Pie Academy

Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More; Expert Techniques for Making Fabulous Pies from Scratch


By Ken Haedrich

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  1. ebook $16.99 $21.99 CAD
  2. Hardcover $35.00 $44.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 27, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

“An excellent resource for home bakers looking to up their pie game." – Publishers Weekly, starred review
 "The wide-ranging, well-curated mix of classic and contemporary recipes and expert advice make this an essential primer for avid home bakers." – Library Journal, starred review
"Readers will find everything they'd ever want to know about making pie, and even the dough-fearful will feel ready to measure, roll, and cut." – Booklist, starred review
“Fear of pie? Ken Haedrich to the rescue. Pie Academy takes you through everything pie related — perfect crusts, fillings, crimping techniques, blind baking, lattice toppings and more.” — Kathy Gunst, coauthor of Rage Baking and resident chef for NPR’s Here and Now
“A true baker’s delight.”— Amy Traverso, Yankee magazine food editor and author of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook

Trusted cookbook author and pie expert Ken Haedrich delivers the only pie cookbook you’ll ever need: Pie Academy. Novice and experienced bakers will discover the secrets to baking a pie from scratch, with recipes, crust savvy, tips and tutorials, advice about tools and ingredients, and more. Foolproof step-by-step photos give you the confidence you need to choose and prepare the best crust for different types of fillings. Learn how to make pie dough using butter, lard, or both; how to work with all-purpose, whole-wheat, or gluten-free flour; how to roll out dough; which pie pan to use; and how to add flawless finishing details like fluting and lattice tops. Next are 255 recipes for every kind and style of pie, from classic apple pie and pumpkin pie to summer berryfruit, nut, custard, chiffon, and cream pies, freezer pies, slab pies, hand pies, turnovers, and much more. This beast of a collection, with gorgeous color photos throughout, weighs in at nearly four pounds and serves up forty years of pie wisdom in a single, satisfying package.


For Max . . .

and future generations of home bakers


The Pie Preface

Part One: Behind the Scenes

1. The Pie Maker's Tools: Pins, Pans, Pastry Blenders, and More

2. In the Pantry: Flours, Fats, and Fillings

3. How to Make a Pie: A Step-by-Step Tutorial Plus a Whole Lot More

Part Two: The Wonderful World of Pie

4. A Panoply of Pie Doughs: All the Dough You'll Ever Need

5. Berry Pies: Summer's Jewels in a Crust

6. More Summer Delights: A Profusion of Fruit Pies

7. Make Mine Apple: Variations on a Classic

8. The Other Fall Classics: Pear, Pumpkin, Cranberry, and More

9. The Notable Nut: Pecan Pie and Beyond

10. Rich, Sweet, and Simple: Chess, Buttermilk, and Other Custard Pies

11. Small Packages: Mini Pies, Turnovers, and Other Hand Pies

12. Icebox Pies: Chiffons, a Chocolate Silk, and Other Cool Pleasures

13. Cream Pies: The Dinner Classics Come Home

14. From the Freezer: Inviting Ice Cream Pies and Other Icy Treats

15. A Pie Potpourri: Brown Pies, Rice Pies, and Other Delicious Oddballs

16. The Pie Makers Pantry: Sweet Sauces, Toppings, and Meringues

Troubleshooting Guide


List of Pies by Chapter


Metric Conversion Chart

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with More Books from Storey

Share Your Experience!

The Pie Preface

So you love baking pies and are ready to explore a wider world beyond apple, pumpkin, and pecan. Or you want to learn how to bake a pie from scratch and you don't know where to begin. Or you know where to begin and do so with the best of intentions, but your pies keep throwing you curve balls. Your dough cracks and falls apart. It sticks to your counter like superglue. Your pies are too ugly to bring out in public. This and more. I feel your pain. And you've come to the right place, because I can help.

By way of introduction, I've been writing cookbooks for nearly 40 years — 15 of them, in fact, including two collections of sweet pies and one of savory pies. This book is an updated, revised, and — if I may say so — totally awesome-ized edition of my outsize book, Pie, originally published in 2004.

I caught the pie-making bug early on from my dad, a regular weekend pie maker, and my mom, his loving pie partner. Even as a young child, it was clear to me that there was special magic happening in those shared moments. Whether the pie making enhanced their relationship or their relationship brought special joy to their pie making, I could not be sure. But I was lucky to be an observer of that Sunday tradition.

