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Book review: The Pie Room by Calum Franklin

24 September 2020 by
Book review: The Pie Room by Calum Franklin

Calum Franklin, the Michelangelo of pastry, has written one of the most highly anticipated cookery books of the year in The Pie Room.

Franklin's beautifully crafted creations have earned the chef legions of fans and a huge slice of social media followers, not to mention a Catey award, since the 2018 opening of the Pie Room in the Holborn Dining Room at the Rosewood London, where he is executive chef.

In the book of the same name, he tells how the discovery of an antique pie tin in the basement of the restaurant ignited his interest, sending him down a rabbit hole of pastry moulds, crimping and lattice work.

In the promotional material for the book's publication, Franklin describes himself as a ‘self-confessed pastry deviant'. He's certainly a highly entertaining obsessive, and this book is all the better for it. His abundance of knowledge and easy manner combine in contagious enthusiasm, and if that doesn't draw you in, the stunning photography throughout will.

Before the chef gets to sharing his recipes, he works his way through careful explanations of basic and not-so-basic techniques, everything from egg washing and rolling pastry to delicate methods of decoration.

In both the introductions and methods what comes across is that Franklin has done the leg work. He predicts challenges, offers tips and doesn't just tell you that his sausage roll recipe is the ‘ultimate' one, but explains why it is (it lies in the ratio of meat to pastry).

The creations featured within the pages of the book include classics, from sausage rolls, pork pies and vol-au-vents to vegetarian lattices and suet puddings. Also featured are the dishes that have made Franklin famous in the restaurant world and on social media, including his cheesy dauphinoise and caramelised onion pie and an epic two-day beef wellington, as well as a selection featuring fish and shellfish and a number of desserts – all beautifully presented.

On the front of this book is a testimonial from Jamie Oliver, who writes ‘Calum is the Pie King'. Long may he reign.

The Pie Room, by Calum Franklin (Bloomsbury, £26)

Chef masterclass: pâté en croûte by Calum Franklin >>

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