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

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. 

Start with a Blow Torch! It is a super fun and exciting tool that I use as often as I possibly can. It is great for toasting meringue, marshmallows and the sugar crust on creme brûlée. 

A pretty Pie Dish is super useful and makes it more likely your loved one will bake you a pie! 

Below are a few photos of the staples, but check out my full list here. 

A solid, heavy duty rolling pin will get used constantly, especially for the pie lovers and anyone who likes cinnamon buns. There is no right or wrong shape, but what is most comfortable to use. The rolling pins with handles are easier to use if you are rolling lots of stiff dough, but the French or Dowel pins allow you to have a better feel for the dough. I use the French (tapered dowel) and handled pins most often. Full selection here.

Rubber spatulas and bench scrapers are essential. If someone is just setting up kitchen these are the perfect gifts, since they are used constantly and super utilitarian. When you check out my full baking equipment list, you’ll find several sizes and brands that I use constantly.

Straight sided cake pans are maybe my most essential baking equipment. Sturdy and deep is how I like my cake pans.

Bread baking equipment and knives are perfect for those who are getting into baking their first loaf or playing with a 100 year old starter. You can get by with just a few things to bake a great loaf of bread or you can take it to the next level. Find more Bread baking equipment.

Bundt pans are a super fun and useful pan. Maybe my favorite cakes to bake, since a simple cake can look so spectacular. find them here: Baking Equipment

Cook books! There are so many to choose from and I have a list of all the books I have baked from recently and for decades. There are also a bunch that I wrote (like this one). 

 

This rolling rack, which is used to store my hot baking trays as they come out of the oven and where I can store baked goods, so they don’t clutter my counter is for the serious baker who is taking over the whole kitchen with all their baked goods. It’s a good thing! You’ll find everything from this rolling rack to my camera equipment in my Baking Equipment List! 

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

Chocolate Bundt with White Chocolate-Raspberry Cream

Chocolate Bundt Cake with White Chocolate-Raspberry Cream | Photo by Zoë François

This Brilliant Bundt Pan is my recent favorite piece of kitchen equipment. It is so elegant and fun. A simple cake baked in it really is worthy of standing alone on a pedestal. However, I decided to gild the lily and add white chocolate raspberry cream to the inside. It is a perfect party cake (Mother’s Day is coming up or just a Tuesday will do). To create this, you’ll want a cake that has a bit of body to it, so I picked a chocolate cake that was developed especially for the bundt pan from the trusted folks at Bake from Scratch. Then I wanted something creamy and bright in the middle. Adding white chocolate to whipped cream will stabilize it and allow it to keep it’s shape when cut into slices. To get the flavor of raspberries, without adding a ton of extra liquid to the cream was a challenge, but I think I found a pretty clever solution.

You can watch me make this chocolate bundt cake in my Instagram stories. It really is a fun format for me to create instructional videos and I hope you’ll join instagram to see them, if you haven’t already. I’m not sure you can view the older videos, that live in my highlight archives from a computer, you may have to do that from your phone. I am trying to figure out how to convert the videos to Youtube, but haven’t found a graceful way to do that yet. I will let you know as soon as I do. So much technology, so little time. Read More