Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sour Cream-Apple Pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie

With some teeth-gnashing and trepidation, I've been trying the Carnegie Library's copy of Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker. This new cookbook focuses on time saving tools and techniques geared towards busy home bakers. Malgieri is an accomplished chef and cookbook author, so I had really high hopes for his latest (given its conceptual similarity to The Weekend Baker).

I've had trouble with some of the recipes, and i'm not sure why. It could be my oven, my technique, or my interpretation of the directions. It could be the writing, the layout, or the original test conditions. It could be the weather. Anyway, here are some of my notes:

The small typeface is hard to read. Granted, I prop my cookbook a few feet away and glance at it periodically, but this is the first time i've misread measurements while cooking.

So far, i've only tried the Raisin Spice Squares, the Irish Soda Muffins, and the Sour Cream-Apple Pie. The raisin squares needed extra baking time, and they weren't to my taste. They had a brownie-like texture, which was distracting given that they don't have chocolate in them. I found the raisin and molasses flavor overwhelming.

The Irish Soda Muffins were quick to assemble, but plain-tasting (I omitted the optional caraway). They'd be nice spread with jam, since they're not too sweet.

The Apple-Sour Cream Pie was phenomenal, despite some technical difficulties. My crust drooped over the edge of the pan on one side, and the streusel sank deep into the custard (which overflowed slightly). The bottom didn't brown as well as I would have liked, probably because it was frozen when I assembled the pie.

Luckily, the finished pie sliced perfectly and everyone loved it. The crust was really interesting- the edges were crunchy, but the bottom was spongy and cake-like. It was a nice complement to the apples and sour cream custard.

I am very curious to hear if any of you have tried recipes from the book and whether or not you've had success. I'm going to try a few more- i'll let you know how it goes. I'm reminded of the experience I had with the Tartine cookbook, where no recipe I tried turned out the way it was supposed to...

I'm going try some more recipes, probably pies for now since the first one was encouraging. This blogger had some positive experiences with the cakes, and has posted some photos.


Amanda said...

Oh crap. Guess what I Just bought yesterday in a fit of must-haves?! The Modern Baker cookbook. After reading your post, I'm experiencing a bit of buyers remorse... Hopefully my experience with it is a little more successful, although who knows. His other Perfect Cakes book had such sturdy and trusty recipes that I assumed this one would be the same... I agree about the Tartine one too. For some reason, everything looked enticing but required more effort and thought then I wanted to give.

Lisa said...

I too liked Perfect Cakes, as well as A Bakers Tour.

I am curious to try the cheater puff pastry recipe- it uses a method I haven't seen. I'm also going to take a whack at some of the sweet and savory pies.

Let me know how it goes!

Joe said...

You failed to mention, my friend, that upon biting into this amazing pie, several of your co-workers rolled their eyes heavenward and thanked the Little Baby Jesus for sending you to Earth.