When I started making my own way in the world, I naturally gravitated toward the kitchen. Somewhere along the line I started cooking for a living, writing magazine articles and cookbooks, and teaching baking classes. After a number of years of this, I woke up one day and realized I had become the de facto Dear Abby for pie makers. Home cooks from around the globe were leaving their pie baggage in my email inbox, a heavy burden of pie woe. I'd unpack it and write back, trying to help sort out their issues.

So I started a website — ThePieAcademy.com — to expand my reach, help even more home bakers, and become a cheerleader for home pie baking. I created pie-making videos and online pie courses to help and encourage folks to find contentment and achieve mastery in our chosen craft.

Offline, The Pie Academy holds pie getaways in different parts of the country where our members come to hone their skills and enjoy the community of fellow pie makers. I hope you'll join us someday.

As the "dean" of The Pie Academy I've become acutely aware of the questions and quandaries that you have or will have as a pie maker. You may be frustrated, and understandably so. We've all been told that pie making is easy — as easy as pie, right? — but I can tell you for a fact that most home cooks encounter plenty of speed bumps and fender benders on the road to pie mastery. And I have about 10,000 emails to prove it.

I field questions from pie makers who want to know whether they should use butter, lard, or vegetable shortening for their crust; how to know when they've added enough water; if they have to refrigerate the dough; why the dough always sticks or falls apart on the way to the pan; why the berry pie is runny, the apples aren't tender, or the pastry cream didn't set up; why the pie shell shrunk — and I'm just getting warmed up. You will find the answers to all those questions, and many more, in the pages that follow.

One thing you won't find here are detailed instructions on creating labor-intensive pastry still lifes, the sort of pies that become Instagram starlets. I admire anyone who has the patience and talent to turn their top crusts into geometric masterpieces and stunning artwork. I'll even confess to a smidgen of jealousy; I'm more of a stick-figure artist myself. But this is pie we're talking about, the province of home cooks, and I'm afraid these fancy pies sometimes scare more people away from pie making than they attract.

That said, you will find instructions on making decorative lattice tops, attractive crimped edges, peekaboo crusts, and a good many other pastry flourishes, plus virtually everything else you need to know to make fabulous sweet pies in every category imaginable.

There are no shortcuts to learning how to make good pie. Pie making is part science, part "feel" or baker's intuition. Recipes alone can only take you so far. Beyond that, pie making requires practice and cultivated instincts for all the little nuances. You've got to roll up your sleeves and get into the flour. The fact that you're here tells me you're ready to go down this path. You've probably had a taste of the real deal — the flaky texture of a homemade crust, the creamy goodness of a velvety custard pie, or the sweet satisfaction of a fresh peach crumb pie in August — and you're unwilling to settle for anything less.

I'm excited to join you on your pie journey; thanks for choosing me as your guide. I hope you'll be patient with yourself and enjoy the trip. Nobody learns to make great pies in a couple of weekends; I sure didn't. Don't rush toward mastery. Take your time, observe, make notes in the margins, try stuff that makes you a little nervous, and don't be afraid to make mistakes or ugly pies. Enjoy the process, have a laugh, and share everything you make. One day you'll wake up and realize you've nailed this pie thing.

If I can make one more suggestion: unless you're an experienced pie maker, don't skip part one, where I walk you through the nuances of making pie dough from scratch. This mini baking class will teach you many of the fine points of making pie dough and assembling a pie, and steer you clear of the usual obstacles. I think you'll get a lot out of it.

From there, I hope you'll dive right into the recipes and get baking. Keep me in the loop, send me an email at The Pie Academy, and let me know how you're doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

—Ken Haedrich, dean of The Pie Academy

Part OneBehind the Scenes

1The Pie Maker's Tools: Pins, Pans, Pastry Blenders, and More

Making a good pie doesn't require a lot of stuff you probably don't already have. During my first years as a pie maker, I pretty much relied on a few dinged-up old pie pans, a rolling pin I picked up on the cheap, and a pastry blender whose wires bent at the mere sight of cold butter.

But I was having so much fun I hardly noticed how challenged my tools were.

I'm not recommending that you outfit yourself with substandard gear; decent tools make the job more enjoyable and easier to accomplish. But you don't have to spend a fortune on them, either. Here are the items to put on your wish list if you don't already have them. Let's start with the big stuff.

Rolling Pins

You may have heard the urban legend about the clever cook who used a bottle of wine to roll a perfect crust one snowy night in the Tetons — or in the Adirondacks or in Brooklyn — when the cupboard was bare, save for the exact ingredients needed to make an apple pie. No doubt it happened somewhere at least once. But you can be sure that for every baker who pulled off that trick, there are a thousand others who tried, threw in the towel, and polished off the wine instead.

