Mitchell Beazley • £15.99
As the weather has suddenly turned from what has been a balmy summer into the early days of a blustery autumn with a lot less light and the need for a lot more clothing, the cookery book publishers have also rotated their attention to the approaching winter. This particular selection from Angela Boggiano, an experienced food writer with Anglo-Italian roots who has written for BBC Good Food and The Guardian magazine, fits perfectly into that bill, epitomising the current season with hearty, wholesome recipes that everyone loves to come home to, especially when you’re cold and miserable after a long day at school, college or work.
She begins by covering the basics in her introduction, touching on her own love of the pie and what makes a tasty recipe, as well as dealing with the history of the cuisine, what makes a basic pie from flour to fat, and easy-to-follow ‘mother recipes’ for a number of pastries including shortcrust, cheese, flaky, rough puff, potato, wheat-free and food processor. There are also titbits on trouble-shooting faults in shortcrust and flaky and puff and hot-water crust pastries. After that the recipes are divided into sections such as ‘homepie’, ‘handpie’, ‘noblepie’, ‘sweetpie’, and ‘extrapie’.
All of the recipes are well-written instructions and easy-to-follow with plenty of helpful photography. The best of the recipes are those for braised lamb shank pie; steak and kidney pie; rabbit pot pie with polenta crust; venison pie with thyme, mustard and shallots; beef and ale pie; meat and potato pie; lamb, mint and pumpkin pie; beef Wellington; Russian fish pie; Greek spinach pie; chicken, lemon and oregano pie cooked in a frying pan; Spanish pepper and chorizo pie; Cheshire cheese and onion pie; Masala pies; Cornish pasties; sausage rolls; fennel and Gruyère puffs; lamb en croûtes; asparagus turnovers; goat’s cheese, roasted garlic and sweet potato parcels; empanadillas; scallop, crab and cayenne pies; scotch pies; Melton Mowbray pork pie; gooseberry raised pie; chocolate-filled pear puddings; pear frangipane croustade; baby apple calvados pies; chocolate and pecan pie; berry turnovers; Eccles cakes; strawberry and rhubarb cobbler; spiced summer berry free-form pie with lemon pastry; whiskey-laced mince pies; and pumpkin pie. Towards the end there is also a selection for basic recipes for those all-important mushy peas; gravy; and custard that sit so well with the traditional pie.
In essence, a real pie-eater’s feast, with lots of recipes for all occasions celebrating all that is best about the humble pie and a lot more.