This is Philippa Vanstone’s first book and I am sure there will be many more. Tarts and Pies – Classic and Contemporary is lovely with both photographs (Michelle Garrett) and recipes to be proud of.
It’s a bold, colourful volume with clear text and easy to follow recipes. They are easy to follow because they are easy recipes. That isn’t to say that these tarts and pies are common-place. There are plenty of new ones and a good selection from both the UK and North America.
Phillippa has covered every aspect of tart and pie making. There is a history of pastry, as well as recipes for just about every type imaginable. You should have a go at making your own pastry for these pies before resorting to shop-bought. Although puff pastry sounds a bit daunting, you should have no problem with the others.
The recipes are divided by type of filling. There are all kinds of fruit but also Sugar and Spice, Nuts, Dairy and Chocolate. It’s easy to find a selection of recipes that are just right for any fruit when it comes into season, and chocolate is good all year round!
There are several old-fashioned favourites such as Tarte Tatin, Bramley Apple Tart, Linzer Tart and Bakewell Tart, but the new recipes look scrumptious, too. How about Coffee and Cardamom Tart? It’s a fragrant, nutty confection without an overly strong coffee flavour. Or Pineapple and Rum Custard Galettes? It uses puff pastry, but you should use bought pastry if that is the only way you’ll try this one.
The classic American pies are well chosen and you would probably have heard of them, even if you have never eaten them…till now! Maple Pecan Pie has almost tooth-aching sweetness but a texture and taste that will encourage you to make it often. It’s one of the simplest tarts to produce but will be a winner with everyone.
I could continue with my list of “you must have a go at…” but I’ll end by saying that you should have a look at this book yourself. It has fine examples of classic, contemporary, international and home-grown tarts and pies and it’s altogether a book to buy and enjoy.
Tarts and Pies
Author: Philippa Vanstone
Published by: Grub Street
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018