The Book on Pie: Everything You Need to Know to Bake Perfect Pies by Erin Jeanne McDowell

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Notes about this book

  • yellowbird531 on April 05, 2021

    This book is layed out in a way that is extremely difficult to follow. A ton of information but you will be flipping back and forth multiple times for every recipe. It seems like many of the recipes were not tested... had issues with the way the instructions asked me to make lemon curd (even though I know better, I followed and ended up with scrambled eggs) and things like not tempering chocolate before incorporating. Bake times seem consistently way off. Great ideas and flavor inspirations, but the recipes and execution need work.

  • tarae1204 on November 26, 2020

    My actual cooking times for pumpkin mascarpone pie and chocolate sugar pie (p 232) are taking longer than what is stated in the book (my oven thermometer confirms correct oven temp). McDowell published a chocolate mint sugar pie recipe on food52 on 9/25/20 that has some significant differences: https://www.google.com/amp/s/food52.com/recipes/84007-mint-chocolate-chip-sugar-pie-recipe/amp. That more recent recipe uses different proportion cream and milk, chopped chocolate instead of cocoa powder, and a longer bake time. I wonder if this would fix the problems I’m having with chocolate sugar pie in the book. Fantastic results using her approach to pie crust making!! Very flaky.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Fruity frangipane pie

    • Emily Hope on July 19, 2021

      Made this to celebrate getting some nice apricots from the farmer's market (plus a handful of blueberries), made with an almond frangipane I added a couple of noyeaux to. Overall we liked it, though I never thought a dessert would make me ask myself: is there such a thing as too much frangipane? There is a significant amount of it here, more than would be in a free-form galette or pastry. Not necessarily a bad thing, just something to note. Given the flavor profile + the rough puff pastry crust, this reads to me almost like a large-format breakfast pastry, and I think it would be a welcome addition to a brunch menu. The filling components are pretty easy to put together, but the rough puff is a bit fiddly (though obvs not as fiddly as real puff pastry would be!) It's not complicated, but you do have to manage the process over a couple of hours. Can't argue with the resulting crust, though, which was flaky and delicious.

  • All-buttah pie dough

    • Astrid5555 on January 04, 2021

      Can only repeat Lepa’s comment. Watch the youtube video as well and you will have pie crust perfection!

    • Lepa on December 13, 2020

      I made my best pie crust ever with this recipe. I can't figure out if it was the recipe or Erin's youtube video that shows how to tell when the dough is properly hydrated. This is something I have struggled with in the past. This crust was flaky perfection and I was so proud of it!

  • Grapefruit meringue pie

    • Astrid5555 on March 20, 2022

      Used the polenta crust which provided a great textural contrast to the curd and meringue. Despite the tanginess from the grapefruit curd, this pie was quite sweet. I think I prefer lemons over other citrus fruits in meringue pies/tarts.

  • Brown butter press-in cookie crust

    • abrownb1 on August 05, 2021

      Easy to make but had to add an extra 2 tbsp of water to get the smooth consistency. Brown butter has less water in it from the cooking process so I feel like that should have been noted in the recipe but nonetheless tasty. I made mini pies in a muffin tin and probably will go for 10 shells next time as opposed to the 12 noted as it was a little thin (possibly only an issue w the brown butter crust though). If making fruit mini pies, no need to par bake per Erin's IG. 350 for 30-35 mins.

  • Mascarpone whipped cream

    • abrownb1 on April 26, 2021

      Wow this is good! I may never make normal whipped cream again. Delicious on top of a berry crumble. Half the amount of sugar was plenty sweet for me so ymmv.

  • Streusel for baking

    • abrownb1 on August 05, 2021

      Super easy to whip up and tasty. I froze some to use another time so will report back on how it works out!

  • Stone fruit-berry pie

    • abrownb1 on August 05, 2021

      Only made plum filling and it was very tasty. Plums are super juicy and break down more quickly so next time may shorten cooking time to get some chunks as it ended up as more of a smooth jam consistency. Perfect amount of thickening. Used press in brown butter cookie crust to make mini pies (muffin size) topped with streusel. 350 for 30-35 mins (no need to par bake per Erin's IG)

  • Whipped cream sauce

    • abrownb1 on August 06, 2021

      Out of vanilla ice cream but your favorite topping is the melted pockets of melted ice cream? Make this. Takes less than a min to throw together an individual portion and satisfies the craving.

