This is probably my last review of the year 2020, and I’m glad it’s a pretty good one. I should also note that this is a review of a cookbook that I have not made any recipes from yet. I plan to start tomorrow, but by that point it may be too late to review for this year. I have however read the whole thing, so I don’t feel too bad about that.
One reason I want to review Pieometry for 2020 is that in a way I kind of wish I’d had it sooner because this book would have made for a great quarantine project. Pieometry is every bit as much a design book as it is a cookbook of pies. I like pie, both savory and sweet; apparently the author is an Instagram star who has gotten popular enough to warrant a book. Normally, as I’ve said in other reviews, I don’t like fiddly designs or recipes. In spite of that, both the designs and recipes look pretty reasonable assuming one has a bit of time on their hands and a few bits of equipment and ingredients that may not necessarily be baking staples. Items such as geometric cutters, fruit and vegetable powders for coloring, and tapioca starch are pretty common, but none of those things are terribly difficult to locate, and the book does have suggestions for some of the more obscure items. There is a lot of dragonfruit in this book, and I’m going to have to save those recipes for last because that’s not something common around where I live, and the nearest international market of any size is over an hour away.
Before getting into this, I will also point out that a lot of the crust, filling, and top designs are interchangeable; the author says so. Nearly every recipe is followed some options for crust and topping alternatives for the filling of the preceding recipe.
Let’s do a close look at the recipe and design I plan to start with, a tart recipe labeled “Spike a Pose”. I picked this one because the design is less intricate than some of the others and the filling sounded interesting. The crust is a standard pastry shell (see another page for recipe) fully pre-baked, and the filling is a black tea panna cotta, which is basically a tea flavored custard that involves gelatin, cream, milk, and sugar. So far so normal; these are all things I already have in my pantry, although I think the box of unflavored gelatin I saw may or may not be beyond it’s ‘use by’ date. The procedure is pretty clear and mostly standard for this kind of thing, heat and combine but avoid boiling at all costs. After setting in the fridge for a couple of hours, add topping and consume within two days. The topping in this case involves slicing strawberries in squarish and triangle-ish pieces (shapes which are close enough to the natural fruit shape that you just need a knife, and mangoes cut similarly. Direction are separately provided in every case for cutting and constructing the topping design, usually on the next page from the main recipe. In this case, you are told to use a toothpick to lightly draw a zigzag into the custard as a guide, and then fill in each section with alternating fruits. Results should be something like:
What I like about the book on paper is that a lot of the flavor combinations are somewhat standard but often with a little something to keep it interesting; tea and fruit, speculoos crust and blueberry mint filling, Nutella and beet tinted crusts with a standard cherry pie filling, and to represent the savory, mushroom leek filling in carrot and spinach tinted crust. I have to admit that some of the designs do look more intricate than I might be inclined to try, as in quite a few of the dough based topper designs involve a lot of cutting into thin strips and then manipulating in various ways. None of it look un-doable but some does look like it would take me a lot of time, and pie dough when it gets soft gets hard to handle.