Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin

Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin is a modern take on a French classic dessert. Apples baked in buttery caramel, until the apple absorbs the caramel and turn amber. The original dessert is rustic and beautifully humble, just apples cut, placed in a pan with caramel, then baked with the curst on top and inverted. Not much to look at, but one of the most revered desserts for the rich caramelized apples and flaky pastry. On instagram I saw a version that was so elegant, but still looked equally as delicious. Perfect spirals of apples, baked in caramel and turned out onto puff pastry. HOW did they get those even continuous slices of apples. I have most pastry equipment available to home bakers, but nothing in my pantry could create this shape. A little sleuthing and I found it, my new favorite kitchen tool. 

You can see me create this tart in my Instagram video and watch the apple slicer create the delicate ribbons. 

Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François Read More

My Favorite Baking Equipment

‘Tis the baking season and time to give gifts to your loved ones who bake pie, cake, bread, cookies and so much more. I’ve had lots of questions about my favorite baking equipment and what to get the bakers in your life. You can always find the list of what I am using in my kitchen in my “Shop” tab at the top of my website. I only post the products that I actually use and love. You’ll find a link my beloved torch below. 

I’m also including some gift ideas from small businesses I love. Enjoy!

Gift Ideas from Small Businesses

The Wreath of Joy by Joy Summers

The Wreath of Joy – You can DM your orders to Como Harriet Design on Instagram to get one-of-a-kind bespoke silk flower wreaths made by my good friend, Joy Summers.

Zoë François wearing Silk Oak Designs necklace

Silk Oak Designs – My Mom’s leather and stone handmade necklaces can be worn as chokers (as I prefer in the kitchen) or as looser single and double strands. Visit her site to get more ideas and see the selections of designs. They’ve become the only jewelry I wear and each piece tells a story. Read More

Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust

Lacy Apple Pie with Whole Wheat Lattice Crust \ ZoeBakes photo by Zoë Francois

I made this Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust to celebrate the milestone of having 200k amazing followers on Instagram. It’s not just any pie, but a lacy lattice pie. It looks super fancy, but really it’s simple to make with the right tools. As a THANK YOU to everyone who has made Instagram such a remarkably fun and inspirational place to spend my time (Yes, I’m talking to you!), I teamed up with Emile Henry and JK Adams to do a Lacy Pie tool GIVEAWAY.

Lacy Apple Pie with Whole Wheat Lattice Crust \ ZoeBakes photo by Zoë Francois

You can win the GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE of the tools I used to make this Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust: 

  1. A JK Adams Ultimate Pastry Board to make rolling your dough even easier (from JK Adams)
  2. A Stenciled Rolling Pin to make the dough lacy and extra festive (Mood Wood from JK Adams)
  3. An Emile Henry Pie Dish which is as beautiful as it is functional (from Emile Henry)
  4. A Vermont Marble Pie Server, so getting it to the plate is just as spectacular (from JK Adams)

PLUS: I will also be picking FIVE additional WINNERS who will get Emile Henry Pie Dish

You need to enter on my @zoebakes Instagram account since this is a celebration of my time there. If you are not already on Instagram, I highly encourage you to join us there, since I share videos and my favorite pastry inspiration on that platform. 

Recipe follows: Read More

Blackberry Opera Torte (Diva Cake)

Blackberry Opera Torte (Diva Cake) | ZoeBakes photos by Zoë François

I set out to bake a traditional Opera Torte, but I ended up getting distracted and took off in an entirely different flavor direction. In the end I created this Blackberry Opera Torte ( which I have named the Diva Cake). It has way more layers than a traditional opera torte, which is not a bad thing at all. Instead of coffee soaked Joconde ( almond sponge cake) and coffee buttercream, this one uses blackberry preserves to flavor the buttercream and then has a layer of fresh berries separating the cake from the spiky meringue. Those fresh berries turned out to be a brilliant layer of protection from the flamethrower I used to toast the meringue. Oh, that is no joke. I got ahold of one of Elon Musk’s Boring Company Flamethrowers and had a blast (see what I did there) torching the top of the cake. You can use a regular kitchen torch to get the job done too. You can watch me make the cake and wild a flamethrower in my instagram video.

Blackberry Opera Torte (Diva Cake) | ZoeBakes photos by Zoë François Read More

Strawberry Charlotte Royale

Strawberry Charlotte Royale | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

The truth is the last time I made a Strawberry Charlotte Royale was in culinary school and that was a very long time ago. I have been meaning to make one, but just never got around to it. Then I bought a copy of Soulful Baker, by one of my favorite bakers, Julie Jones, and she had the most beautiful Charlotte Royale in the book. I took it as a sign that I needed to make this regal (it’s in the name) dessert. Julie was my muse, but being incapable of leaving things well enough alone, I wanted to make the filling in two separate flavors. I made a Grand Marnier Bavarian Cream and then added Strawberry coulis to it for the second layer. It’s not quite as simple as a banana bread, so I’ve made a video on instagram to walk you through the process. The steps are not at all difficult, but they do require a bit of planning and some timing. Read More

Canelés de Bordeaux

caneles 1(9 of 7)

These fluted confections are the official dessert of the Bordeaux region of France. The interior of these canelés is like a lovely, creamy custard that is rich with both vanilla and rum. The trick to success, IMHO, with making canelés is using Copper Molds lined with beeswax and butter. That’s how you get the luxurious color, shine and crisp shell. You can also use silicone molds, which don’t achieve quite the same texture, but are still excellent and totally worth making. Not to mention much less expensive and easier to find. The latest batch I made, which you can see in my instagram stories, was from  The Fearless Baker by Erin Jeanne McDowell. Erin is a trained pastry chef and her recipes represent her knowledge and love for the craft. A cookbook should be lovely and inspiring, but the recipes need to work to gain my respect. She has delivered all of it and it brings me great joy to see someone elevating the art of pastry as she does.

The crêpe-like batter is super simple to make, but the batter requires a day of rest, before baking, so plan ahead. The outcome is delicious and sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for.  Read More