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Rick Johnson and Judy Wells.

Markham (ON), Penguin Books, c1983.
158pp, paper, spiral bound, $9.95.
ISBN 0-14-046623-1.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Jackie Black.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

We all remember "Four and twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie," and this cookbook carries on with the specific theme of savoury pie recipes. It is obvious that the two authors have a mutual love of this food, either making or eating it, as they have researched and compiled an excellent repertoire of main course pies. Twenty-three countries are represented in the international pie chapter, and the interesting conversational introductions give added information about the recipe.

Your savoury pie can come in ten different styles, examples being en croute (meat wrapped in pastry) or a pithivier (a filling sandwiched between two circles of pastry. Calzones, profiteroles, turnovers, and tartlets are representational of the thirteen individual pie recipes. Made small, they can be served as an appetizer; a bit larger, and they become a "meal in your hand." The variations are incredible if you consider the twenty-six filling recipes (such as Stilton tart, basic savoury custard, or oxtail pie) and mix and match with the thirteen pastry recipes, ranging from "Rough Puff to "Salt Crust." Logical explanations emphasize the simplicity of the task, and the clear instructions reduce the mystery usually affiliated with making and rolling pastry.

The chapter on decoration gives practical hints on handling the dough, glazing the crust, designing the tops with cutouts or lattice work, etc. All aspects of equipment are discussed with emphasis being on purchasing professional tools rather than decorative. In this age of instant food, the section on freezing is an excellent addition.

Illustrations are limited to four coloured photos and black-and-white mini-sketches are sprinkled throughout. Should your interest in further pie baking be whetted, other sources are listed. Should your first attempts need further improvement, a series of analytical questions explain what went wrong. Imperial and rounded off metric measurements, as well as a comprehensive index, complete this excellent cookbook. Highly recommended.

Jackie Black, Westgate C. V. I., Thunder Bay, ON.
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