Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Norske Nook Book of Pies, a Review

Pie lovers rejoice!  You are about to enter a world of wonder and magic, via the soon-to-be-published gem of a book, The Norske Nook Book of Pies. If you, as was I, are unfamiliar withThe Norske Nook, you'll soon be booking passage. The Norske Nook, founded in 1973 as a small town cafĂ©, has now blossomed into a quartet of revered pie shrines located in Osseo, Eau Claire, Hayward, and Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Now internationally famous, The Nook, with roots in Scandinavia, is known for their tradition of good Midwest cooking and the use of fine ingredients. They are also known for their pies. Lots and lots of pies. Pies for which they have won 36 blue ribbons at the National Pie Championship. In addition to (are you sitting down) more than seventy recipes for pie, this book also features recipes for the restaurant's other sumptuous treats, including cheesecakes, tortes, cookies, muffins, along with Scandinavian specialties such as Almond Cake, Krumkaka, Flat Bread, and Rosettes.
The book is divided into sections according to the type of pie, making it easy for you to find exactly what you're looking for: Berry Pies (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry), Meringue Pies (coconut, rhubarb cream), Frozen Pies (Northwoods Root Beer Float, Orange Dream), Candy Pies (Butterfinger, Snickers), Single- (Pecan Stout)  and Double-Crust Pies (Caramel Apple, Norwegian Berry), etc. There is also a section on crusts, another on toppings, and another that I really appreciated, on Sugar-Free pies.
This book is a winner. Not only is it visually appealing, but the pies are unique, varied, and darned impressive. I made the Butterscotch Pie (photo above); the filling was superb, and I had enough left over to fill two half cup ramekins to have another night for dessert. I also made the Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie, and the Pecan Fudge Pie. Each recipe was easy to follow and resulted in a beautiful and delicious pie.
Despite for my love of the book, I do have a couple of issues. The first is with the excessive use of Cool Whip (
frozen whipped topping) in many (about half) of the recipes, eliminating them from my testing. I am not a fan of Cool Whip and never use it. Not everyone has the sensitive taste buds that I do, but for those who are extreme tasters, the chemical taste of this is always evident and ruins dishes for me. For the butterscotch pie, I was lucky enough that the called for Cool Whip was a topping and not an ingredient, so I substituted whipped cream.
Another issue is the incomplete information in the recipes. I am convinced that editors who edit cookbooks are not cooks and check only for content and not for logic. I want to know (as do, presumably, all cooks) the size of pans to be used, the amount of time things are to be cooked, and what to look for visually during the process. In the case of the butterscotch pie, there was no indication as to the size of the saucepan to use. Anything short of a 3-quart pan is going to cause disaster and lead to the loss of ingredients. It also wold have been helpful had the instructions listed cooking times so one knows what to expect time-wise, and what to look for in the thickness of the custard.

In short, this book is more for the seasoned cook than newcomer, but provides plenty of inspiration and eye candy for any pie lover, not to mention the inspiration to experiment and learn.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

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La Table De Nana said...

It looks great..I agree with you and Cool Whip..Blech:)

Linda said...

This book is quite pricey on Amazon - do you recommend it? Have you read their "Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook"?
(I am looking at your recipes for blackberry sauce, and this post came up in the search results.)