Spring up Your Pie Game With CIA's Pies & Tarts

Photo by Ben Fink, courtesy HMH.
Strawberry balsamic pie with cookie-cutter lattice.

Publishers love to send us cookbooks here at Fork in the Road, and often those books come straight from the chefs at some of New York's best restaurants. So we decided to share the love, and each week, we'll feature a new book, a recipe, and a few thoughts on cooking from the authors. Check back every Tuesday for a new book.

Pies and Tarts

By The Culinary Institute of America and Kristina Peterson Migoya, 336 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99

In today's cookbook culture, even the best, most serious chefs fall victim to over- personalizing and editorializing their books; each recipe comes with a story and a glossy, full-color photograph, and you end up learning more about the chef and his or her background than you do about cooking great food.

But leave it to the Culinary Institute of America, and to pastry chef Kristina Peterson Migoya, to put out a book that declines to frolic in the fields, instead bringing cooking back to the kitchen (and yes, there are still beautiful photos).

In one of our recent chats, Migoya said she tried hard to convince her publisher to sell the book as a package deal: Readers would buy the book along with a digital scale for weighing ingredients, which is how professionals cook.

The author understands that not everyone is, or wants to be, a professional, but she stresses that precision, organization, and care are absolutely essential to achieving one's desired result with baking.

The book is focused, unembellished, and clear; it's also a reasonable size for a cookbook, as in, it will fit on your counter alongside your ingredients, cutting board, and mixing bowls, unlike so many other modern cookbooks, which are better off on a coffee table, or cracked for reference, but not so much for day-to-day splashes and splatters.

On the next page, Migoya dishes on crimping and lattices, digital scales, and one very special mentor.

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