Perfect Pies & More: All New Pies, Cookies, Bars, and Cakes from America's Pie-Baking Champion

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Overview

After the success of Perfect Pies, National Pie Baking Champion (27 times!) Michele Stuart went back into the kitchen—the same kitchen in Vermont where she first dreamed up the award-winning creations that inspired her to open the popular Michele’s Pies shops. Returning there also meant returning to the cherished pies she learned to bake under her grandmother’s and mother’s watchful eyes, as well as the wonderful cakes, cookies, and other sweet...
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Perfect Pies & More: All New Pies, Cookies, Bars, and Cakes from America's Pie-Baking Champion

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Overview

After the success of Perfect Pies, National Pie Baking Champion (27 times!) Michele Stuart went back into the kitchen—the same kitchen in Vermont where she first dreamed up the award-winning creations that inspired her to open the popular Michele’s Pies shops. Returning there also meant returning to the cherished pies she learned to bake under her grandmother’s and mother’s watchful eyes, as well as the wonderful cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats that became their family tradition.
 
In her newest cookbook, Perfect Pies & More, Stuart delves deeper into her roots while creating delicious new memories made with love and care. Inside, you’ll find tantalizing recipes—some easy-to-bake, some requiring a bit more finesse—for dozens of her favorite fruit, nut, and cream pies, and so much more.
 
• NEW TWISTS ON OLD FAVORITES: Pineapple-Pomegranate Pie with Coconut Crumb, Orange Creamsicle Pie, Almond Joy Pie
• WHIMSICAL PIES: Thin Mint Chocolate Cookie Pie, Key Lime-Blackberry Chiffon Pie, Cannoli Party Dip Pie
• CRUSTS & TOPPINGS: Pretzel Crust, Oreo Cookie Crust, Walnut Crumb Topping
• COOKIES & BARS: Blondies, Double Chocolate Walnut Cookies, Lemon Crunch Bars
• PERFECT FOR A CUP OF TEA: Applesauce Cake, Double Chocolate Bundt Cake, Cranberry-Orange Walnut Bread
• LOVIN’ SPOONFUL: Apple Crisp, Blueberry-Blackberry Turnovers, Bread Pudding
• TOP THIS: Caramel Sauce, Raspberry Glacé, Classic Meringue, Maple Whipped Cream, Chocolate Whipped Cream, Buttercream
 
Sprinkled throughout with mouthwatering photos, Perfect Pies & More also serves up tips, techniques, and the secrets behind several of Michele Stuart’s National Pie Championship winners—including Banana Coconut Pecan Delight. Now a perfect blue-ribbon pie and other scrumptious delicacies are as close as your own kitchen!

Praise for Perfect Pies & More and Michele’s Pies
 
“Stuart’s recipes are rooted in tradition and in a sense of how fresh-baked treats can serve as a powerful sense-memory later in life.”—Hartford Courant
 
“Baking (and eating) fiends, ready your stretchies . . . Stuart’s second book gives the people what they want.”Daily Candy

“You owe yourself a visit to Michele’s Pies, where pie fillings range from fruits and nuts to butterscotch to just about everything in between.”The New York Times
 
“Michele is the undisputed champion of pies, and now she’s sharing even more sweet treats from the oven! Her home-cook–friendly recipes are creative, easy, and delicious. I’m a better baker because of this wonderful book. Happy Dance!”—David Venable, QVC host and author of In the Kitchen with David

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Perfect Pies & More and Michele’s Pies
 
“Stuart’s recipes are rooted in tradition and in a sense of how fresh-baked treats can serve as a powerful sense-memory later in life.”—Hartford Courant
 
“Baking (and eating) fiends, ready your stretchies . . . Stuart’s second book gives the people what they want.”Daily Candy
 
“You owe yourself a visit to Michele’s Pies, where pie fillings range from fruits and nuts to butterscotch to just about everything in between.”The New York Times
 
