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

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

I love Key Lime Pie and seek it out whenever I can. I’m always slightly disappointed when a restaurant doesn’t have one on the menu. I’ve had good versions and less good versions, but the contrast of creaminess and tartness (as close to sour as I can get) is so satisfying to me that I forgive even the poor versions. I try to push that balance to the edge, by adding as much freshly squeezed key lime juice to a super creamy base and THEN top the whole thing with a layer of key lime curd and a pile of whipped cream. 

This week I finished and sent in my very first solo book manuscript. Despite having written 7 books on bread with my co-author, Jeff, this was a monumental moment for me. I had it in my mind that the first thing, non-book related, that I would bake was going to be a Key Lime Pie. Here it is and it’s the perfect, albeit humble, way to celebrate this milestone of a new adventure in my career. No matter the occasion, this is a terrific pie. Read More

Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Purple Sweet Potato Pie | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

Purple Sweet Potato Pie with a mound of an Italian meringue inspired by Esther Williams (anyone younger than me will have to google her). I was gifted a box of super fun produce by my friend Chadwick Boyd and in the selection from Frieda’s were a pair of bright purple sweet potato. I knew immediately that they would be pie. With Thanksgiving just a couple days away, how could my mind go anywhere else with such a fun bounty. The real surprise came with the topping. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows has been a regular on many Thanksgiving tables, so it seemed natural to pile on meringue and toast it like a marshmallow (a pile of whipped cream would be super tasty too). What I hadn’t planned on was the color. I had reserved the bright purple cooking water after boiling the potatoes, because it was just too pretty to throw away. I typically use a Swiss meringue on a pie, but the Italian version requires making a syrup of sugar and water, which meant I could use my potato water (BOOM, that’s how I’d tint my meringue purple). I had visions of a lavender colored cloud sitting on top of the pie, but when I added the boiling purple syrup to the spinning egg whites it turned bright, bright, bright blue. I’m not entirely sure why, but some chemical reaction in that bowl changed my vision for this pie. I was faced with a bowl of super soft, BLUE meringue and I went for it. I piled it on and then used a star tip to create the swimming cap of a topping (did you look up Esther Williams yet?)

Purple Sweet Potato Pie | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

You can see the potatoes and meringue come together in my instagram video. Recipe below:

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Apple Almond Galette

Apple Almond Galette | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

Fall was always my favorite time of year when I was growing up in Vermont. The leaves turned into jewels hanging on the trees and that meant apple season was in full throttle. The warm apple sauce, cider doughnuts, apple butter, and apple pies were all plentiful and made the chilling nights tolerable. To this day apple pie is my ultimate comfort food, I think it’s essential for the soul. This Apple Almond Galette is just an apple pie without the plate or a top crust. So, it’s even easier than pie to make and I think just as beautiful in a fruit forward, rustic way. It seemed the exact right dessert to make when JK Adams sent me a dreamy baker’s package with a rolling pin, pastry board and walnut Lazy Susan. All made by craftspeople in Dorset, Vermont. I’ve admittedly had a certain nostalgia for all things Vermont ever since I moved to the Midwest. There is something fundamentally stalwart about that state and the handmade products (and food) that are made there. JK Adam’s obsession with quality and sustainability speak to me in a profound way and why they have a lifetime guarantee on everything they make. Most importantly their products just feel good in my hands, which is key to baking wonderful desserts. 

You can watch me make this Apple Almond Galette in my Instagram Video and here is the recipe: 

Apple Almond Galette | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François Read More

French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie | ZoeBakes Photo by Zoë François

When I moved to Minneapolis from Vermont, I hadn’t expected to experience culture shock. I was raised mostly in New England with stints in Northern California. Somehow, those places, as far from each other as they can get on a map, are more alike than the vast land in the middle. I understood the food of the coasts, including the pie, dominated by apple and pumpkin or even lemon meringue. But, the Midwest has a pie culture all its own. I first learned of French Silk Pie in the 1990s from a local Minneapolis newspaper’s people choice award. Every year Bakers’ Square would win “best dessert” in Minneapolis with their French Silk Pie. I was painfully aware of this because I was baking my heart out at a local restaurant and despite all my efforts, I could never touch this pie’s popularity. I did finally taste one, and IMHO, it was sweet and lacking in any real chocolate flavor, but the texture was certainly worthy of the name. Out of spite (I was young and sillier then), I never served a French Silk Pie in any restaurant I worked at and honestly, this is the VERY first one I have ever baked. It comes from the beautiful new baking book, Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland, by Shauna Sever. Not only did Shauna change my heart about this pie, but has taught me so much about the culture of baking in my own backyard. This pie is everything people loved about the one from Bakers’ Square, but is all about the deep chocolate flavor. Be sure to use a high quality, bitter chocolate (70-75% cacao) or the pie can get very sweet, FAST! In her book the pie is topped with a homemade Cool Whip, which is 100% in keeping with the traditional pie. I left the cream unstabilized and unsweetened, because I like the contrast of the sweet filling to the clean, rich cream on top, you choose which way to go, I offer both ways below. This recipe uses raw eggs, which doesn’t bother Shauna or me in the least, but if you are at all worried about eating raw egg, then buy pasteurized ones. 

You can watch me make Shauna’s pie in my instagram video and she graciously shared the recipe, which is below.

French Silk Pie | ZoeBakes Photo by Zoë François Read More

Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

Banana Cream Pie is a classic and one I don’t visit nearly enough. I had a craving for it and decided to bring it, along with a couple of galettes to a summer party. I figured I would be left alone in the corner with my pie and the rest of the guests would enjoy the colorful and fruity galettes. The Banana Cream Pie emerged from the kitchen and I think one of the guests actually started clapping and exclaimed something to the effect of “this party was great, but it just went to the next level!” and he threw his hands in the air. It turns out I’d recreated his favorite and he wasn’t alone. It’s funny how these rather retro American desserts, like the Banana Cream Pie and Baked Alaska bring back memories of grandmothers and childhoods. I am happy to report that this version did not disappoint and I sent the last piece home with the man who cheered for Banana Cream Pie, which is why I have no pictures of the slice. 😉 You’ll just have to make one to see how beautifully it cuts and how fantastic it tastes. 

You can watch me make the pie in my instagram video and recipe below. Read More