Pies and roasts are nearly synonymous with the holidays.
And two new cookbooks discuss both. Here’s a quick look at each of them.
• “Pies and Tarts for Dinner and Dessert” by Stéphane Reynaud (Melville House Publishing, $32) – You won’t find classic American pumpkin pie in this hardbound recipe collection, which emphasizes the savory, pastry-encrusted dishes of the French countryside. This is hearty but refined French winter comfort food, like potato pie, beef cheek pie and cornish pasty. Offerings are sophisticated but, if you can master the dough, unfussy. And there’s an introductory chapter with step-by-step photos to help you do just that.
Recipes are grouped by filling: vegetables and mushrooms, poultry and rabbit, meat, fish and seafood, cheese and – finally – sweet. In these parts, people might not rush out to make the wild boar and juniperpie, pigeon pastilla – featuring six, free-range pigeons – or one of the several rabbit pies. Still, the book – by the chef and owner of the restaurant Villa 9 Trois right outside Paris – has many less exotic but still elegant recipes that folks around here might enjoy, like rainbow trout and horseradish pie, prawn and apple pie, tuna pie, brie and grape pie, and blue cheese and walnut pie.
Desserts include sweet pine nut pie, maple syrup pie and apple pie, which features black cherry jam, sultanas and Armagnac brandy as well as the more traditional American ingredients of apples and cinnamon.
Recipes are accompanied by more than 50 warm, well-lighted photographs that often show sliced-into sections of pies of all shapes and sizes. Each offering is wrapped up in buttery, flaky dough – like a gift.
• “Fine Cooking Roasting” by the Editors and Contributors of Fine Cooking (The Taunton Press, $14.95) – The triple-tested recipes in this softbound book largely require little work once they’re in the oven. Dishes are divided by ingredients: Pork, poultry, fish and shellfish, and beef and lamb. Look for elegant mains like roasted shrimp with rosemary and thyme, salmon fillets with lemon-rosemary butter sauce, citrus-marinated roast chicken, slow-roasted leg of lamb with mint and lemon, and beef tenderloin with Roquefort-pecan butter.
But recipes aren’t only for meats. Salads include roasted broccoli and farro with feta as well as roasted feet with crumbled feta and spicy pepitas. Vegetable dishes include roasted fennel with Asiago and thyme, roasted Brussels sprouts with wild mushrooms and cream, and roasted turnips with faple and cardamom.
There are short chapters for leftovers – featuring one or two pasta, casserole, sandwich, salad, soup and hash recipes – as well as desserts. A helpful test kitchen chapter in the back of the book focuses on techniques, like how to cut a large squash, ways to use duck and goose fat, and how to peel pearl onions.
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