Book review: Pie, Dean Brettschneider

As a man frequently on the receiving end of "who ate all the pies" football chants, I am particularly qualified to express an opinion on this latest offering from self-titled "global baker" Dean Brettschneider. 

PIE tells a story that started with filled Egyptian breads before being influenced by Greek, Roman and Medieval bakers and then French culinary superstars such as Antonin Careme. Together, they have all contributed to a dish that is equally at home in roadside cafes as fine dining restaurants around the world.

Cooking is an art and baking is a science - making pies is a combination of both

The eclectic range of recipes in the book reflects the antipodean roots of the author, with everything from "mince and cheese" to "spicy monkfish".  It does, however, miss some of the northern hemisphere staples that you might expect to see in a definitive work - a killer chicken and mushroom wouldn't go a miss, nor would the definitive steak and kidney. Despite this, there are enough classics to inspire any true pie lover. In fact, Brettschneider's Melton Mowbray style pork pie has already made me a picnic God in the eyes of my family and friends.

My pork pie efforts...

As with many genre-specific cook books, there is a tendency to stretch its scope. I struggle to agree that a cheesecake strictly meets the brief, even tarts are pushing it for me, and whoever decided ginger biscuits deserved to make it into a pie based bible should be slowly beaten with a rolling pin. However, even I have to admit they all taste delicious and look amazing in the mouth watering photos that accompany them.

This book is a great reference manual, clearly explaining how to make every type of pastry you might ever need, as well as other foundation recipes such as creme patissiere that every cook should have in their armoury.

Richard Bertinet described PIE as "mouth watering and clever", and he has a point - but as far as I'm concerned it's worth buying for the pork pies alone.