Four New Books on Perfecting Pie | Cooking & Food Reviews

Erin Jeanne McDowell presents a thorough guide to all aspects of pie while Kate McDermott features original takes on classics. Meanwhile, Ken Haedrich offers a mix of classic and contemporary treats, and Lauren Ko debuts with a fun collection of pies as works of art.

Pie AcademyredstarHaedrich, Ken. Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More; Expert Techniques for Making Fabulous Pies from Scratch. Storey. Oct. 2020. 480p. ISBN 9781635861112. $35. COOKING
Award-winning cookbook author Haedrich (Dinner Pies), creator of the popular online resource and baking community Pie Academy, here presents much of the extensive content from that site in cookbook form, showcasing 25 different crust recipes and 255 fillings for creations ranging from summer fruit pies and custard tarts to slab pies and traditional holiday classics. Less experienced bakers will appreciate the detailed step-by-step photographs and instructions in the introductory chapter, while seasoned pie makers will find dozens of expert tips and tricks for perfecting their practice. Haedrich admits that there are no shortcuts to creating the perfect pie, maintaining that practice and experience are key. Yet, he strives to simplify the process through recipes and instructions that omit weight measurements in favor of more familiar cups and spoons, offering a range of techniques for perfect pie dough, including hand blending and food processing. VERDICT The wide-ranging, well-curated mix of classic and contemporary recipes and expert advice make this an essential primer for avid home bakers.—Kelsy Peterson, Forest Hill Coll., Melbourne, Australia

PieometryredstarKo, Lauren. Pieometry: Modern Tart Art and Pie Design for the Eye and the Palate. Morrow. Oct. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780062911223. $32.50. COOKING
Ko, creator of the popular blog and Instagram Lokokitchen, has brought her creative and unique recipes and ideas into this debut, which offers stunning photographs, along with tips on how to transform tarts and pies into works of art. In addition to sweet pies and tarts, the collection offers a variety of savory recipes. The first part offers recommendations for preferred ingredients and necessary equipment; some of the tips include making sure butter is cold and being careful not to overwork dough. While the recipes and art may initially seem intimidating, Ko encourages readers to be creative and mix and match many of the tart shells and pie crusts. She also gives substitutions for each recipe, along with advice on how to develop patience. For those who are new to making tarts or pies, Ko suggests starting with truth or square, a relatively simple ice cream tart. VERDICT A funny, well-written collection of recipes suited for bakers of all levels.— Holly Skir, Broward Cty. Lib., FL

Pie CampredstarMcDermott, Kate. Pie Camp: The Skills You Need to Make Any Pie You Want. Countryman Pr. Oct. 2020. 344p. ISBN 9781682684139. $35. COOKING
Inspired by the Pie Camps that she facilitates, this newest collection by McDermott (Art of the Pie) aims to give anyone—especially those new to baking—the knowledge to make a good pie. With the same friendly reassurance that made her previous books (e.g., Home Cooking with Kate McDermott) a success, the author gently guides home cooks through the basics of tools and equipment. Chapters for fruity (butter blackberry crisp) and creamy (lemon chiffon mousse pie) treats will satisfy bakers of all levels, as will recipes for crumbles, cobblers, and more. The highlights here are master recipes for items such as roll-out dough, press-in crusts, pastry cream, and mousse. Novice bakers will appreciate detailed, step-by-step photographs of lattice work and crimps (and tips on troubleshooting). Notably, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are not an afterthought; McDermott features options throughout. VERDICT More than a series of recipes, this is a must-have guide, with a personal touch. New bakers will gain confidence and those with previous experience will delight in original takes on pie.—Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

The Book on Pieredstar McDowell, Erin Jeanne. The Book on Pie: Everything You Need To Know To Bake Perfect Pies. Rux Martin: Hougton Harcourt. Nov. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780358229285. $35. COOKING
Food writer and stylist McDowell (The Fearless Baker) presents a thorough and beautiful guide to all aspects of pie. The recipes (which include vegan and gluten-free options) cover the classics such as apple and rhubarb, as well as new ideas, such as cardamom crème brûlée and nectarine semifreddo. Each recipe also offers variations and suggestions for crusts and topping options. But it's the education about and understanding of pie that make this book stand out. McDowell explains doughs, fillings, and toppings, how variations in ingredients can change balance, and how to correct troublesome pies. Charts outline how to scale up crusts and fillings for different pan and batch sizes, alongside advice on equipment and ingredients, and tips on improvising. The gorgeous photos illustrate levels of blind baking, lattice patterns, and various crimping options. VERDICT McDowell writes with a welcoming voice; newbies will be heartened and old hands will be impressed. Get out the rolling pin, this book has a pie for everyone.—Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI

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