Applesauce Galette

Apple Sauce Galette | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

The Applesauce Galette is the comfy-jeans and T-shirt of the pie and tart world. It’s all the flavor of a pie’s great crust and fruit filling, but is rustic and stylishly unkept in its presentation.

I went the extra mile to fan out the sliced apples, but you can just pile them on if you want to take your applesauce galette to even greater shabby-chic heights.

I started by making a very simple applesauce, which is nothing more than apples, a few spices and a spoon full of honey. I spread a layer of the applesauce on a pie dough, covered it in sliced apple, folded up the crust and finished it with lemon sugar. Nothing could be easier and it is one of my all time favorite desserts. Add vanilla ice cream and really, in my mind, it is perfection.

In other big news … you can now find all of the equipment I use in my posts on my ZoeBakes Amazon Store.

Apple Sauce Galette | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François
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Perfect Peach Pie with Lattice Crust

peach pie with lattice crust on ZoeBakes. Photo by Zoe Francois

When the peach season is a good one—and this year it is spectacular—it is best to keep peach pie simple. There is nothing more beautiful than a perfectly ripe, juicy, smooth, sweet peach, so don’t fuss it all up with too much extra stuff. This perfect peach pie with lattice crust is really just peaches, a touch of booze, which is optional and some raw sugar (use brown sugar if you don’t stock raw). The trick is binding the peaches enough to keep them together in a neat slice, without adding so much starch that is gets gloppy. This is an art, rather than a science (that’s only partially true), because each batch of peaches produces a different amount of juice. I tend to go on the under-bound edge of the spectrum, so keep that in mind when you are making your filling.

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Pavlova

This ethereal crown of meringue, filled with cream and berries is a Pavlova. The name comes from the ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who was performing around the world in 1926 and made a stop in the land down under. From there the details get a little fuzzy and no one is quite sure if it was a pastry chef from Australia or New Zealand who first made this dessert for her. It causes a heated debate amongst them if you declare it one way or the other, so I am staying vague on the origin. This is one of my favorite desserts, because I am a huge fan of meringue in just about any form. I love how it looks, how it tastes and the texture it lends. Pavlova, unlike other meringues, is made with vinegar and cornstarch, so the end result is crisp on the outside, but still has some tooth (chew) on the inside. Traditionally it is served with fruit, such as berries and passionfruit (that’s what is dripping off the edge) and whipped cream. I also added lemon curd, but there are no rules and you can fill this with whatever moves you.

The recipe is in Zoë Bakes Cakes and you can watch me make, shape, and bake this Pavlova in my instagram video. 

Other ways to make a pavlova:

Mini pavlovas

Halva Diva Cake made with pavlova layers

Pavlova Roulade

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Chocolate Mousse with Toasted Meringue

chocolate mousse Pretty Simple Cooking (4 of 4)

My friends Sonja and Alex, otherwise known as the parents of the most adorable little boy, Larson (and some may know them for their excellent blog a couple cooks), just sent me their new cookbook. As I flipped through all the gorgeous recipes, I was stopped in my tracks by a picture of chocolate mousse topped with meringue. For anyone who follows me on Instagram, you know I am a huge fan of the ethereal sweet topping; whipped up pretty and then lit on fire with a blow torch. I always knew I liked these two and their recipes, but it turns out that Alex also has a thing for blow torches, so they just got even cooler IMHO.  This is a super simple and quick chocolate mousse recipe you can whip up at the last minute for Valentine’s Day and your sweetheart will never know it just took a few minutes to make. The bit of crunch in the middle is just brilliant and adds that contrast of texture that makes for a great dessert. They’ve generously agreed to share the recipe, but you should all go out and find their book, Pretty Simple Cooking!

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Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread recipe | photo by Zoë François

The first time I tried nutella was in France, on my honeymoon. I thought French kids were the luckiest people on earth. There was no way my mom would have given me a chocolate hazelnut spread on anything. (For the record it was the 1960s, she was a hippy and didn’t allow any sugar at all. Hence my full on sugar rebellion and career as a pastry chef.) French kids get nutella for breakfast, on their bread at lunch or as a late night snack. They all seemed healthy enough, so I think the French moms are on to something. My honeymoon was 23 years ago and in the meantime we Americans have had a hazelnut spread revolution of our own. Now you can find it on the shelves of Costco and 7-eleven. My house is never without a jar.

I’ve spread nutella on just about everything, but one of my favorites is freshly baked banana bread. In an “aha! moment” I decided to swirl the nutella right into the batter and bake them together. I’m not claiming to have discovered this combo, but I believe this may be the tastiest pairing ever there was. I now always make two loaves of nutella swirled banana bread, otherwise it disappears too quickly. One we eat while it is still warm and a bit gooey, the other sits for breakfast the next day. It is magnificent and super simple to make.

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Lemon Meringue Cake for Mother’s Day – How-to Video: piping roses

Piped Meringue Roses | ZoeBakes | Photo by Zoë François

These meringue roses remind me of fine porcelain china, dainty and ultra feminine. Perfect on an occasion that requires something spectacular, even a bit over-the-top. Mother’s Day is one such time. It is the day when we give thanks to the women who raised us. I have been blessed with more than my fair share of extraordinary women, who have influenced how I walk through this world. They have shown me great generosity, shared their wisdom and loved me unconditionally. I only hope to possess these same qualities as I now raise my own children. I wanted to create something as unique and beautiful as these women, to reflect my deep appreciation, so lemon meringue cake it is.

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