Magpie: Sweets and Savories from Philadelphia's Favorite Pie Boutique by Holly Riccardi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This pie book is great for someone who wants to go beyond the basics. If you're an avid baker, you'll enjoy some adventurous twists on classics (cranberry meringue! blueberry rhuby rose! peach raspberry orange blossom!) You'll also see how Holly Riccardi explores her Pennsylvania German roots with savory pie recipes such as beef potpie and ham loaf pie. I can't wait to use her chicken potpie as a framework recipe to using up some of my Thanksgiving leftovers, and I'll have a great time trying some different variations on fruit pies when summer rolls around and more fruit is in season. Some of Riccardi's herb and spice choices are just fascinating (pink pepper in apple pie, black pepper in shoo-fly pie, basil-infused whipped cream.)
Some of the ingredients will appeal to foodies, but unless you live in a food desert with no access to the internet, ingredients such as lavender buds and orange flower water shouldn't be too difficult to find. I don't live in a major metropolitan area by any stretch of the imagination, but I've had decent luck with Amazon, Williams Sonoma, and various brick-and-mortar food boutiques in my town as sources for hard-to-find ingredients.
The book includes a comprehensive guide to creating the best pie crust possible, which will be helpful to beginners, but a bit too tl;dr for seasoned bakers. Still, sometimes a fresh perspective is welcome when embarking down a familiar baking path, and Riccardi's voice is instructive without being patronizing.
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