“Michele is the undisputed champion of pies, and now she’s sharing even more sweet treats from the oven! Her home-cook–friendly recipes are creative, easy, and delicious. I’m a better baker because of this wonderful book. Happy Dance!”—David Venable, QVC host and author of In the Kitchen with David
Library Journal
11/15/2013
In her follow-up to Perfect Pies, decorated pie baker Stuart (she's won 26 blue ribbons) shares more of her award-winning specialties alongside cookies, bars, tea cakes, and other treats. She includes unique choices for special occasions—birthday cake surprise "pie" (a frosted cake in a crust), star-spangled flag pie, and apple caramel crunch pie, for example—as well as sugar-free options and easy, everyday recipes. Each recipe has clear instructions, with detailed information on serving and storage. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers looking for a mostly traditional American baking collection with some creative surprises. Stuart's debut was popular, so public libraries can expect demand.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345544193
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 370,530
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michele Stuart is the owner and pastry chef of Michele’s Pies in Norwalk and Westport, Connecticut. Her pies have earned her twenty-seven first place National Pie Championships Awards in a range of categories. Stuart and her pies have been featured in the New York Times and on Good Morning America and the Food Network, among other media outlets. She lives with her family in Westport, Connecticut.
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Read an Excerpt

crusts & toppings

A pie will never be truly perfect without a great piecrust and topping, so in this chapter I’ve included my favorite time-­tested crust and topping recipes. I strongly urge you to make your own pie shell as opposed to using a store-­bought version. It will take a bit more time and effort, but there’s no question it’s well worth it.

Of course, we begin with the basic Traditional Pastry Piecrust (page 4). I know that working with pastry pie dough can be intimidating. I promise you, though, it’s not as challenging as you think. The trick to creating a truly amazing flaky, buttery piecrust is nothing more than correctly combining the right ingredients at the right temperature.

While everyone should have a traditional crust recipe in his or her arsenal, sometimes it’s fun to mix it up with more un­expected variations. In this chapter, you’ll find some great alternative crusts, such as Oreo Cookie Crust (page 10), Graham Cracker Crust (page 8), and even Pretzel Crust (page 11). Likewise, toppings are also a great way to create recipe variations and have some fun. This chapter includes a sweet, melt-­in-­your-­mouth Cinnamon Sugar Crumb Topping (page 13), tropical Coconut Crumb Topping (page 13), and crunchy Walnut Crumb Topping (page 15).

Each pie recipe in this book will offer a standard crust and (if applicable) preferred topping choice. But always remember, these are just suggestions to get you started. I strongly encourage you to play around and swap out different crusts and toppings. It’s an easy way to create a lot of variation in a single recipe.

Traditional Pastry Piecrust

Try this basic crust with Lattice Sour Cherry Pie (page 35), Maple Custard Pie (page 69), Peanut Butter Pie (page 95), Birthday Cake Surprise “Pie” (page 109), Open-­Faced Apricot Raspberry Pie with an Apricot Glaze (page 23), Pumpkin Meringue Pie (page 51), and Turtle Pecan Pie (page 101).

Makes enough for one 9-­ or 10-­inch double-­crust piecrust

2 cups unbleached all-­purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Crisco, cold

5 tablespoons water, ice-­cold

1⁄2 cup heavy cream

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the Crisco to the flour mixture. Either with a pastry blender or with your fingertips, mix the ingredients together with an up-­and-­down chopping motion until the dough forms coarse, pea-­size crumbs. Note: I prefer to use my fingertips, but take care not to overhandle the dough, because it will become difficult to work with; when dough is over­handled, the Crisco becomes too incorporated. In the perfect pie, the Crisco will have a marbleized look when the dough is rolled out, and you will actually be able to see Crisco swirls within the uncooked dough.

Add the ice-­cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, delicately incorporating each tablespoon into the flour mixture before you add the next. You may have to use 1 more or 1 less tablespoon of water than the amount recommended, depending upon the humidity in your kitchen at the time of baking. You will know you have added just the right amount of water when the dough forms a ball that easily holds together.

