You can make pie all year round, but the fall is really pie season. The weather is cool enough that the butter won’t melt while you’re working with it to make a crust and you’ll want to warm up your kitchen with extended periods of baking. The fact that your house will smell amazing while you’re making your pies is a bonus. Pies are not the easiest desserts to make, however. The crust is intimidating to many people – especially those who don’t have a lot of experience working with it – and the fillings themselves can be tricky to get right. in Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter you’ll find great explainations of all the techniques you need to make your pies perfect and dozens of recipes to get your baking season started.
The book opens with an introductory section that focuses on basic pie techniques, from making a pie crust by hand to weaving that crust into a lattice top for your fruit pies. The instructions are extremely detailed – the portion dedicated to making a handmade crust goes on for several pages – and very clearly written. This section will also answer basic pie-making questions, describing blind baking and what pie birds are for. The next section of the book features recipes for eight different pie crusts, including two gluten free recipes, before jumping in to the rest of the recipes. The pie recipes are primarily divided up by flavor and grouped into chapters based on the fruits use in their fillings, though the last two chapters are focused on pie types, not ingredients, and showcase cream pies and chiffon pies.
All of the recipes are clearly written and easy to follow along with. There are a few tips and suggestions printed alongside the recipes, though most of the necessary explanations come in the recipes themselves. Not every recipes is illustrated with a photo, but the photos that are included are mouthwatering and will definitely put you in the mood for a slice of pie, whether you’re looking at a simple Peach Pot Pie recipe or a more sophisticated-sounding Lavender Aprium Pie. There is something for everyone when it comes to flavor and the book has a very good distribution of recipes, so you get a little something of everything without feeling like you’re reading the same recipe over and over again. You might want to stock your freezer with vanilla ice cream before you start flipping through the book, since you’ll be baking a pie before you know it and you definitely want to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream to serve alongside of it.