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Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life

por Kate McDermott

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1042208,295 (3.63)2
"Pie-making should be simple and fun. Kate McDermott has taught this and made pies with thousands of people across the country at her Pie Camps. Her confidence comes through in every recipe, and will inspire readers to don an apron, grab a rolling pin, and get cooking. (The stunning photographs in this book wont hurt either.) Over the years, McDermott developed more than a dozen crusts, half of which are gluten-free, and in this book she gives detailed instructions for making, rolling, and baking crusts. A pie needs filling, too, and she does not neglect a single detail when describing her ingredients, methods, and tricks for making the filling and finishing off the pie. Art of the Pie is more than a cookbook. Kates rules extend well beyond pie baking: keep everything chilled, respect the boundaries, and remember to vent. This is a book to keep close at hand,"--Amazon.com.… (mais)
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In this interesting cookbook-sprinkled-with-memoir, Kate McDermott intersperses brief anecdotes from her life among the typical cookbook contents. She lays down three simple rules. Keep everything chilled, including yourself, keep your boundaries, and vent. These apply both to pie-making and to your life. In Art of the Pie, you get a little homespun self-help psychotherapy along with the recipes.

McDermott provides the usual introduction and a list of essential tools. It turns out there are 12 everyday items that most likely you have already and 11 "nice to have" extras. I have all 12 of the essential items, and, at first reading, six of the extras, plus a usable substitute for another. I gave myself credit for 7. McDermott’s extras include one for whimsey, but I’m not big on whimsey, so I took credit for another. Okay, so I’m stodgy. (Well, actually, I didn’t have an apron either, so I guess I’m a stodgy slob.) I thought I was missing a pastry wheel, a pastry cloth, and a bench scraper, but not so quick. I have a lot of cloths, a pizza cutter (wheel), and—in the garage—scrapers galore. As I read further, I realized those would work for the uses she describes. That makes me 22 for 23. I haven’t even gotten to the recipes yet, and already I feel like an expert pie-maker.

There are plenty of recipes, but the features that set this book apart from other cookbooks are the personal anecdotes, photography, and tip on how to test for hot spots in your oven. The photographs are outstanding. Andrew Scrivani is a commercial and editorial photographer. His work regularly appears in the New York Times, but I wasn’t aware of him until reading this book. The book is printed on fine paper perfectly well-suited for color photographs. I recommend Art of the Pie to readers interested in studio photography.

I have several quibbles with Art of the Pie. In some instances, McDermott leaves the reader hanging. For example, she begins with a poignant reminiscence of her grandmother, Geeg, who suffered a stroke. Before the stroke was formally diagnosed, a symbolic passing of the torch (a literal passing of the rolling pin) occurred from grandmother Geeg to Kate. Unfortunately, the story ends there. I wanted to hear more about the relation between Kate and her grandmother after this rite of passage.

The same occurred when McDermott described a procedure for testing to see if your oven heats evenly. She describes the test and how to interpret the result but then stops. Come on, if you’re going to give self-help advice, throw in a little oven therapy advice also. I doubt few readers will be like me—tempted to conduct this test out of simple curiosity—but … Help! How much unevenness is required before it becomes a problem? If it is a problem, what should I do? Buy a new oven? Call an oven technician? Cook only in certain spots and avoid the others? Don’t leave me hanging.

The organization of Art of the Pie is a little idiosyncratic but manageable. McDermott covers making pie dough in great detail and a wealth of recipes. Pie-makers may want this book as a reference solely for this section. Next follows a segment on fruit pies. Alas, my favorite, blueberry, is missing. After that is apple pie. Apples are fruit, aren't they? Okay, so I’m a stodgy, picky slob. Then comes berries—aren’t berries … oh forget it—and blueberries show up. Whew! She had me worried for a while.
I can’t go on without mentioning the flawed approach to recipes. For example, many of the fruit pies call for similar ingredients and follow the same essential process. A more sensible approach would be to list the common ingredients and standard steps in the process. Then for each type of fruit pie indicate any necessary variations in ingredients and directions. This approach, used effectively in other cookbooks I own, permits the grouping of 4-8 recipes on a single page.

I did appreciate McDermott’s artistic flair. Her writing is lively and entertaining. For example, “pie-worthy” fruit is “fruit with flavor that dances on your tongue and sends little currents and shivers of sweet and tart right through you.” I vacillate between wanting to try some pie-worthy fruit and objecting to the idea of little currents and shivers coursing through my body. On the other hand, balloon bread (white bread that is super squishy and full of unpronounceable additives) is my all-time favorite. I just never knew what to call it before now.

Art of the Pie is a quick, easy, enjoyable book to read. Or, I should say, it's quick, easy, and enjoyable to read the parts that are appealing to you. I regard Art of the Pie, like all the cookbooks I own, as a reference book to keep on my shelf. I imagine I will purchase a copy in time for blueberry and rhubarb season. ( )
  Tatoosh | Dec 15, 2020 |
Too much sugar. The metric values are ridiculous. A cup of water should be 1/4 liter, not 120 grams (which is not quite 1/8 liter). One inch is not 4-5 cm. And please, if you call for one pound of an ingredient, don't say 454 g.

There really isn't anything in here you can't find in a good general (American) cookbook. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Mar 19, 2017 |
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"Pie-making should be simple and fun. Kate McDermott has taught this and made pies with thousands of people across the country at her Pie Camps. Her confidence comes through in every recipe, and will inspire readers to don an apron, grab a rolling pin, and get cooking. (The stunning photographs in this book wont hurt either.) Over the years, McDermott developed more than a dozen crusts, half of which are gluten-free, and in this book she gives detailed instructions for making, rolling, and baking crusts. A pie needs filling, too, and she does not neglect a single detail when describing her ingredients, methods, and tricks for making the filling and finishing off the pie. Art of the Pie is more than a cookbook. Kates rules extend well beyond pie baking: keep everything chilled, respect the boundaries, and remember to vent. This is a book to keep close at hand,"--Amazon.com.

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