Off the Shelf: The Gift of Baking Delicious Pies

By Sharon Saye on July 05, 2017 from Off the Shelf via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Let’s be truthful, some people have a gift for baking; give them any ingredients and they can turn out something wonderful.  Others do not have that gift and even when we carefully follow recipes can turn out something less than wonderful.  Even those who have the gift have areas where they are lacking.  My great-grandmother who was a professional cook often commented in an annoyed tone about my mother who could hardly boil water, but who could turn out light as air angel food cakes that she could not.  She griped that she didn’t have the touch.
           
Yet she could whip up a half-dozen apple pies and left-over apple dumplings in no time.  And to my uneducated eye it looked so easy.  It wasn’t until I was out on my own that I realized that pie crust was hard and required that special touch.  To this day, I only bake pies with graham cracker crusts or come in a box.  But after reading a new book by Kate McDermott, I realize that maybe it isn’t a special touch, but basic knowledge.
            
Kate McDermott has taught thousands how to make pies of all types and with different types of crusts.  She provides that experience and advice in “Art of the Pie.”  She has developed more than a dozen crusts and provides detailed instructions for making, rolling, and baking them.  For instance, she explains why you shouldn’t use a back-and-forth motion while rolling out your pie dough and also that you should begin in the center and roll the pin out to the edge, but not over it. 
           
She explains how to make pie dough using a food processor and how to freeze it for future use as well as how to make lattices, and what is the difference between washes and glazes.  Her beginning chapters contain full-color photographs of the process of making the dough, rolling it out and transferring it to a pie plate.  She even laughs at the compulsion to make perfect circles while rolling out the dough which she sees as pointless since you trim it off the edge of the pie plate.
           
After the chapters on various pie doughs many of which are gluten-free, she moves on to the bulk of the book which focuses on fillings.  There is even a chapter entitled “The Quintessential Apple Pie” which explains what apples are best for pie fillings.  This is followed by chapters on fruit fillings including blueberry, peach, huckleberry, and rhubarb and citrus pies.
           
Concluding are chapters on “Creamy, Nutty, Cool and Yummy” and “Savory Supper Pies.”  This is where you will find recipes for “Grasshopper Pie,” “Pumpkin Pie,” and “Mocha Cream Pie” as well as “Chicken Pot Pie” and “Shepherd’s Pie.”
            
If you are an experienced pie maker or a wary one, “Art of the Pie” will provide plenty of useful advice and inspiration.



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