So you need a rolling pin, not a wine bottle, and the first thing you should know is that not all of them are created equal. There are silly ones, like the kind you fill with ice cubes that sweat all over your dough. Or flimsy ones with handles that stick into the pin like an afterthought and break off the first time you exert pressure.

I have quite a collection of pins, but if I had to narrow it down to the two I use 99 percent of the time, it would be pretty easy: an American-style pin with a 12-inch barrel and handles and a tapered, single-piece French-style pin.

The former is hefty, which allows the pin to do some of the work for you; it's not necessary to push so hard. And the barrel glides smoothly over the dough, thanks to the ball bearing design. If you're serious about making pies, this is the one to get.

The solid French-style pin is 20 inches long and especially useful when you're just starting to roll the dough and it's firm from sitting in the fridge. This pin allows you to exert direct pressure on the dough during the first phase of your rolling and work it into a pliable consistency. And the pin's taper gives you the ability to sort of "steer" the dough if it starts to get out of round.

The other advantage of the narrower pin is that it allows you to better see what you're doing when you're rolling smaller circles of dough for mini pies or hand pies.

Plan on getting both styles.

Pie Pans

I could write an entire book about pie pans — I own about 50 of them, no kidding — but I'll take mercy on you since you're here to make pie, not listen to me ramble about the nuances of the perfect pie pan. Here's the straight skinny in as few paragraphs as possible.

Pie pans come in a variety of sizes, but the most common one is 9 to 912 inches in diameter, measured from inside rim to outside rim. The "standard" ones referred to in this book are about 1 inch deep, while deep-dish pie pans are closer to 114 to 112 inches deep. (Bear in mind that those are actual sizes. The functional size, and thus the pan's capacity, is often considerably greater, taking into account that the upstanding edge of the piecrust can add an additional 12 inch of height.)

Pie pans can be made of glass, various metals, ceramic, and clay.

Glass. It's hard to beat a basic tempered-glass pie pan, like the ones made by Pyrex or Anchor Hocking. They typically cost less than 10 dollars, and I have found some real beauties in thrift stores and at yard sales for a buck or two. I'm partial to the colorful vintage Pyrex pans you find on sites like eBay.

The best Pyrex pans have a wide rim or built-out handles so you can grab the pie securely when you remove it from the oven. Unless you drop them on a hard surface, these pans are pretty indestructible.

Metal. Metal pie pans are all over the map, material-wise. I like the old-fashioned stamped-tin ones you find at flea markets and antiques shops — Table Talk is one brand. They're rugged, and I love the well-used patina. Just avoid the rusty ones.

If I had to choose my favorite metal pan, however, I'd vote for one of the 912-inch aluminized steel pie pans made by USA Pan. Their pans are tough and built to withstand years of heavy use. They have a release finish and a wafflelike bottom that help prevent pies from sticking.

Ceramic. There are all sorts of ceramic pie pans out there, and most do a great job. Many are attractive enough to bring to the table — something to consider for special-occasion pies. Two of the best brands are Le Creuset and Emile Henry. My one beef with heavy ceramic or stoneware pans is that they're often so thick that the crust doesn't brown quickly enough, resulting in a less-than-crisp bottom crust. If you're using that type of pan, you might want to start with a slightly hotter oven than usual. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) when you bake a fruit pie, then reduce the heat to 400°F (200°C) when you put the pie in the oven. That will give the bottom crust a helpful blast of heat to brown it.

Clay. If you're looking for a special, top-notch clay pan, check out the ones handmade by Tom Hess of Hess Pottery. His pans are pieces of art. All things considered, it's my favorite higher-end pie pan.

And even disposable. Finally, in the humble pie department, I used to be pretty vocal about my distaste for disposable aluminum pie pans. I called them things like "cheap" and "flimsy," but I've come around in recent years. Because I like to give pies away, I needed a way to do so without constantly worrying about getting my pans back. So I learned how to get the best out of these pans by putting the pie near the bottom of the oven, on a dark baking sheet, and leaving it there for about two-thirds of the bake. I've been amazed at how well this works.

How to Mail a Pie

Everyone loves receiving homemade cookies or brownies in the mail, so imagine the joy that a whole pie would bring. Believe it or not, it's possible to send a pie to a loved one, but you have to pick the right recipe. Firm, cookie-type pies are obvious candidates, and many nut pies also ship well. Because they're small and can be tightly wrapped, hand pies and tarts travel well, too. I've shipped small individual crumb-topped fruit pies with success, but large fruit pies with a pastry top crust don't hold up too well.

