When I heard that Rose Levy Beranbaum was coming out with a new cookbook, I was very excited. The author of the Cake Bible and Rose's Christmas Cookies, she is known for her excellent recipes and very detailed instructions. Her new book, The Pie and Pastry Bible is no exception. The book contains not only 315 delectable recipes for pies,tarts, quiches and pastries but also has sections on techniques, ingredients,and equipment. She extensively covers these topics explaining, for example,how to make the perfect pie crust by giving step-by-step instructions on how to blend and measure flours, roll, cut, shape and bake the crust. In every recipe, if you follow her instructions to the letter, a three star dessert will be your reward. In reviewing The Pie and Pastry Bible I made the Lemon Pucker Pie, Brownie Puddle, Great Pumpkin Pie, and the Open Faced Designer Apple Pie. Every recipe turned out and tasted wonderful. It is obvious that Rose Levy Berenbaum has tested every recipe to ensure perfect results. This book however, is for the professional or serious baker. To go through this amount of trouble to make something, you must really know and appreciate quality. This is not the sort of book you buy if you want to make something quickly as it could easily frustrate the novice baker. For example, making the apple pie involves many steps. The apples are first cut, mixed with ingredients, macerated for 30 minutes to 3 hours, and then placed in a colander to drain. The liquid is reduced and then re-added to the cut apples with cornstarch. This does result in a wonderful apple flavor, but is it worth the effort? When I weigh the extra time and effort involved, I would rather sacrifice a little taste and make it the old-fashioned easier way. Rose Levy Beranbaum has aimed for perfection and this takes a lot of time and much effort. This is a great book for the serious baker who wants to make perfect pies and pastries and understand the science behind it. The recipes are given in both volume and weight, which I appreciate. She gives storing instructions for every recipe and pointers for success. At a list price of $35.00 it is a great textbook.
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