Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life by Kate McDermott

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Traditional Art of the Pie leaf lard and butter dough

    • jenmacgregor18 on August 01, 2018

      This was my first crust with leaf lard. It is easy to work with. I made a double batch for 2 double crust pies. I used the pastry blender/cutter method. I found the batch that I cut up a little bit more (no pieces the size of almonds) was a little easier to handle than the other. But they both turned out great.

    • bching on May 31, 2019

      Delicious crust--bakes up crispy. I prefer the all butter crust in this book but I would definitely use this lard/butter combo for savory pies.

    • Smokeydoke on February 22, 2017

      Unbelievably flaky and easy to work with, the leaf lard makes a huge difference.

    • Cookie24 on December 28, 2020

      First time I've used leaf lard in pie crust. Rolled out well, easy to handle and baked up crispy and flaky. Made it by hand, but next time I'll probably use the food processor.

    • PQPantry on February 15, 2019

      The best crust recipe

  • Traditional Art of the Pie all-butter dough

    • Katielang on March 08, 2017

      A delicious pie dough and the secret is to follow the instructions exactly and always keep everything chilled, especially yourself. :)

    • Rutabaga on July 02, 2017

      I've been using the Smitten Kitchen all-butter pie pastry recipe for awhile, but tried this one since I just bought the book. It's more or less the same dough, with great instructions both here and on Smitten Kitchen. Today's crust wasn't the flakiest I've ever made, but that was likely because it was a fairly warm day and not all of my ingredients were as cold as they could have been. It was still pretty great, and there's not much that can beat good homemade pie pastry.

    • bching on May 28, 2017

      The instructions are a joy to read and the crust itself may be the best I've ever made. No more Rose Levy Beranbaum crusts for me!

    • hirsheys on June 22, 2018

      Yummy and flaky, plus easy to work with . So far this is my favorite all-butter crust.

  • Traditional Art of the Pie butter and shortening dough

    • hirsheys on July 22, 2018

      This crust worked well, though I'm not sure I prefer it to the all-butter. Very easy to work with. (It got a little tough because I moved it around a bit - forgot that it was a deep dish pie, so put it in the wrong pie plate at first...) I use a pastry cutter, rather than my hands to smoosh.

  • Gluten-free all-butter dough

    • rionafaith on January 05, 2019

      I've had lackluster results with gluten-free crusts before but this one was actually quite good! It handles a bit differently than standard pie crust (much softer, yet still prone to cracking), but despite the very detailed warning-like instructions I had no problem rolling it out. Used it for the Cranberry Pie from the same book. One of the guests said she wouldn't have known it was GF if I hadn't said anything, so that's a win!

  • Little tasties

    • Maefleur on July 29, 2018

      I made the savory version of these little treats. Fun and delicious!

  • The quintessential apple pie

    • lou_weez on April 23, 2017

      YUM! This was a great tasting apple pie. Can't wait to make it again.

    • mattyjaco on October 21, 2017

      Would like this to be slightly sweeter might try additional 1/4 cup of sugar next time

    • Lepa on October 06, 2020

      I made this pie with apples from our tree at our new house. It was delicious and I also had the best luck ever with her butter crust so it was extra special. Love this pie!

    • vickster on February 26, 2018

      It IS the Quintessential Apple Pie. A wonderful classic that is good any time. The only change I made is to double the cinnamon.

    • Lsblackburn1 on November 29, 2019

      This was perfect. I’ve never realized you could leave the peel on the apple, but I guess you can! So much time saved, which is great because this has a lot of apples.

  • Pear pie

    • hillsboroks on October 01, 2018

      What a disappointment! I had the last of the Bartlett pears and wanted to put them in a really nice pie. This recipe, despite some interesting ingredients, ended up incredibly bland. I used Clear Creek Pear Brandy and Pear Champagne Vinegar. I think a bit of lemon juice and a bit more sugar would have helped. Plus I followed her tip to leave the pears unpeeled and this was a big mistake as the pieces of peel would stick to the roof of your mouth. For the first time ever I tossed an almost complete pie into the garbage.

  • Blackberry pie

    • Rutabaga on September 15, 2020

      This recipe made an excellent blackberry pie filling with a nicely balanced sweetness (my berries were moderately tart on their own). It thickened well without being gummy. My only disappointment was that my crust wasn't as tender as usual (I used the all-butter recipe from this book). I'm not sure why that was, but guess I overworked it a bit.

  • Blueberry pie

    • Lepa on December 29, 2020

      This is a simple, lovely pie that highlights the slightly herbal flavor of blueberries. I didn't have quick cooking tapioca so I used the same amount of arrowroot powder and that worked fine.

    • TrishaCP on January 01, 2020

      This is a great blueberry pie recipe- you really don’t need another. I agree you can definitely reduce the sugar in the pie and I think 1/2 cup would work per a previous reviewer. I used frozen blueberries so needed an extra 10 minutes to bake it.