Follow these tips for successful pie packaging.

  • Use a disposable aluminum pie pan, for obvious reasons. These pans can be a little tricky to remove from the oven, so lift the forward edge of the pie with a metal spatula. As you do, quickly slide a rimless cookie sheet under the pie. Swap the spatula for a potholder and steady the pie while you slide the sheet all the way under the pie.
  • Freeze the pie overnight.
  • Wrap it well in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and pack it in a sturdy, well-padded box. Write FRAGILE and PERISHABLE about 100 times all over the box.
  • Use one of the faster forms of delivery so the package arrives in 2 or 3 days and be extra nice to the postal clerk when you mail it.

Pies That Handle Shipping Well

Pastry Blender and Fork

A pastry blender is used to literally cut the fat into the dry ingredients. It's basically just a grip handle with blunted, curved blades or wires. You simply grasp the handle and push the wires or blades repeatedly into the dry mixture.

Over the years, I've seen a variety of pastry blenders come along with a new bell or whistle or the promise of making the process go faster and smoother. There's one with a little doohickey that you slide back and forth to push the pastry mixture through the blades as it builds up, and others with extrabeefy grips, fat blades, or a little platform for your thumb, for better leverage.

I've tried them all, and the one I still like best is simple and lightweight, with a grippy handle and curved wires that get the job done. I know some old-school pie makers who like to use two knives — you wield them like scissors, crisscross fashion, to cut in the fat — but I never could get the hang of that method.

A pastry or blending fork is the perfect tool for mixing pie dough by hand. It rakes through the mixture and redistributes the moisture, whereas a big spoon just shovels everything around. I must reach for this thing half a dozen times a day, using it for everything from making an omelet to carving meat to mixing up veggie burgers.

Something about the blending fork, made by Endurance, works beautifully for pastry. Perhaps it's the larger grip, the width of and spacing between the tines, or the graceful arc of the business end. I haven't found anything else that's half as good for the job, but you can certainly use any large fork.

Food Processor

Not everyone is as big a fan of the food processor for mixing up pie dough as I am. Detractors will tell you that it doesn't make as flaky of a crust as hand mixing, which is a bunch of hooey, or that you can overmix the dough, which is true, but overall it has been a boon for home pie bakers. Using the machine speeds up the mixing of dough quite a bit, no small consideration for someone who makes a lot of pies. For those who have arthritis or limited hand and arm mobility, it does much of the hard mixing work for you.

The caveat, as mentioned, is that it's easy to mix the dough too much and overwork it, resulting in a less tender crust. But if you pay close attention as you mix, you'll do just fine.

What Size?

I occasionally take flack for saying this, but even though you'll find recipes here for double-crust processor doughs, I would rather use the processor to make two single-crust recipes than mix a double batch. Why? Because you still get better results with a smaller, single-crust batch of dough than you would even using a large food processor — say, one with a 12- to 14-cup capacity. Larger batches of dough tend to compact in the machine and get cramped, so the dough is not as evenly mixed. Smaller batches don't have that problem.

That said, I know some cooks prefer mixing a double-crust batch all at once to save a little time, so most of the doughs in the crust section have double-crust versions. In any event, the minimum-size food processor I recommend for pie dough is 10 cups, but I prefer one in the 12- to 14-cup range.

Nearly all food processors come with a plastic "dough blade." Though it sounds like you could, don't use this blade to make pie dough. You probably won't even use it for mixing bread dough, its actual purpose, because the metal blade does a better job.

It's worth mentioning that if you don't already own one, you should do some serious research before you plunk down good money for a new food processor. They aren't cheap, and it's easy to under- or overbuy for your particular needs. If you plan to use it for bread dough as well as pie dough, you definitely want all the capacity and power you can get. If you're still not sure which one is best for you, buy one that offers a little more oomph and versatility than you think you need. It's better to have a machine you can grow into than to be stuck with one that turns out to be inadequate.

Electric Mixers

Even though I'm partial to the food processor, a stand mixer is a perfectly good tool for mixing pie dough. A good stand mixer (KitchenAid is nearly synonymous with the term) is an almost indispensable tool for anyone who likes to bake. It frees up your hands so you can take care of other tasks, and it's all but required for making the Swiss Meringue that people love on cream pies. I've had my own KitchenAid mixer for more than 30 years. It's gotten a bit noisy in its old age, but it shows no signs of slowing down. When I finally do replace it, I'll get one with a tilting head instead of the type with a bowl that is raised and lowered with a hand crank.