Use your palm to form the dough into a disk shape, wrap it with plastic, and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Once the dough has chilled, divide the disk in half. You now have enough dough for either one 9-­ or 10-­inch double-­crust (1 pie shell and 1 top crust) or two 9-­ or 10-­inch single crusts (pie shell only). If you are making a single-­crust pie, you will use only one half of the dough per pie. Wrap the remaining half in plastic and reserve it in the refrigerator for future use; the dough can be reserved in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can make a second single-­crust pie shell, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze it for future use; it will keep for up to 1 month.

Preparing prebaked pie shells

A number of recipes in this book call for prebaked pie shells for the single-­crust pies. Follow these directions before adding the desired filling.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

To prepare the pie shell, divide the disk of dough in half, setting one half to the side. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it forms a 10-­inch circle. Fold the circle in half, place it in the pie plate so the edges of the circle drop over the rim, and unfold the dough to completely cover the pie plate. To crimp the pie dough, use your forefingers and thumbs. Press down with your forefingers and up with your thumbs to crimp the dough. Continue to crimp until the entire pie is completed. Brush heavy cream over the crimped edges to create a perfect, golden brown finish. Line the bottom of the crust with parchment paper and place pie weights on top to ensure the edges do not fall into the shell while the crust is baking. If you do not have pie weights, dried beans also work well.

To bake, place the pie plate on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a golden brown color is achieved. Before removing the shell from the oven, make sure that the crust under the parchment paper has turned a golden brown.

Graham Cracker Crust

Graham Cracker Crust is a great way to infuse sweetness and texture into a pie. Try this crust with Graham Cracker Cream Fluff Pie (page 67), White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Pie (page 83), and Banoffee Pie (page 106).

Makes one 9-­inch crust

24 graham cracker sheets finely chopped (11⁄2 cups)

1 tablespoon sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, pulsate the graham crackers until they are finely chopped. (If you do not have a food processor, you can also place the graham crackers in a plastic sandwich or freezer bag and roll over them with a rolling pin to crush the crackers into crumbs.) In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter, using your fingertips to incorporate it with the graham cracker mixture. Spread the graham cracker mixture evenly across the bottom and sides of a 9-­inch pie plate and carefully pat flat so that it covers the entire dish. There should be no gaps in the crust.

Bake the crust for about 5 minutes, or until it’s golden brown. Cool the pie shell for 30 minutes before adding your desired filling.

Graham Cracker Macadamia Coconut Crust

This bold crust packs in all the sweetness of Graham Cracker Crust (page 8), but with the addition of a coconut twist and even more crunch, thanks to the macadamia nuts. Turn Key Lime pie on its ear by using this unexpected crust for Lime Pie with Coconut Macadamia Crust (page 126) and Key Lime–­Blackberry Chiffon Pie (page 121).

Makes one 9-­inch crust

24 graham cracker sheets (11⁄2 finely chopped cups)

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1⁄2 cup unsalted macadamia nuts

1 tablespoon sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a food processor, pulsate the graham crackers, shredded coconut, macadamia nuts, and sugar until they are finely chopped and combined. Pour the ingredients into a medium bowl and incorporate the melted butter. Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom and sides of a 9-­inch pie plate and carefully pat flat so that it covers the entire dish. There should be no gaps in the crust. Set the pie crust aside until you are ready to add your desired pie filling.

Oreo Cookie Crust

This crust pumps up the volume by providing a rich chocolate shell that will transform even the most basic filling into an out-­of-­this-­world concoction. For an easy treat, just fill this crust with a basic chocolate or vanilla cream filling. Also be sure to try this with Almond Joy Pie (page 89) and Chocolate Silk Pie (page 65).

Makes one 9-­inch crust

20 Oreo cookies

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the Oreo cookies and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse them together until they are ground into fine crumbs. In a medium bowl, mix together the crumbs and melted butter, using a fork to combine. Add and incorporate the milk, 1⁄2 tablespoon at a time, stopping when the crumbs are moist enough to mold into a pie shell (this may take only 11⁄2 tablespoons of milk to accomplish).

