Ten years ago, a mutual friend introduced Paul Arguin to Chris Taylor, thinking they’d make a good match. Upon discovering they both loved to bake, the two doctors mapped out a date. Since they lived in different cities — Arguin in Atlanta, and Taylor in Pittsburgh — they decided that they would bake a recipe from their copies of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “The Cake Bible” while getting acquainted on the phone.
They talked their way through every step of an over-the-top Bavarian bombe covered with jellyroll slices, “disconnecting only when the whirs of our stand mixers were too loud for conversation.”
That experiment, they explain in the introduction to their new cookbook, “typified what would come to be our shared baking style — bold, unafraid to try something new, and often untraditional.” Now married, the couple continues to push the boundaries of that style in their Atlanta kitchen, and in baking contests across the U.S. They’ve won hundreds of awards, including the 2017 National Pie Championships title that landed them a splashy story in the New York Times, and then a book deal.
In “The New Pie: Modern techniques for the classic American dessert” (Potter, $30), they lay out their scientifically precise formulas for success, each depicted in eye-popping detail by Atlanta photographer Andrew Thomas Lee — from the Toffee Cream with Crunch modeled after a Kit Kat candy bar, to the 6151 Richmond inspired by episodes of “The Golden Girls” involving cheesecake. Sitting in my fridge now is Thai Iced Tea Pie, an exotically spiced pudding in a perfectly crisp crust crowned with “ice cubes” made of whipped cream — not as jaw-dropping as the photo, but definitely a showstopper by my standards.
Some of the recipes call for ingredients you may need to order online (xanthan gum, popping sugar) or tools you may not have (airbrush gun, immersion circulator). Degree of difficulty varies, but most will require more planning than for a standard pecan pie. The more you delve into these tantalizing pages, the more likely you’ll be convinced that your efforts will be rewarded — with high praise from guests, or maybe even a blue ribbon.
Cook the Book: The New Pie. Arguin and Taylor will demonstrate some of their favorite recipes from The New Pie and share their secrets for making their creations.
2 p.m. April 28. $79, which includes a copy of the book. Cook’s Warehouse, 1544 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-815-4993, cookswarehouse.com/cooking-classes
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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