There are many small pie-related jobs (blending fillings or beating a few egg whites) that can be done quickly and don't require the power of a stand mixer, and for those occasions I use a basic electric handheld mixer.

Other Necessities and Niceties

Measuring cups.


  • “Fear of pie? Ken Haedrich to the rescue. His gorgeous book Pie Academy takes you through everything pie related — perfect crusts, fillings, crimping techniques, blind baking, lattice toppings and more. Roll up your sleeves, roll out the dough, and get baking. You are in good hands with Pie Academy.” — Kathy Gunst, coauthor of Rage Baking and resident chef for NPR’s Here and Now

    “Reading Ken Haedrich never fails to make me want to run to the kitchen and bake. He has a gift for clearly and patiently explaining the basics, then leading you down a happy trail of variations, new inventions, and delightful departures. The cherry pie section alone has me pining for summer, but then I see what he does with apples, pumpkin, and pecans, and I can’t wait for fall. A true baker’s delight.” — Amy Traverso, Yankee magazine food editor and author of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook

    "Haedrich, founder of the The Pie Academy website, delivers a substantial and highly informative volume on the popular dessert. Writing in a conversational tone, he provides detailed instructions for each aspect of pie making and includes suggestions for acquiring basic equipment (“My one beef with heavy ceramic or stoneware pans is that they’re often so thick that the crust doesn’t brown quickly enough”) and troubleshooting techniques (“Don’t roll toward yourself. That’s awkward,” he suggests to bakers who can’t keep dough round when they roll). There are also plenty of photographs to help readers become acquainted with essential pie-making steps, such as fluting the crust, blind baking the crust, and creating a lattice pattern. This recipe collection is bound to please bakers of all tastes with its impressive number of pie crust variations, such as flaky cream cheese, cornmeal, and a simple press-in crust. The bountiful assortment of fillings includes cherry-vanilla, maple custard, and kahlua fudge brownie. Readers will appreciate pie variations for specific fruits, such as apple: caramel apple slab pie with melted butter crumb topping, apple butter pie, and buttermilk pie with fried apple rings. This is an excellent resource for home bakers looking to up their pie game." — Publisher's Weekly, starred review

    "Award-winning cookbook author Haedrich, creator of the popular online resource and baking community Pie Academy, here presents much of the extensive content from that site in cookbook form, showcasing 25 different crust recipes and 255 fillings for creations ranging from summer fruit pies and custard tarts to slab pies and traditional holiday classics. Less experienced bakers will appreciate the detailed step-by-step photographs and instructions in the introductory chapter, while seasoned pie makers will find dozens of expert tips and tricks for perfecting their practice. Haedrich admits that there are no shortcuts to creating the perfect pie, maintaining that practice and experience are key. Yet, he strives to simplify the process through recipes and instructions that omit weight measurements in favor of more familiar cups and spoons, offering a range of techniques for perfect pie dough, including hand blending and food processing. VERDICT The wide-ranging, well-curated mix of classic and contemporary recipes and expert advice make this an essential primer for avid home bakers." — Library Journal, starred review

    "Readers will find everything they'd ever want to know about making pie, and even the dough-fearful will feel ready to measure, roll, and cut. Plentiful sidebars advise on everything from how to mail a pie (freeze it first) and determine the freshness of spices (try the sniff test) to the making of winter squash/pumpkin puree and baking strategies for the holidays. The heart of Haedrich's all-encompassing tome, though, is piemaking itself. Captioned step-by-step color photographs, from measuring the fat to venting and glazing, and a myriad of dough recipes (pretzel, Oreo crumb) ensure that the baked shell is more than receptive to fillings. Categories include berries and fruit, apple (in its own chapter), fall classics (pear, pumpkin, cranberry), nut, rich and sweet (such as chess pie), icebox, cream, and more. Readers will find all the usuals, plus the unique: rice and ricotta, sweet summer corn, lime margarita, trail mix peanut butter; in short, almost any filling that eaters hanker for. A troubleshooting guide at the end will reassure novice bakers. A pie for any season and any reason." — Booklist, starred review

On Sale
Oct 27, 2020
Page Count
480 pages

Ken Haedrich

About the Author

Ken Haedrich is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including Pie Academy, The Harvest Baker, Maple Syrup Cookbook, and Home for the Holidays, a winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award. Founder and “dean” of The Pie Academy, Haedrich is one of America’s most respected food writers and a recognized authority on baking — pies, in particular. His articles have appeared in many publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, and Bon Appétit. He can be found online at thepieacademy.com.


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