This post has been on the back burner for a while. I was sent a copy of Dean Brettschneider's Pie to review. At the time I was concentrating really hard on eating clean to reduce anxiety in the run up to Yarndale and when the book arrived I instantly began drooling over the amazing recipes and photographs. The promise of lashings of pie after the event kept me on my healthy path and Pie was the first thing I reached for when I re-entered the kitchen.
I'm not massively familiar with Dean's work but I think we caught a glimpse of him making a fancy pizza twist thing at the Cake & Bake Show in Manchester back in the Spring. The book is nice and simple - no fluffing of his ego - and there are technique tutorials for how to make the different kinds of pastry (of which there are many) at the back of the book as well as tips on venting, glazing, blind baking etc.
I have to admit that when I usually make pie it's to use up left overs or quite a lazy meal that I throw together with a bit of gravy or a quick sauce. This book made me think more closely about flavours and using a range of different pastries.
Edited to clarify that that is an upsidedown P, there was nothing sinister about the contents of my pie!
There's a good range of recipes in the book from meat, seafood and vegetarian pies to sweet pies and things that are Not-quite-a-pie like tarts, pasties, sausage rolls and whoopie pies. The photos are really drool-worthy and along with classic recipes like bacon and egg pie there are some fresh ideas to get stuck into.
The first thing I went for was Smoked Paprika, Chicken and Bean Pot Pies (although I did it as one big pie) made with a Chilli Polenta Pie Crust. We really enjoyed the spicy mediterranean flavours mingling with the almost creamy texture of the melt-in-your-mouth crust.
Next we moved on to Chicken, Cranberry and Camembert Pies (again, I made it as one large pie rather than little individual ones) this time using Olive Butter Puff Pastry. There's no denying that making your own puff pastry is a faff and these recipes work fine with shop bought pastry if that's all you have time for but, as a weekend project perhaps, making your own puff is something I think every avid cook or baker should have a go at at least once.
This pie was rich and dreamy. It would be a perfect Christmas party recipe if done in miniature size.
And then we began to move house and there was no time for pastry making in the midst of box packing. However, this weekend I revisited the book and made Mince and Cheese Pie (on the cover photo above) which have an easy to make but complexly flavoured gravy with beer to accompany the mince and a layer of cheese that goes melty in the oven inside it's Butter Puff Pastry sprinkled with sesame seeds. It was nothing short of amazing on a rainy weekend afternoon. The best kind of homemade comfort food.
If you fancy getting stuck into pie-making this Winter then this book will keep you nice and busy (and stuffed!) without ever getting bored and I have a special reader offer for those that don't or can't use Amazon (where it's much cheaper):
To order Pie at the discounted price of £20.00 including p&p* (RRP: £25.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote the offer code APG18.
Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to:
Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department,
Littlehampton Book Services,
PO Box 4264,
Worthing, West Sussex
Please quote the offer code APG18 and include your name and address details.
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.
What's your favourite kind of pie?