Crust lovers will find crispy, gooey, or golden-brown delights in this inventive pastry cookbook.
Chances are, one can poll ten guests at any dinner party and find out that (a) all ten love any sort of pie, and (b) at least nine are afraid of making one. Mastering flaky, light pastry crust does require deft handling and the right equipment and ingredients. Luckily, in his third pie cookbook, Dinner Pies, Ken Haedrich has all the information you need if you are “hopelessly addicted to crust.”
Haedrich has a zippy prose style and a comforting tone that enlivens his pie-making instructions and recipes, delivering on his promise in the preface that “you have found a comrade in the kitchen.” It is great to pore over a cookbook that shows an author’s culinary skills, but Haedrich’s talents as a teacher are abundant. He’s so eager to see pie makers succeed that he offers his email address and references to videos from his Pie Academy website. The recipes are clearly written, and detailed color photos by Melissa DiPalma of many examples add to this instructional value.
Dinner Pies starts by evaluating necessary pie-making pans, rolling pins, parchment paper, and other tools and offers good information about flours, shortenings, and other pantry essentials. Haedrich points out common pitfalls that trip up many home cooks, like not refrigerating dough long enough or failing to ease up on the edges when rolling out crusts. Many sidebars also contribute useful tips about baking techniques and how to prep different ingredients.
Haedrich really gets rolling in the remainder of the book with its dazzling wealth of recipes for all kinds of savory pie incarnations, starting slowly with easy little hand pies, tarts, and empanadas, then reaching pastry heights with more challenging strudels and double-crust pot pies. Plenty of these recipes are decadent (how many calories might there be stuffed into a serving of Fritos Chili Pot Pie?), but there are also scores of vegetarian dishes and many recipes featuring healthy greens like kale and collards.
“If you, too, have a lust for crust,” this cookbook deserves consideration for your baking library.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.