  • Basic crumb crust

    • hirsheys on April 17, 2021

      Good crust. Used graham crackers in Coconut lime pie. Could have used a bit more butter.

    • coryelizabeth on May 02, 2022

      I made this with Lorna Doone shortbread cookies and wound up with too much butter, not enough crumb. To be fair, she warns this is a possibility with this recipe and that bakers should beware of the crust seems imbalanced.

  • Peanut butter-banana cream pie

    • hirsheys on March 25, 2021

      Made this for Steff for her birthday with a press-in cookie crust. She really liked it, though we decided it could have used a bit more salt (a different crust?) I felt more banana would have been nice - maybe a layer on the bottom and then on the top? Also, I always go half as sweet on the whipped cream in this book and will keep doing that - otherwise pies are too sweet.

  • Key lime-coconut cream pie

    • hirsheys on March 14, 2021

      This came out tasty, though I will fiddle with it if I make it again. I made a graham cracker crust and used about half a batch of whipped cream, which I sweetened only halfway (and next time, I'd leave out the sugar in the whipped cream entirely). There's some discrepancy in the volume and weight measurements for the key lime pie recipe, so I just used volumes - I ended up using a full can of sweetened condensed milk. The key lime overpowers the coconut, so it's worth seeing if there's a way to increase that flavor (coconut in the crust? all coconut milk in the custard?) and I'd also like to figure out a way to get rid of the pieces of coconut, because I don't love that texture. ETA: the coconut flavor is stronger after a day or two.

  • Grapefruit curd

    • tarae1204 on January 23, 2021

      I made this recipe for grapefruit curd using pink grapefruit juice. Its tasty but not very firm. I think its odd that it called for four egg yolks and no full eggs. Pretty much every curd recipe calls for a combo of egg yolks and full eggs. No harm in using a tried and true curd recipe (maybe not this one) if you want to continue with one of her wonderful looking curd based pie recipes.

  • Apple pie

    • Lepa on December 13, 2020

      The apples here are in a spicy caramel sauce. You have to let the apples sit for forty-five minutes and then cook them before adding them to the crust and baking the pie. It was good and my family raved about it but I think I prefer a plainer apple pie where I can taste the fruit more and that doesn't have all the fiddly steps.

  • Caramel chai custard pie in shortbread crumb crust

    • coryelizabeth on May 02, 2022

      The batter for the chai custard was insanely delicious, like liquid gingerbread. However, I followed the recipe's recommended cooking time and visual cues for doneness, and once my pie cooled, the custard turned out to be overdone. Additionally, the caramel sauce made the pie incredibly sweet, almost inedibly so -- and I say this as someone who enjoys Christina Tosi recipes.

  • Green veggie quiche

    • MakeMyHay on February 04, 2022

      Super delicious. Didn’t have asparagus so increased the quantities of spinach and peas. Made with the Golden Cheese Pie Dough which was fantastic - crispy, flaky, cheesy.

    • sharone7 on June 14, 2021

      beautiful texture and fresh flavors. This was a hit and it disappeared almost immediately.

  • Basic nut crust

    • khopkins1012 on January 10, 2021

      This was easier to make than a traditional flour-based crust. I used pecan chips that didn’t even need to be chopped. We enjoyed the deep, toasty flavor of this crust.

  • Any-fruit crumb crostata

    • j.va on March 04, 2021

      Great concept that's delicious in execution. I used blueberries and they worked perfectly, setting up enough to hold together when sliced, but not so much so that it felt gelled. The crust directly under the fruit gets soft by day 2, so try to eat this the day of or the day after for the best structural integrity.

  • Blueberry swamp pie

    • taste24 on April 05, 2021

      Out of this world pie. My dad, who is usually a chocolate/caramel/nut kind of guy, said this is best pie he has ever eaten. I made the crust in the food processor, let it chill overnight, and par-baked the next day (about 15 hours before I baked the full pie). It was a breeze to roll out and par-bake - her pictures on over/under done par-baked shells was really helpful. The filling was really easy to put together. It has the perfect amount of lemon blueberry goodness, the custard lent a great creaminess, and the streusel on top tied it all together perfectly. Will be making this one over and over.

