Rhubarb Pie – The Joy of Watching my Son Bake

Rhubarb Pie with Lattice Crust Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Today my oldest son graduated from 8th Grade. It struck me yesterday as no biggie, just another last day of school. Today, I find myself thinking about him in a new way. He’s not a small child anymore. This was made clear when I saw him accepting his 8th grade diploma and he was taller than all of his teachers. What, when did that happen? He’s a high schooler now, and that is just plain crazy. Up until this moment, he was still my little boy, just barely able to function on his own. Today I am faced with the fact that he is charging toward manhood at a dizzying pace. I’m trying to be ready, but really I’m not sure yet. The up-side to this realization is that now I’ll have him do more laundry, cleaning, cooking and all the things we adults live for.

Yesterday, when he was still a little boy in my mind (oh, who am I kidding, he’ll always be my little boy) we baked a rhubarb pie together. It was a gift, made even sweeter by the events that followed today. He made the dough, a filling of rhubarb and cherries and he created the lattice. I sat back, trying not to take over, and just watched in amazement as he figured it all out. It was a thing of beauty to see him moving so confidently in the kitchen and the pie, well you can see for yourself, the kid has skill. I was in heaven. Today I am a mess of emotions and I’m so happy to have a piece of his rhubarb pie to make me smile.

Happy Graduation to all you seniors and 8th graders!

Do you have pie questions or need to troubleshoot your recipe? Check out my guide on how to make pie crust. Read More

Apple Galette – Pie without a Dish

apple galette

This is a rustic French tart with a rather fanciful name, galette, but at the end of the day it is just a pie without a plate. It is simple to make and imperfection is part of its old world charm. No fancy fluting or lattice top crust to worry about and yet the flavor is just as wonderful. A galette can be made with any filling, but right now the apples are abundant and calling me. Since there are so many varieties of apples available, I like to use a few to create the filling. Some will turn to sauce (McIntosh), some will keep their shape (Prairie Spy), others will be sweet (HoneyCrisp) and some will be tart (Haralson). You can mix and match to suit your mood. The crust should be tender and flaky and just barely strong enough to hold up to the apples. It adds to the drama if some of the juices escape, which is why we bake on a sided baking sheet. Read More

How-to Videos: Easy Pie Dough and Double Crusted Apple Pie

apple-pie

Today is national Pie Day according the National Pie Council, so there is no better time to perfect our crust.

Pie dough is one of those things that once you master it, your life in the kitchen is a happier place. It frees you to make fruit pies, quiche, potpies and anything else, sweet or savory that requires a crust. But, mastering the dough is not always as easy as one would hope. In my first video I’ll show you how I create a tender and flaky crust that make pies delicious, no matter the filling. Then, I follow up with a video on how to successfully roll out, fill, top and decorate a double crusted apple pie. With these videos I hope you’ll be making pie with confidence. Read More

apple-pie

The Best Apple Pie (now with videos)

One of the glorious issues of a 20-year marriage is the honesty, brutal, albeit “loving,” honesty. Here’s the thing, Graham has never been head-over-heels-in-love with my pies. He always loves bits and pieces of them, but never the entire pie. Can you imagine what that does to a girl who prides herself on figuring out all things sugary. Believe me when I say that I have been on a 20-year mission to create THE perfect pie. Not just a great crust, or filling, but the entire package. Well, I can breathe a sigh of relief, and have a moment of marital bliss … because, he declared this apple pie “the best pie I have EVER eaten.” You can not know how important this day has been for me, as a professional pastry chef, as a wife and as a perfectionist. Challenge met.

The keys to my winning apple pie were the apples, I used 6 different varieties, because it is apple season in MN and there are so many gorgeous apples to choose from. They all have different flavors, textures and colors. I like to mix them to create a more interesting pie, although I think you can get a very good result with just two kinds. Then there is the crust, which was made with 100% LARD. Yep, unless you are vegetarian, you really need to try it. I am madly in love with lard. It requires a slightly gentle touch, but follow my directions and it will be tender, flaky and delicious!

Do you have pie questions or need to troubleshoot your recipe? Check out my guide on how to make pie crust.

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Berry Cobbler with Cheddar Biscuits

 Berry cobbler | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I have to admit this recipe was an accident, a happy one, but a mistake nonetheless. I was going to post on shortcakes, with balsamic roasted strawberries. I was mixing up the biscuits and got distracted, probably by something I read on Twitter. I added way too much buttermilk to the dough and they were no longer useful as biscuits. How disappointing to have a recipe in mind and then blow it.

These weren’t just any biscuits, they were made with cheddar cheese, so they would have a slight sharpness to them, which I find a perfect compliment to the sweet berry filling. What to do? There was no way I was tossing these beauties, but they were too soft to work with in the traditional way. Then it hit me, COBBLER.

All the same ingredients, but baked together at one time, even better. I added blueberries, fresh ginger and lemon zest to the strawberries and topped it with my sticky biscuit dough. Thanks to my inability to focus yesterday, I have a new favorite dessert! Read More

Sugar Plum Pie with a Folded Flaky Crust

Sugar plum pie | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I know I promised a tour of the spice market in Istanbul, but I had to show you the plum pie I made for my stepmother’s birthday first. When I returned home after a month away my refrigerator was bare, nothing but a jar of capers and a bottle of sriracha sauce. After shopping in Europe, the grocery stores here in MN seemed obscene with selection. The produce isle was filled with every fruit and veggie you could ever want, despite the fact that many of them wouldn’t be in season for months. It was both overwhelming and a bit thrilling to have all this at my fingertips. I’d been eating juicy plums and peaches in Italy and had decided to make my stepmother a pie with them for her birthday. They were perhaps a little firm, but they looked and smelled gorgeous. Because it was a special occasion I cooked the plums in champagne and vanilla. I made a tender crust and folded it a few times to add some flaky layers. This is my kind of birthday pie!

Do you have pie questions or need to troubleshoot your recipe? Check out my guide on how to make pie crust.

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