one that I have with many cook books. The instructions are complete and accurate, but they are not laid out as clearly as they could be. I recommend that you read each recipe completely before you begin to make sure you understand the total time required. My favorite surprise, at least I hadn't seen it mentioned earlier, is that the weight of flour is included. If you have a food scale, use it. It's much faster, more accurate, and less messy than measuring!
Explore the magical world of pizza - college-town pizza, pizza vesuvio, seven-foot long pizza, DOC standard pizza, grilled pizza, deep-dish pie, New York pizza and pizza on sheet-music-thin crust. The book is full of hunger inducing sentences - "The crust was perfectly crisp, the cheese nicely caramelized, the edge slightly charred and the sauce nice and tangy." With those kinds of descriptions, you'll know where to get great pizza, what makes it special and how to make it. While I'm a pizza hunter - I've eaten pizza in over 14 counties - I made the grilled pizza and it was wonderful.
If you follow the recipes and business sense outlined in this book, your guests will leave your establishment or home-table with a comforting and satisfying smile on their face. To paraphrase Peter Reinhart: They will dream about your pizza. They will crave it. They will surely regret not being able to find anything like it.
If you aren't afraid of being seduced by pizza and wish to create magical moments, then Peter Reinhart's American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza will be a great read..