  • Triple-chocolate caramel truffle pie

    • taste24 on October 07, 2021

      I was expecting to love this pie, and just didn't. It is GOOD.. don't get me wrong. But it is almost too 'one note'. Perhaps that is why she has you put the chocolate crispies on top (which I did not do). The filling was a little too rich for me as well. Also - I used Kraft wrapped caramels for the filling, but wish I would have gotten Werther's to melt down.

  • Rhubarb meringue pie

    • Hansyhobs on January 23, 2022

      Delicious! I made this with the rye pastry but I didn't notice the nuance. Really should have left this to cool down 100% but I couldn't resist so the filling was a bit saucy. Meringue topping is incredible and I really need to buy a blow torch.

  • Blood orange brûlée pie

    • Hansyhobs on January 17, 2022

      Despite some issues with the pastry, this was delicious and I would absolutely make it again. I love blood oranges!

  • Meringue topping

    • Hansyhobs on January 23, 2022

      SO DELICIOUS! I made this topping (mile-high version) for the rhubarb pie and not only is it nice and easy to put together but the end result if so perfectly marshmallowy

  • Pure rhubarb pie

    • Hansyhobs on January 09, 2022

      I made this with vanilla and nutmeg rough puff. I messed up the pastry a little as I didn't add enough water to begin with, but it turned out OK. Forced rhubarb was still quite tart but I liked it. Also, I didn't have enough rhubarb so the filling was a little lacking but honestly, end result was very tasty.

    • sharone7 on June 11, 2021

      Made with half strawberries since that's what I had. It was fabulous. I'm going to make it again this week.

  • Rye pie dough

    • Hansyhobs on January 23, 2022

      Definitely noticed the lack of gluten from the rye flavour and was a bit harder to roll out. Used the dough for the rhubarb pie topped with meringue, delicious but don't think I noticed the flavour of the rye as the pie has a lot going on.

  • Chocolate all-buttah pie dough

    • Hansyhobs on January 17, 2022

      I made this (rough puff style) for the blood orange brulee galette. It didn't puff as much as I was hoping it would but that could have been because the oven wasn't hot enough, I let the dough get too soft during lamination. I added a teaspoon of activated charcoal to make it extra dark.

  • Vanilla bean-nutmeg pie dough

    • Hansyhobs on January 09, 2022

      The vanilla bean seeds were quite difficult to mix with the flour. I made this for the rhubarb pie but honestly I don't think you can taste the added flavouring in the pastry

  • "Root beer float" baked Alaska pie

    • jimandtammyfaye on July 04, 2022

      Visually stunning dessert that turned out to look as beautiful as the one in the book. The root beer syrup, both times I made it, took longer than an hour to condense and somehow seemed to lose its "root beeriness," although the syrup itself was still delicious. I used the brown butter cookie crust. The highlight of the pie was the mile-high meringue swirled to a point and artistically torched.

  • Brown sugar chess pie

    • MollyBelle on February 14, 2021

      Wow! I was sure this recipe wouldn't turn out when I added the milk. Very thin. Took longer to bake but came out a winner! Made with all-butter crust and under-whipped cream. Loved it.

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  • ISBN 10 0358229286
  • ISBN 13 9780358229285
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Nov 10 2020
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 352
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publishers Text

Erin Jeanne McDowell, New York Times contributing baker extraordinaire and top food stylist, wrote the book on pie, a comprehensive handbook that distills all you'll ever need to know for making perfect pies. The Book on Pie starts with the basics, including techniques, conversions, make-aheads, and styling tricks, before diving into 100 of her unique and intriguing recipes. Find everything from classics like apple and pumpkin, to more inspired recipes like Hand-Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches and Chinese BBQ Pork and Scallion Pie. Erin takes every recipe a step further with Pie-deas: ideas for swapping doughs, crusts, and toppings for infinitely customizable pies. Mix and match Pumpkin Spice Pie Dough and Dark Chocolate Drippy Glaze, or the Chive Compound-Butter Crust with the Croque Madame Pielets . . . the possibilities are endless. Look no further than The Book on Pie for the only book on pie you'll ever want or need.

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