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

Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving Desserts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I have so much to be thankful for this year. From the health and well being of my family, to the fact that my computer is back up and running. Sometimes it is the small stuff that really snaps us into a space of giving thanks. As those of you who follow me on Twitter and FB know, last week was my birthday and it was quite a memorable one. My adorable boys brought me coffee in bed and we sat and talked. The fact that they sat still long enough to hang out was remarkable and a gift. After that loving moment passed, they were off and running and I changed the course of my day with a single move. I jostled my coffee cup and spilled the tiniest bit on my laptop. I swear it was no more than a tablespoon, but that is enough to ruin your day, week. My husband took the lifeless piece of equipment to the genius bar at the Mac store, as I salvaged the rest of my birthday by taking a photography class with Susan Powers. Nothing like creative inspiration to lift your spirits. Not only were the geniuses able to fix the computer, but I didn’t lose anything. Small miracle. The price I paid was being without a computer for nearly a week, which in the end was like a forced vacation. After being on book tour, it was a much needed, albeit unasked for, rest. So, yes, I am actually thankful that my computer was down for the week, although next time I will just turn it off.

Some of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts from past years:

Here is a post I did on the difference between a Sweet Potato vs Yam? Turns out there is quite a debate.

Perfect Apple Pie

Bourbon Pumpkin cheesecake

Caramelized Pumpkin Bread pudding

Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie

Apple Pumpkin Cake

Coconut Cream Cake

Caramel Apple Pear Cake

I hope your holiday is filled with joy and you manage to keep your motherboard dry. Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

Read More

Happy Thanksgiving and a couple of announcements!

Thank you for visiting Zoë Bakes! I wanted to write a short post to let you know how much your lovely comments of encouragement have meant to me. As many of you have noticed I’ve taken a sabbatical of sorts from blogging. I miss it and will be back soon. Jeff and I are working on our third book (Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day) together and it is due at the beginning of December. It is so exciting and tremendous fun, but it is like a child and has taken most of my time.

I have also been presented with an opportunity to work with one of my all time favorite Twin Cities chefs. Steven Brown, who I worked with many years ago is opening his own restaurant in Minneapolis called Tilia. I got down on my knees and begged him to let me be a part of it and help him with the desserts. What a crazy good time, playing with sugar in the presence of such an inspired chef. The picture above are just a few of the desserts I created for our first tasting together (sticky toffee cake, soaked in caramel and glazed with chocolate, a German Chocolate Cake and an apple-pear spice cake with orange cardamom glaze). It will be a menu of our interpretation of some classics, made with the best local ingredients and a whole lot of love. To find out more about Tilia and watch the process of opening a restaurant you can visit the Tilia facebook page.

and there are now gorgeous Tilia gift certificates for holiday giving. I hope you will come and visit.

I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season and I look forward to coming back to Zoë Bakes soon to blog about all that I have been working on.

Thanks, Zoë