The humble apple pie is so easy to make, yet tastes so good. Home made pies are rare these days, so I am glad to have a new book with nothing but recipes for apple pies, 100 in all. Strictly speaking, some of the recipes are not pies, but close relatives.
I like this cookbook very much. I appreciate the simple, direct instructions. I did not have any real problems with the recipes I tried. Note that the author prefers streusel toppings over the traditional 2-crust pie. I find the instructions to remove a blazing hot, half-baked pie out of the oven and pressing toppings onto it with your hands dangerous and not advisable. The author has not solved the problem of a giant air gap under the top crust of a baked pie; he sidesteps the issue by usually recommending a streusel topping, to be applied halfway through baking. The author also lives in the northeast, so much of his comments about different apple varieties apply to those not usually available on the west coast.
On the other hand, there are a few missing elements, which is rather surprising for a book that is essentially only one recipe with 99 variations. One would expect some hints and problems that relate to most of the recipes in the book, yet none are forthcoming. Since all the recipes have apples, one would also expect an extended section about apples: seasons, different types, which to choose for which recipe, typical characteristics, etc. However, the information about apples is perfunctory. It should also have a section on preparing apples, rolling the crust, and how to flute the edges (some information on this does finally appear on p. 81 in an easily overlooked sidebar), but this information is mostly lacking; there are a few tips hopelessly scattered in random portions of the text where you will never find them when you need them. Information on slicing apples appears in a side bar on page 41. It would be helpful to have some sort of cross reference to tell you which recipe is best for different apples, for those who come home from the market with a bagful of a particular type of apple in peak season. I also object to the organization: the recipes are grouped into chapters, but the groupings do not make much sense. More disturbingly, all the ingredients are listed in volume measure, but do not include weight equivalents. The author lists flour amounts in cups only, but does describe what method he uses to fill the measuring cups (dip and sweep, spooning, sifting, etc.). The apple amounts are usually listed in cups of cut up apples; this is unfortunate, as one buys apples by the piece or pound, not by the cupful, in the market. The author does not supply equivalents or conversions.
All in all, I enjoy having such a large number of recipes for just one thing: apple pies, since I like them very much; you will never run out of new recipes to try. However, any single subject cookbook must be more than just 100 similar recipes jumbled together; it must also cover its subject and its aspects thoroughly and in depth. This book does not meet that standard.