Pastry in Europe or PIE 2010 is like a grand tour of Europe. But this is not a commercial tour that stops briefly at a few cities in a few countries and rushes you through to the next. Instead it is a tour that includes the major tourist attractions, but more importantly also takes you to the spots that you often need to be a local to know about. Pie is at its best finding those little known places and sharing them with the reader. Obviously Europe is a vast area to cover, full of many diverse languages and cultures. There is a blend of the very traditional and the very modern. This is exactly what this book delivers. PIE 2010 lets us travel to all these places and offers up a grand sampling of them.
With over 250 pages of glossy photos and hundreds of recipes, we are given a sample of the ultra modern and the very classic. We can start out in a chapter about a modern and almost molecular take on yogurt and turn the page and visit a much more pedestrian Dutch Sausage Roll from the Dutch province of Brabant. Both are interesting and both explored on their own merits. All brought to life with hundreds of photos that reflect each area. When we visit Vienna we get to learn a bit about the claims to the original Sacher Torte from the Hotel Sacher and Demel, a patisserie that has been around since 1888 Where Eduard Sacher trained before opening the legendary Sacher Hotel. In Florence we sample local pastries with and drink ristretto. In the afternoon we can share bombolinos with the local kids after school. In Belgium we get to explore an old city called Liers, We get introduced to a century old pastry called Liers Vlaaike. A small “little flan” with a crumb type of filling flavored with cinnamon, ground coriander and nutmeg. For me this is where PIE 2010 really shines. Giving me a glimpse into a past and tradition I would never have found out about unless I got to visit that city. PIE gives us a real sense of the culinary fiber of each city. And as we continue peruse the pages we get to meet 3 Michelin chefs and artisan bakers, confectioners, and chocolatiers all share exciting recipes. There are plated desserts, marshmallows, gummy candies, spices and herbs, and too many others to mention here.
But if it sounds a bit too busy, a little one size fits all, fear not. The segments are brief, informative and full of photos and recipes. And remember, you can do the tour at your own pace. There are no rushed travel plans. No dashing to an airport or scrambling to catch a bus. Enjoy a city, feel like you are part of it and then move on when you like. And just in case you finish the tour we are hopeful PIE will be back again in 2011.
Paul Bodrogi CEPC
1 litre water, 500 g butter, 1700 g flour. Filling: 2200 g breadcrumbs, 750 mls light syrup, 4 litres milk, 400 g flour, 200 g four-spice powder, starting dough from the previous batch.
Ingredients: 550 g water, 1650 g light syrup, 1925 g sugar,
220 g egg whites, 220 g crystal sugar, 220 g icing sugar,
500 g whole almonds (skin removed), 550 g hazelnut (skin removed), 200 g pistachios, all nuts roasted.