Just a few years ago Angela Boggiano treated us to Pie, her carefully selected set of recipes from the United Kingdom [or Great Britain or England or even Wales]. Now, there is a revised edition of Pie which you may want to consider, particularly if you have a sweet tooth.
There are many critics of British cuisine but it would be a total oversight to miss the true highlights that Britain affords us. While Southern United States chefs may claim dominance for sweet pies, the British can now dispute that with force. One of the new adds to this edition of Pie is a Banana, Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pie that takes second place to none.
In fact, almost all of changes to this edition of Pie come in the sweetpie chapter, a recognition of the power of sweets on both sides of the Atlantic. The other Pie Chapters, which focus on savory pleasures, are almost unchanged [some shifting in the order, a few pictures dropped]. Those savory chapters are full evidence that the British own pies. You’ll find:
- Asparagus Turnovers: half pie and half tart and spring ready
- Spanish Pepper and Chorizo Pie: something Suzen could make every week
- Beef Wellington: of course
- Cheshire Cheese and Onion Pie: Angela’s own mix of cross county tastes
- Chicken and Mushroom Pies: elegantly presented with a basket weave crust
It is natural to term these savory pies as hearty. Surely they are that. But there is, and I’ll use the word again, a quiet elegance to these recipes. They represent centuries of daily cooking. The combinations of ingredients and proportions have been honed to a razor sharp degree. Angela has dutifully captured these recipes and made them available to us: poetically photographed and written in easy prose. Browse through Pie and you’ll be seduced into some combination of protein and veggies. Maybe, just veggies alone!
If you did not catch Pie in its first edition, do give this revised edition a look when you can. You don’t have to begin with that Banana, Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pie, but you can. Darn those veggies.
Yesterday’s post was for a lovely Red Velvet Cake Roll or Roulade from Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker.
Today, I just want to emphasize why you should consider Baking for All Occasions for your kitchen bookshelves, sagging though they may be. There are many baking books and, truthfully, many of those are interesting and have some recipes that you want to try. Baking is different for two reasons.
First, Baking is simply dense with recipes that do catch your eye and that compel you to utter the dessert lovers’ mantra: “Make me. Make me.”
Second, because this is a book by Flo, you know that there is substance beyond her seductive titles. You know that each recipe is real, has been tested, is ready for the home cook, and will — if carefully followed — give you exactly the results you desire.
For me, the first sign of a great cookbook is the title information in those recipes. If it says “Chocolate Cake with White Frosting” I’m interested, as any chocoholic might be, but not convinced. When Flo says “All American Chocolate Cake with Divinity Frosting” then I have to pause. Yes, “All American” can mean anything but this is Flo’s book so I know it represents research, testing, and a “best of breed” development.
And “Divinity Frosting?” Well, I remember being eight years old and making divinity for Christmas presents. It’s been a long time. I liked that divinity. I’m sure I’d like it on top of rich chocolate cake. So sure, that the next time Suzen is not around, I fully intend to …
On the list of Flo’s recipes goes, for example:
- Banana Streusel Snack Cake
- Black Bottom Praline Chiffon Pie
- Caramel Chocolate Cream Pie
- Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Cookes [that's them in the picture below!]
- Cinnamon Bubbles with Sour Cream Dough
- Heirloom Banana Cake with Prune Plum Filling and Seafoam Frosting
- Strawberry Mango Shortcake with Basil Syrup
Take that last recipe, which Suzen and I will be testing for you later this summer. We’ve all had strawberry shortcake. It’s classic, it’s a delight. But Flo adds dimension and flavor here. Mangos are married with the strawberries. And that basil syrup is sure to enrich the experience.
This is typical Flo: more flavors for a deeper flavor profile. New ideas are matched up, and yet adroitly balanced so that they complement rather than compete. You’ll know, in that first bite, that before you is something quite special.
Baking for All Occasions is surely a book you’ll enjoy. Just reading it is fun. Sampling your way through, one treat at a time, can be your personal journey to dessert nirvana. Don’t wait for reincarnation. Bake now. Bake with Flo.