    • hirsheys on May 19, 2019

      I'm not convinced that I love blueberry pie. Mine were early season blueberries, so perhaps not as tasty as farmer's market ones from later in the summer would be. Also, the middle took a very long time to finish cooking - I think if I were to do this again I'd try the Fine Cooking method that squishes up about a cup of the blueberries to kickstart the stewing process. That said, it's not bad - just not my favorite flavor. Certainly worked. ETA: I take it all back! After a day or two, this pie was DELICIOUS! I think it just needed to meld a bit. The flavors ended up being wonderful - not too sweet, and the pie wasn't overly thickened. The butter crust also stayed crispy, which was great.

    • Smokeydoke on February 22, 2017

      Delicious! My favorite pie from the book.

    • Hippos4all on March 08, 2017

      Only used a half cup sugar and it was great. You really need to wait until the pie cools so the sauce thickens before you cut it.

  • Raspberry pie

    • Samjbutler on February 18, 2020

      This is an incredibly delicious recipe. Made lattice top, with butter/shortening pastry. Substituted corn starch for tapioca flour. Farmer's market raspberries.

  • Triple berry pie

    • Lepa on March 28, 2020

      This filling was delicious. It wasn't too sweet and it was especially good with some plain yogurt for breakfast!

  • My favorite peach pie (the short tidy version)

    • Rutabaga on October 04, 2017

      This was probably the first peach pie I've made, and it turned out very nicely. Since I baked it in the morning, the filling was well set by the time I served it after dinner. The only thing I would do differently is roll out the crust thinner. My pie plate is on the smaller side, so I find that the standard pie pastry recipe is really more than I need for one pie. Next time, I'll try to remember to thin the crust a bit, and bake the extra dough scraps sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, rather than use up all the dough for the pie.

    • lou_weez on December 02, 2018

      As a first time peach pie maker, this recipe was wonderful. My peaches weren't particularly ripe so I used 1/2 cup of sugar and threw in some berries that were lingering at the back of the fridge.

    • Katielang on March 08, 2017

      Made with the all butter dough from the same book, at least two people separately said this was one of the best peach pies they've ever had. It's the first peach pie I've ever made, thus the magic of Kate McDermott. Used frozen peaches and added an extra spoon of tapioca starch and the lower amount of sugar.

  • Apricot pie

    • Rutabaga on July 02, 2017

      Very good; I used slightly underripe apricots, which gave the pie a nice tartness. Riper apricots would have given it more sweetness and juiciness. This was my first apricot pie, but I will definitely make it again. Apricots are easy to quarter, making this an easy filling to prepare.

  • Apricot raspberry pie

    • hillsboroks on July 19, 2020

      In this recipe apricots and raspberries meld together into the most amazing flavor. I only had about a cup of raspberries but that was still enough to add the bright raspberry flavor. To boost the raspberry flavor I used Chambord raspberry liqueur instead of Cointreau. I also used 3 tablespoons of tapioca flour instead of tapioca and the regular flour and it thickened perfectly. I will make this again whenever I can find both fresh apricots and raspberries.

  • Sour cherry pie

    • vickster on February 15, 2017

      Proclaimed by my husband to be the best pie I ever made! Kate McDermott's instruction on making pie crust, in addition to her wonderful recipe, are responsible. I will definitely be trying more recipes in this book.

    • vickster on November 24, 2017

      I made this pie for the second time, for Thanksgiving dinner. The filling is delicious and easy, and the dough from "Art of the Pie" is always easy to roll out.

  • Cranberry pie

    • bching on November 29, 2019

      Not the best cranberry pie I've made. Unlike the previous reviewer, I did not have issues with runniness. I appreciated that the berries still had some firmness. Still, the sweet /tart balance just wasn't right.

    • rionafaith on January 05, 2019

      Nice change from the pie classics, just the right balance of tart and sweet. The filling was a bit on the liquidy side, but that may be because I used frozen cranberries -- though I didn't thaw before using per her instructions, I'm sure they defrosted somewhat in the fridge when chilling the assembled pie, so maybe I should have chilled in the freezer instead. May need a bit more cornstarch in the filling to remedy that if I make again. I did not include the optional walnuts. This did take a bit of a longer bake than indicated to fully brown the crust (almost an hour), but that may be because I used the gluten-free crust and I'm not sure if that one browns at the same rate.

  • Old-fashioned rhubarb pie

    • hirsheys on July 22, 2018

      This was another in my long line of attempts to verify that my mother's is, in fact, the best version of rhubarb pie. (So far, hers is still winning...) This is such an incredibly charming book - I really need to bake more from it. The filling was also nice - a bit tart (I used the highest amount of rhubarb and probably should have gone just a tad heavier on the sugar), but still quite tasty. My one big critique was that it was a bit overly thickened - the recipe calls for both flour and tapioca, and I think pure flour would have been enough. Still, the pie came out just gorgeous, and my office mates were thrilled with it.

  • Raspberry rhubarb pie

    • Lepa on April 23, 2020

      This filling was pretty good but has a dingy color because it's mostly rhubarb. Despite several attempts I'm still having problems with the all butter crust, which ends up very hard. I'll keep working on it.

