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Pie in the Sky Successful Baking at High Altitudes: 100 Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, and Pastries Home-tested for Baking at Sea Level, 3,000, 5,000, 7,000, and 10,000 feet (and Anywhere in Between). Hardcover – May 31, 2005
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About the Author
Susan G. Purdy, CCP, is a well-known, widely traveled baking teacher, journalist, and author of thirty books, including twelve cookbooks. Her most recent works are The Perfect Cake and The Perfect Pie, as well as the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award-winning Have Your Cake and Ear It, Too.
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-- Purdy explains how and why her adjustments work.
-- Wide variety of recipes.
-- Detailed instructions.
-- Quantities are volumes, not mass.
-- Sometimes the layout of the text makes recipes hard to follow. (For example, text wrapping around a table.)
This book is amazing. If you bake at high altitude, this book should be in your library.
I grew up in Minnesota (970 ft), and baking was something I enjoyed doing from an early age. When I moved to Colorado (5,300 ft) baking wasn’t so easy. I tweaked a few recipes over the years, but it just wasn’t the same. . .until now.
I’ve never read a cookbook, outside of the recipes themselves, so I have nothing to compare this book too in that regard. However, I really enjoyed reading about Susan’s journey in perfecting the recipes at various altitudes, and the debunking/supporting of various high altitude baking myths and tricks. Susan talks about proteins and fats and how adding more of this and less of that can help strengthen your baked goods. This was all very educational for me.
All the recipes I've tried so far have been delicious! I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes in this book.
1. Mom’s Blueberry Muffins – These were light, fluffy, and had such a wonderful taste. Easily my favorite!
2. Spicy Santa Fe Corn Bread – This had such great flavor, and I plan to make these again in the fall with hatch chili's.
3. Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Icing – The cake was light, fluffy, and moist and after the blueberry muffins it’s my next favorite recipe. I’m not a big fan of bitter things, so I was hesitant to make the bittersweet icing. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I think next time I’ll try the mocha buttercream icing.
4. Trout Dale Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies – A tasty and chewy oatmeal cookie – delicious!
5. Black-and-White Chocolate Chip Cookies - These are so good they will bring a tear to your eye. Be careful because it's difficult to eat just one. :) I love how Purdy doesn't use too much sugar in her recipes!
6. Breckenridge Biscuits - I've never made biscuits from scratch before and these were not only easy to make but insanely delicious! Purdy gives you tips on how to keep the texture of the biscuit light and fluffy.
So far, my success rate for recipes in this book run about 30%. Baking times run way off on both sides, either far too short or far too long. Those recipes that do work have an unpleasant texture (either too dry or too sticky) or no taste.
This book is best used as a guide for modifying existing recipes... below 7000 ft, most recipes will work with only subtle modifications. If you make anything straight out of it, cross check with another recipe. If something seems too different, it's probably not going to work.
Until a couple weeks ago, I was unaware that mini-cupcakes had the ability to sink in the middle! Who knew they were big enough to even do that?!?!?!?!?
Thankfully I was given a cookbook recommendation that has restored my ability to enjoy baking! It's called Pie in the Sky and the author definitely did her research. She took the time to test and adjust over 100 baking recipes at 4 different elevations, 3,000 ft., 5,000 ft., 7,000 ft. and 10,000 ft.
When I got this book, I read through it like it was a novel. I wanted to understand what makes high altitude baking difficult and how to adjust my recipes to make them successful. Thankfully, she does a wonderful job of this; providing adjustments for her own recipes as well as guideline for adjusting your own.
Following Susan G. Purdy's advice, I took one of her basic recipes and made it my own by incorporating lemon zest. The end result was an AMAZING lemon cake that didn't sink one bit and was fully cooked throughout! This came just in time too, since I'd already committed to making a cake for a friend soon. I cannot wait to try some more of her suggestions and start crafting some more delicious sweets.