Two recipes in two weeks from the same book? Crazy, I know. First, let me start by saying that I am choosing to review this book and was not asked to. They did however send me an unexpected copy the weekend I had my wisdom teeth pulled, like a gift from the Tooth Fairy, so that and the Percocet may have effected my opinions of this book.
Conquering pie dough was on my list of things do to for the blog this year so receiving a book all about pie was about the best kick in the pants I was going to get. Pie is one of those mythical foods that only appeared at Thanksgiving. Pumpkin and apple. They were stunning and took hours of preparation but in a family where no one eats much fruit, there was no reason for pie the rest of the year.
Pie it Forward is the book that was going to change that for me. I was going to make it be. Strawberries and rhubarbs be damned - I am going to make some pies. Now, will someone tell me what a rhubarb is.
Pie it Forward, by Gesine Bullock-Prado is the follow up cook book to Sugar Baby which was out last year. I had heard wonderful things via the interwebs about Sugar Baby but I did not break down and purchase it myself. After my initial glossing over of Pie it Forward, I was already regretting now owning Sugar Baby. Why? Read ahead to see.
Technical Level: Spending time in the kitchen creating a buttery flaky dough from scratch may not be for everyone. There are obvious easier options. Pie it Forward is for those people that want to bake - the cooks that are looking to master golden brown deliciousness. If you are a pop open the can and unroll the biscuits just to find burnt bottoms every time, skip this one. If you are an aspiring baker who finds the appeal of mastering your own puff pastry and is not afraid to get a little butter under the nails, then give this one a try.
Graphic Design: Pie it Forward is part of this new generation of exceedingly beautiful cookbooks. No longer overly crowded pages riddled with small fonts and hard to manage indexes, the carefully spaced pages featuring only one recipe often highlighted with beautiful graphics and top notch photography. The dough section even having step by step pictures. Everything sparkled off of the pages and made me, a fruit hating freak of nature, want to sink my teeth into every pie, tart and galette featured.
Recipe Quality: The recipes featured in Pie it Forward run the gamut. Classics like apple pie are featured and then dressed up with maple and cheddar. There is a a section for sweet, broken down by fruit type, creamy and Bullock-Prado (clearly after my own heart) even has a section dedicated to savory. The book starts with an entire chapter for the different doughs referenced in the rest of the book. I have made both the Meyer Lemon Pudding Pies and this Sugar Pie already and am already anticipating the cheese strudel and blueberry brown butter tartlets.
Personality: Pie it Forward bounces off the bookshelf with personality. Each recipe features an introduction by Bullock-Prado that had me laughing out loud. My boyfriend was humored to find me sitting in bed late one evening engrossed in the pages of Pie it Forward as if it were the forth volume of The Hunger Games and finding my awkward laughter hard to explain in the late hours of the night. Bullock-Prado seems like the kind of woman who would be a blast to know and her personality is reflected within the pages of this great book.
Why I’d Buy: If you have read my above notes, you can see that this is an easy one to add to the cart. Sure, being able to try it was a bonus, but Pie it Forward sold me on itself instantly, I will be going back for Sugar Baby and busting out my own hard earned Washington's. Pie it Forward will hold a place in my mind for future gift giving opportunities to my foodie friends. Great photography, killer recipes, witty writing - this book is a solid addition to any cook book collection.
Sugar Cream Pie
From Pie it Forward
- ½ batch Simple Tart Dough
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teas salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teas vanilla bean paste
- 2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
- ¼ teas nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, line a 9-inch tart pan with the dough and freeze for 20 minutes. Line the crust with parchment, fill it with pie weights or dried beans, and bake it for 15 minutes more. Remove the parchment and pie weights and bake the crust for 5 minutes more, or until the bottom loses its raw-dough sheen.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, whisk together both sugars, the cornstarch, and salt. Add the cream, milk, and vanilla, and whisk over medium-low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat to medium high, continuously stirring, until the mixture thickens. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Dot the top with butter and sprinkle it with nutmeg. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the pie is set and golden brown.
Simple Tart Dough
- 4 cups flour
- 2 cups unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 1 teas salt
- ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, butter, and salt until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the condensed milk and egg. While pulsing, slowly pour this into the flour until the dough just comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently turn over a few times until it is smooth, the dry ingredients have been completely integrated, and the dough holds together. Take care not to overwork it.
Shape the dough into a loose circle, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
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Entries accepted through April15th at Midnight EST. Winner will be announced on 4/18/12.