Spread the Oreo crust mixture evenly across the bottom and sides of a 9-­inch pie plate and carefully pat flat so that it covers the entire dish. There should be no gaps in the crust. Bake for about 5 minutes, until slightly raised and firm. Cool the pie shell for 30 minutes before adding your desired pie filling.

Pretzel Crust

Pretzel Crust is about as untraditional as it gets, but I’ve found that this salty crust is a perfect complement to otherwise sweet pies. Try this with Candy Bar Pie (page 91).

Makes one 9-­inch crust

2 cups pretzel sticks, chopped into fine pieces

1⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together the chopped pretzels and brown sugar. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and use your fingertips to combine all of the ingredients. Spread the pretzel mixture evenly across the bottom and sides of a 9-­inch pie plate so that it covers the entire dish, with no gaps in the crust.

Place the piecrust in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crust turns a golden brown. Remove the piecrust from the oven and allow it to cool before use.

Cinnamon Sugar Crumb Topping

This basic sweet crumb topping will absolutely melt in your mouth. Use this with any fruit pie if you prefer your treats on the sweeter side. Be sure to try it with Apple-­Cranberry Pie (page 21), Mixed Berry Crumb Pie (page 26), Blueberry-­Rhubarb Crumb Pie (page 31), Pear-­Ginger Pie (page 43), and Blueberry Crumb Cake (page 190). Not only is this crumb topping a great pie topper, but it also works wonderfully atop crumb cakes and tea breads.

Makes enough topping for one 9-­inch pie

1⁄2 cup unbleached all-­purpose flour

1⁄3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1⁄4-­inch cubes

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter by cutting it into the flour until the butter forms small, pea-­size pieces.

Pair the topping with a traditional pastry pie shell and the filling of your choice. Once the filling has been placed in the pie shell, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar crumb topping evenly over the filling until it is completely covered. Bake as directed.

Coconut Crumb Topping

Coconut Crumb Topping always catches people off guard and is an amazingly simple way to incorporate a tropical twist into your pies. This chewy crumb topping works great with summertime pies like Pineapple-­Pomegranate Pie with a Coconut Crumb (page 45). If you want to get really creative, try this topping with Blueberry-­Rhubarb Crumb Pie (page 31) or Mixed Berry Crumb Pie (page 26).

Makes enough topping for one 9-­inch pie

1⁄2 cup unbleached all-­purpose flour

1⁄3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1⁄4-­inch cubes

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and shredded coconut. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter by cutting it into the flour until the butter forms small, pea-­size pieces.

Pair the topping with a traditional pastry pie shell and the filling of your choice. Once the filling has been placed in the pie shell, sprinkle the coconut crumb topping evenly over the filling until it is completely covered. Bake as directed.

Walnut Crumb Topping

Walnut Crumb Topping adds sustenance and texture to pies. If you’re not a fan of walnuts, try substituting pecans, almonds, or your favorite nut (you can even do a nut mixture!). Try this with Pear-­Ginger Pie (page 43), Black Plum Pie (page 48), and Cranberry Pie with Walnut Crumb (page 33).

Makes enough for one 9-­inch pie

1⁄2 cup unbleached all-­purpose flour

2⁄3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

11⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1⁄4-­inch cubes

1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter by cutting it into the flour until the butter forms small, pea-­size pieces. Add in the walnuts, using your fingers to gently incorporate them into the crumb base.

Pair this topping with a traditional pastry pie shell and the filling of your choice. Once the filling has been placed in the pie shell, distribute the walnut crumb topping evenly over the filling until it is completely covered. Bake as directed.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    The Best Pie Book

    I showed this to my grandaughter and she adored it . My name is shirla de giitery and i approve this message. Lol jk

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2014

    Nice sequel. 

    Nice sequel. 

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  • Posted December 14, 2013

    Incredible Book

    I love making pies. This book has so many great recipes and they are easy to follow. I am going to make several for Christmas. You will love the book

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