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am 21. November 1998
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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am 27. Dezember 1998
As someone who had tried various pie-crust recipes over the years and never gotten it quite right, reading Berenbaum's aptly named bible was a revelation. The complex and rather unorthodox techniques for cutting in fat into the flour had me skeptical at first but, having tried several of the various crust recipes in this book, I will never make a crust the easy old way again. If you want to make consistently perfect, by which I mean delectably tender and flaky, crust, this book is for you. The cream-cheese crust that Berenbaum calls the soul of her book is alone worth the price of the book.
In addition, there's the fool-proof technique for ensuring an apple pie in which the juices cling just so to the apple slices yet puddle just a little on the plate -- no more runny apple pies. The multi-step technique, which involves macerating the apple slices, draining the liquid that forms, and boiling down the liquid to a syrup before baking, is time-consuming, but the results are worth it. I tried the apple pie recipe, and my husband rated it a 10! I am one reader who will never again simply toss the apple slices in sugar and bake, on the off-chance that the liquids might (or might not) reduce enough during baking.
The book is invaluable also for the understanding it gives the reader of how the various ingredients in pie crust work, e.g., why the addition of baking powder to pie crust is a must for flakiness, why the crust dough needs to be kneaded harder and longer to make it strong enough to wrap around a meat loaf or the filling of a turnover, etc.
I could go on and on about the merits of this book. Although I wish no one else would read it so that I could be the only person in the world (besides the author) who can make marvelous crust, I cannot help thinking this is a book that should not be kept a secret.
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am 20. April 1999
This is a terrific cookbook for a seasoned cook with a lot of time for preparation-intensive, step-intensive recipes. The few items that are photographed are beautiful and true to the recipe. There is excellent information on the "science" and "technology" of pastry making that is really useful. The storage information and resources for difficult to find ingredients is also great to have. The recipes are quite detailed and I really appreciate the fact that she offers ingredients by measurement and weight, as I much prefer cooking with a scale. However, the first two recipes I tried had errors--one SERIOUS measurement error (the Chocolate Cream Pie recipe), and the other two are errors in steps or in referring to an incorrect recipe as part of the main recipe (Lime, Kiwi, Blueberry Tart). The Creme Anglaise recipe appears to be egg-yolk heavy (especially compared to other tested recipes) and may or may not be an error. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled to have to figure out what SHOULD have been printed in the recipe, while I was scrambling to get them finished in time for a party. I now know to try these recipes waaay in advance of actually needing to make them! This is definitely NOT a cookbook for someone who is in a hurry...many of the steps for normally simple recipes are quite complex and tedious. If, however, your goal is to really shine--many of the desserts in this book are incredibly impressive, and all have been delicious. The Lime Curd used as a base for the Lime, Kiwi, Blueberry tart was so good by itself that I had to make a second batch for the tart!
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am 12. Juli 1999
I've been baking for more than 30 years, and I thought I did OK - as did my family. But there were a lot of answers to questions that I hadn't even known I had in the Pie and Pastry Bible, and some new techniques that really have made a difference! I'm not enthusiastic about the way the book is set up, because I have to keep flipping back and forth from the filling to the crust until I get her crust recipe memorized. There are some recipes that are quite simple, but are presented in a complicated way. However, the information is very, very complete, and there are many entertaining comments and lots of recipes for any level of training and experience. I like it - and she makes a better pie crust than I do!
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am 28. November 1998
Rose has created yet another essential guide to the world of baking. My only concern is that it might take her another ten years to put out her next masterpiece. She is, as usual, concise, clear, and oblivious to calorie counting, so you can be assured of turning out desserts that your family and guests will swoon over without having had to attend culinary arts schools around the world. For those of you who have and enjoy her Cake Bible, ponder this a moment: Rose relates to us that, while she likes cake, she's really a pie person--can you imagine to extra effort that went into this book? How can you resist?
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am 25. November 1998
This is clearly a very thoroughly-written book on a subject that is often intimidating to American cooks. It will be an essential addition to any serious baker's collection, but I wonder if it will be approachable by the average cook. The recipes can be very lengthy, with little picky steps that could be side-stepped by someone with a bit more familiarity with technique. However, her pie pastry is incredible, and though challenging, is well worth the effort. Everything I have made from this book has received high praise from my guests, too. Just don't plan to whip something up from this book.
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am 2. August 1999
After reading just a couple of her receipies, I discovered this book is not for the faint at heart when it comes to baking. Although when I watched her on an early morning program, I gathered there was a more balanced experience of receipies. Her citation of types of flour is simply more information that I was interesting in having and boardered on what one might call flour snobbery. So far, the only method I have regularly incorporated in my pastry baking is her reference to chilling. So as all is not down the pastry funnel, I will pick and choose a few more receipies now and then to try.
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am 3. November 1999
Please be aware of an error regarding the lemon meringue pie on page 178. The recipe reads "8 (eight)eggs, separated yolks." I followed this exactly (questioning this as most recipes use 3 or 4 eggs at the most);however in a book entitled the "Bible", one does not question the authority. This mistake spelled disaster; the pie looked beautiful but was simply egg soup. I trust this will save someone from a similar disaster.
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am 26. Juli 1999
I asked for this book for Christmas and ended up staying up all night reading it straight through like a novel (porno actually) And I had made 4 peanut butter tarts before New Years. This book will join The Cake Bible as the only book I need to maintain my reputation as a serious baker. Very detailed and sometimes time consuming recipes, but they always work, and they always meet with rave reviews! Plus its just SO PRETTY!!!
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am 9. August 1999
I just finished my first pie out of this book, and although it was quite time-consuming, it was truly delicious. The book holds so many wonderful recipes, that I can't decide on which one to try next, and with Rose's detailed instructions you just can't fail, even if you have never made a pie before. More pictures would have made this a five-star book..
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