Thanksgiving is right around the corner guys, so you know what my family will be having for dessert! Why, pie, of course! But which one? I like pumpkin (and don’t fight me on this, it is THE supreme pie) while my sisters like pecan, but mom has a thing for coconut so what about coconut cream pie? Oh little does my family know this Thanksgiving we are going to be having a whole different set of pies. And not only pies; galettes, tarts, hand pies, pies with different crusts and toppings, custard pies, fruit pies, my whole pie world has been changed (for the better) after learning how many things can make the perfect pie. So I ask you, what is the perfect pie?
But before you decide that, I suggest learning more about pies and the vast variety they come in. What makes a pie and each component of it that we love so much? America’s Test Kitchen helped me learn more about the world of pies from their book, The Perfect Pie. See, I used to think there were maybe three or four basic pie crusts everyone used, and a handful of pie fillings that made the dozen or so pies I was aware of. Now I realize I couldn’t have been more wrong. They dedicate a whole section to pie and tart doughs alone, having no less than a DOZEN different recipes. And don’t even get me started on fillings! Apparently there are fruit pies, cream pies, custard, merengue, chiffon, and ice cream pies (The Perfect Pie, p. 3)? Not to mention tarts and galettes which sort of fall under the pie umbrella for people like me, so that means there’s even more to explore.
After reading and trying a lot of new pies I realized I like custard pies the best (and guess which category pumpkin pie falls under?). But what I really like about this book is how it explains everything in depth so even someone with no knowledge about this particular subject could follow along as well. Again, I had no real knowledge of pies going into this, but as I continued to read the book and follow the steps to each recipe carefully, I learned how different each pie and pie crust is. They are very informative about the basics as well, as they teach you all the “core pie-baking techniques” such as weighing the ingredients, teaching you how to roll out the dough and cover the pie, etc. (p. 4). I promise you, even if you know absolutely nothing about pies this book will hold your hand throughout the whole process until you are ready to experiment on your own.
Oh my goodness I can’t forget to mention how they teach you how to make your top crust and crust edges pretty! I am so bad at making mine look nice, but they show you many different techniques and designs that leave you a whole library to choose from!
Now, I will forewarn you that while their photography is phenomenal and makes you want to try each and every recipe, most of the recipes I’ve tried are a tad lacking in flavor. But I believe this is because they are trying to reach a wide audience by making each recipe as simple as possible, but versatile enough that you can either stick with the filling the recipe makes, or include little additions and tweaks to make it fit your personal taste. This is something that I don’t mind because as I follow along with the recipe and taste the fillings as I go, I get to make the changes I like to make each pie fit my (and my family’s) personal taste.
Overall though, I really appreciated this book. It walked me through the world of pies and pie making. I learned that while I originally thought I didn’t like pie, I just hadn’t found the right one. My goodness, there are so many to choose from, and this book helps walk you through so many of them. Making pies may seem hard to do, but if you have the right guidance and instruction it can be as easy as pie! See what I did there? So now, dear reader, I ask you to give this book a look through and then tell me: to you, what is the perfect pie?
(Guys it’s still pumpkin, of course!)