  • Rhubarb custard pie

    • jenmacgregor18 on June 07, 2017

      Excellent! Used 1/2 and 1/2. I would add more nutmeg next time; maybe 3/4 tsp; but that's a personal preference. Butter/veg shortening crust turned out well too. I'll try a 10' / deep dish plate next time. I used a standard Pyrex and couldn't quite get all the custard in.

    • hirsheys on May 14, 2018

      Didn't love this - it was a bit too eggy and not enough rhubarb. Delicious crust, though.

  • Shaker lemon pie

    • Rutabaga on March 17, 2018

      I really like Shaker lemon pie, but this was my first time making it. Overall, it was quite good, but there are some things I would alter next time. I used three Meyer lemons. They were rather small, but the recipe doesn't specify the size of lemons to be used; it only says two to three lemons. In this case, I think four would have been better. Also, since Meyer lemons are rather sweet, you really don't need two full cups of sugar. Reducing it by half a cup would probably let more of their tartness shine through. It's an easy pie to make, and a good option in winter.

  • Chess pie

    • Jviney on April 15, 2018

      Big hit with book club. I added the dark chocolate and it was delicious.

  • Chocolate chess pie

    • Jviney on April 26, 2018

      This was a really pleasant surprise - great flavour and I could still taste and enjoy the chocolate. Very good.

  • Pecan pie

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 16, 2018

      Yum. The bourbon taste really comes through in this! I used dark corn syrup and this baked up perfectly.

  • Chicken pot pie

    • Lsblackburn1 on November 11, 2019

      I made this with her cheddar crust. This is exactly what you expect a pot pie to be! The recipe for both the filling and double crust ended up being enough for one double crust pot pie plus a smaller single crust pie. We easily could have polished off it all but decided to exercise some restraint!

    • Samjbutler on March 22, 2020

      This is a truly excellent chicken pie; I really appreciated the layering of flavor to make a delicious dairy-free sauce. I added some leeks, and used the butter:shortening pastry recipe. It all made for a huge 10" pie.

    • vickster on December 07, 2018

      I don't know what more to say than that this is the perfect Chicken Pot Pie! (But I did make it with turkey left over from Thanksgiving.) And Kate McDermott's half lard/half butter crust really makes it.

  • Cottage pie

    • Rutabaga on February 25, 2018

      This is a delicious, well-seasoned savory pie that can easily be made in advance. I replaced the ground beef with ground turkey, then noticed that the recipe following this one, for shepherd's pie, was completely identical to the cottage pie recipe, except for the fact it calls for lamb rather than beef. I'm baffled that two completely separate recipes were needed to convey this single difference, and considering I used neither beef nor lamb, I suppose the pie I made would qualify for yet a third recipe! At any rate, it is good, no matter which meat you choose.

  • Shepherd's pie

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 16, 2018

      I love shepherds pie and this is one of the tastiest recipes I’ve come across for it! Added extra cheese, of course.

  • Sausage and apple pie

    • Lsblackburn1 on October 14, 2018

      Yum! Perfect for a fall dinner party. The recipe didn’t say to peel the apples but I assumed I should. Made with 3 Granny Smith and 3 honey crisps.

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Reviews about this book

  • Eat Your Books by Jenny Hartin

    From the queen of pies, the guide to all your pie needs.

    Full review
  • Food52

    2017 Piglet Community Pick: will stand the test of time and quickly become a revered classic. It is like having my grandmother standing at my side again, guiding me as I learned to bake from scratch.

    Full review
  • Leite's Culinaria

    Her charming prose conveys exactly what you need to watch for, listen for, and feel for when you make pie from scratch but without being offputtingly pedantic or technical.

    Full review
  • Eat the Love

    Review plus sample recipe from the book.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1581573278
  • ISBN 13 9781581573275
  • Published Oct 04 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 352
  • Language English
  • Edition 1
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Countryman Press

Publishers Text

Making pie can be as easy as pie, with recipes and lessons from a renowned teacher of the craft

“I’ve been baking pies my entire life, but making them with Kate was a liberating experience. With a pioneer spirit, she throws the textbook out the window and comes up with absolutely perfect crust filled with fruit that actually sings to you.”  –Ruth Reichl  

Pie-making should be simple and fun. Kate McDermott has taught this and made pies with thousands of people across the country at her Pie Camps. Her confidence comes through in every recipe, and will inspire readers to don an apron, grab a rolling pin, and get cooking. (The stunning photographs in this book won’t hurt either.) Over the years, McDermott developed more than a dozen crusts, half of which are gluten-free, and in this book she gives detailed instructions for making, rolling, and baking crusts. A pie needs filling, too, and she does not neglect a single detail when describing her ingredients, methods, and tricks for making the filling and finishing off the pie. Recipes include:

  • Blackberry Pie for Julia Child
  • The Best Peach Pie in the World
  • Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Pie    

Art of the Pie is more than a cookbook. Kate’s rules extend well beyond pie baking: keep everything chilled, respect the boundaries, and remember to vent. This is a book to keep close at hand.

75 color photographs

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