Friday Reads: Pie Academy by Ken Haedrich

Pie, pie, me oh my.

Between the historic snowfall last week and the upcoming arctic blast, it’s the perfect time to stay in a warm kitchen baking all the wonderfully lovely pies. Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More by Ken Haedrich is a great resource for home bakers at any skill level. “All you need is fat, flour, salt, and sometimes sugar” (p. 13).

The book starts with the basics of making pie – the tools, the ingredients, and the dough. Pie doesn’t require anything fancy to get started, just practice. His step-by-step instructions for making the perfect piecrust has been extremely helpful. This mini class on crust is followed by an entire chapter of twenty-five different crust recipes, including crusts with butter, shortening, lard, crumb-style, graham crackers, and gluten-free versions.

The book then has chapters with recipes for berry, apple, fall fruit, pecan, custard, cream, hand pies, icebox pies, freezer pies, and other “oddball” pies. Classic pumpkin pie, sour cream raisin pies, brownie pies, watermelon rind pie, strawberry-rhubarb crumb pie, Ritz mock apple pie, polenta pie, nectarine and blueberry-lime pie…there are so many detailed recipes with gorgeous pictures. Included in the recipes, there are “Recipe for Success” sections that offer additional tips and tricks from Haedrich. Throughout the book, there are extra pie trivia or history bites, as well as other lessons, such as how to mail a pie or the differences between apple types. Lastly, there’s a trouble-shooting guide in the back where Haedrich answers some common issues like cracked dough or runny filling.

Even if you’re not a newbie pie baker (like me), there are so many fillings, crust variations, and decorations included for more experienced bakers to find something new.

Haedrich, K. Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2020. Print.

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