The smell of a pie baking in the kitchen immediately conjures up feelings of comfort, nostalgia, and love. Michele Stuart vividly remembers standing at her grandmother's apron hem as a child, as she fine-tuned (and improved!) family recipes that had been passed down for generations. Eventually, Stuart's lifelong passion for pie-making inspired her to open what would become the world-famous shop Michele's Pies.
You don't have to travel to Michele's Pies in Norwalk and Westport, Connecticut, though, to taste Stuart's mouthwatering creations. Perfect Pies shares nearly eighty delicious recipes, many of them National Pie Championships winners: There are desserts bursting with fruit (Country Apple Pie, Blueberry-Blackberry Pie), crunchy with nuts (Chocolate-Pecan-Bourbon Pie, Maple Walnut Pie), cream-filled delights (Coconut Custard Pie, Lemon Chiffon Pie), and pies perfect for a party (Ultimate Banana Split Pie, Candyland Pie). And let's not forget Stuart's sensational savory creations, from Lobster Pot Pie to Quiche Lorraine to Italian Wheat Pie. Stuart also passes along easy recipes for Hot Fudge Sauce, Raspberry Jam, and Whipped Cream to top it all off.
Stuart's secret, she says, is that her pies are "made by hand with love," but she doesn't neglect to advise you on the basic kitchen tools you'll need as she reveals essential tips and techniques, from how to roll out dough to the best way to make light and flaky crust. And of course she stresses the use of fresh, seasonal fruits and other wholesome ingredients. "The best pies are the ones that keep it simple," Stuart notes. So whether you're a pie novice, a weekend baker, or a seasoned pastry chef, Perfect Pies will help make everything you bake worthy of a blue ribbon.
I made two pies from this book - the lemon meringue and the ricotta pie. The ricotta pie was fabulous. The meringue on the other one wasn't so great, but I think that was my fault. Anyway if you need to make a pie, this is a book with clear instructions and easy-ish recipes (pie is for intermediate cooks anyway).
There are some great recipes for someone who is a beginner with making pies like me. I may have to buy this book instead of just checking it out because there are too many people on the reserve list and it takes time to make all these wonderful pies.
Can you really consider a cookbook read? Well, I've made two pies -- both delicious. Her recipes all sound fantastic but I will say that some of the cream pies seem more challenging. I'm up for trying them in the future.