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About the Author
Gesine Bullock-Prado, author of baking memoir My Life from Scratch and cookbook Sugar Baby, lives in Hartford, Vermont, with two dogs, seven chickens, ten Indian Runner ducks, six geese, two goats, and one wonderful husband. She uses her animal’s eggs and milk in her commercial bakery and maintains historic apple trees and a large garden to bring pies to vibrant life. Bullock-Prado and her product line, Gesine Confectionary, have been featured on the Today Show, the Rachael Ray Show, and Food Network. This is her second cookbook.
Top customer reviews
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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.
I didn't really need another pie cookbook, but that pie virus is very strong. These aren't always traditional pie recipes, but she's got a good mix and it will give you ideas and you can learn a lot from Gesine and enjoy doing it. The background stories are very entertaining.
MAYBE I will even try her quick puff (or blitz puff) recipe just to see if I can do it, and to see if I like homemade puff pastry. When I was a kid, and we had Pepperidge Farm turnovers, I always peeled off as much of the puff pastry as I could-usually back to just one see-through layer-before I ate it. That's how much I dislike it. I never use it in anything. Nevertheless, I am intrigued by her recipe and all of the steps are excellently illustrated, so I am seriously considering it. That shows you how good she is at teaching.