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The Pie and Pastry Bible Hardcover – Nov 11 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (Nov. 11 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684813483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684813486
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 4.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Reading about the ins and outs of baking the perfect, flaky pie crust is a little like reading about how to achieve the perfect golf swing: the proof is in the doing. And it often takes a remarkably intuitive reader to understand exactly what the author is getting at. Not so the work of Rose Levy Beranbaum, the author who gave us The Cake Bible. If ever there was a cookbook author who could place her hands on top of yours, putting you through the proper motions, helping you arrive at just the right touch, Beranbaum is the one.

The Pie and Pastry Bible begins with the crust. The author confesses right up front that 21 years ago, when she first began her quest for the perfect crust, "it was a complete mystery to me." She wasn't looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but something she could consistently turn out at a moment's notice. The ideal pie crust, she writes, "has light, flaky layers, but also ... is tender, and nicely browned, with a flavor good enough to eat by itself."

In a book that stretches to about 700 pages long, her favorite pie crust is the first recipe: Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust. Typically, Beranbaum lists the ingredients by measure and weight for three separate sizes of pies, then gives instructions for the food processor or by hand.

After 70 pages of pie crusts, tart crusts, and crumb pie crusts of every imaginable make and combination, Beranbaum starts with fruit pies. Her first (of many) detailed charts shows exactly what her ratios are of fruit to sugar to cornstarch. Then each recipe (start with The Best All American Apple Pie) includes pointers for success as well as several variations on the theme. Under the headline "Understanding," Beranbaum goes that extra mile by taking the trouble to explain just why something works the way it does.

If you are only going to own one cookbook for pie and pastry recipes of every imaginable stripe and combination, you can't go wrong with this one. It's the Bible, after all. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Precision is the trademark style of Los Angeles Times-syndicated food columnist Berenbaum, a baking and chocolate industry consultant and author (The Cake Bible) who demystifies the art (and science) of pie and pastry making. Exacting instructions in this compendium of sweet and savory "how-tos" (achieve the flakiest pie crust, shape and bake croissants, apply decorative techniques, etc.) may open new doors for daunted home bakers and dessert dabblers, while offering serious amateurs an additional resource for creative inspiration. Recipe ingredients are given in both volume and weight (ounces and grams). Pies and tarts include sweet (e.g., Fig Tart with Mascarpone Cream) and savory (e.g., Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pies; Roasted Red Pepper and Poblano Quiche). The pastry section includes classic French puff pastry, Danish pastry, phyllo and strudel doughs among others. End chapters cover fundamentals like techniques (decorating, measuring ingredients), ingredients (often with stated brand preferences) and appropriate equipment (mixers, tart pans, etc.). Accompanying sections to recipesA"Pointers for Success" and "Understanding" (notes on food chemistry)Aclearly detail the scientific underpinnings of the baking process. Indeed a "bible" for novices and serious amateurs alike, this time-tested encyclopedic tome distills Berenbaum's 21 years dedicated to the pastry arts in a clearly written, thoroughly documented manual. First serial to Family Circle; BOMC/Good Cook main selection; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
One hates to throw stones at something that will become beloved by many people, but this is one of those cases. The author has spent a lot of time (years in fact) testing and developing recipes for this book. All of the results are contained in this baking cookbook, in glorious and extensive detail. There is so much information, in fact, that it is difficult even for the experienced baker to wade through so much information and detail. It contains everything you could possibly want to know, and a whole lot more.
If you like the Cake Bible, you will love this one about pies and pastries. It is just as complete and thorough. If you a serious home baker, you will find this cookbook indispensable. If you are a professional baker, it is an excellent resource; for example, she describes half a dozen very saleable Danish pastries from the same dough. For the rest of us, however, I must cast a disapproving eye. I doubt that the average home cook will be able to successfully pick his/her way through the material in this cookbook.
Like its predecessor (for which, see) on cakes, it is extremely finicky. It contains an astonishing 75 pages just on pie and tart crusts. The procedures for the former involve an unusual process that makes the dough in a zip lock plastic bag. The recipes are so long and complete, that it is easy to get lost while following the recipes, since this involves quite a bit of jumping around in the text. Also, the layout of the ingredient table is not always clear: some recipes have multiple components, and the division between them in the ingredients' table is not always clear just by looking at them (often, you have to read the recipes to see where the divisions are).
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Format: Hardcover
This is a cookbook for the perfectionist. If you like to understand exactly why things work the way they do so that you can be in control of your baking projects, then this is the book for you. If you get excited at the thought of being empowered to create pastries more delectable than the very best you have ever tasted at the finest gourmet pastry shoppes, then you owe it to yourself to get this book.
If you'd rather not be bothered with too many niggling details and just want something quick that reliably comes out OK, even if you use the wrong type of flour, then stick with the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
Be warned. These recipes generally don't have much margin for sloppiness built into them, the way ones from other cookbooks do. That's why they taste so good when they are done correctly. You should read all of the background information on a topic before you start baking. Rose's backgrounders are interesting, helpful, well-written and will make you a better baker. At the absolute minimum, you must follow the recipes to the letter. No substitutions or shortcuts whatsoever can be allowed unless you've read all the background information so that you know *exactly* what you are doing.
I can see only two legitimate grievances. The structure of the book is sometimes a bit scattered, which often makes it necessary to flip through to a half-dozen different places to get through a single project, and, (although this is not a concern for me) Rose makes no mention that I can see of what sort of adjustments one might make to achieve perfection at 9000 feet above sea level, and I could see how someone up in the Rockies might run into some difficulties.
I can only think of one other "downside": Your own baking will spoil you for anything else.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great recipes but instructions not always clear - strudel dough requires guessing re size & technique. Apple pie is vinegary so not liked by my family but blueberry was a hit. Crust recipes make the book worthwhile. I have many of Rose's books - this one is the first to disappoint on any level.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, this is NOT a book for those wanting to make something up quick. If you want a quick and easy dessert, go somewhere else. If you enjoy the process of baking and (even more so) the pleasure of eating homemade goods, this book is for you.
The piecrusts (as other reviewers have noted) are not the easiest. But, they do come out very well. It is possible to use the freezer bags as noted (only one is necessary per piecrust recipe). On the crusts, I recommend using the food processor method. Also, I noticed that it takes a lot less time to bake the crusts than the time recommended in the book. I have never had them become soggy either. Brushing on the egg white after you bake them helps to prevent that.
As for the time-consuming quality of the recipes, be prepared to spend a long time on any one of these. On the Strawberry Lover's Chiffon Pie (my first pie ever to bake and the first from this book), I spent around 9 hours over a two-day period. I just made the Apple Crumb Pie, and it took probably five hours though a lot of that was dead time (i.e., baking or chilling times when I could be doing something else). Before making any of these recipes, carefully read the instructions to get an idea of how long they take.
And, the photography is excellent. It makes you want to make every single one in the book. The Pumpkin Pie and Honeycomb Chiffon Pie are coming up next (that is, after some recipes in her Cake Bible).

The recipes are meticulously detailed. If you follow them EXACTLY, you should get good results. If you take shortcuts or decide that something isn't necessary, you'll get less than perfect results.
The recipes range from traditional favorites like cherry and apple pies to more exotic pies (like the Honeycomb Chiffon pie and Tiramisu). Recipes for savory pies (like Shepherd's Pie and Chicken Pot Pie) are also included.
This is my second favorite cookbook after Rose's The Cake Bible.
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