Vintage Pies by Anne Collins

Vintage Pies is a beautifully presented, welcome return to the classic (and some incomprehensibly forgotten) American pie.  The staples are present but also some intriguing recipes dating back to the Pilgrims. But more in depth tips, tricks, and helpful hints would have been welcome additions for the more novice cook.

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The book breaks down as follows: Piecrust (single, double), Transparent (sugar, amber, pecan, butternut maple, osgood, boiled cider, vinegar, chess, lemon chess, buttermilk, tears on your pillow, kentucky style, jefferson davis, snack pie), Cake Pies (shoofly, quakertown, crumb, gravel, amish vanilla, funny cake, montgomery pie), Custard Pies (custard, bob andy, sugar cream, union, marlborough, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato), Cream Pies (cream, butterscotch chocolate coconut, banana cherry, lemon meringue), Fruit (rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, currant, huckleberry, peach, crab apple, apple, pork apple, grape, shaker lemon, raisin, sour cream raisin, mincemeat, mock apple).

As can be seen from the above list, there are quite a lot of pie recipes. Smart choices were made in setting up the book as well: all recipes bake at the same temperature, allowing different pies to be cooked at the same time. The recipes are consistently set up, with clean, full page, simplified step recipes and then a photograph of the finished pie for nearly every recipe. They all use the same crust recipe and there is an introduction giving a bit of history of the pie as well as substitutions for modern ingredients.

Although there are tips for substitutions, I always appreciate when there are recommendations for what went wrong or more thoughts on using e.g., canned cling peaches vs fresh. Expert cooks often forget that there are many ways to be tripped up for the novices – and unfortunately none of these recipes are written like the author field tested them with home cooks to see how they might go wrong.

That said, this is an exemplary book for presentation, especially since there are so many photographs. I especially liked that there are step by step photographs for the pie crust; that is one of the hardest parts of a pie to get right but so crucial to all the recipes in the book.

In all, an excellent resource.  Reviewed from an ARC.

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