Mini Apple Tarte Tatin (French Apple Tarts)

Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin is a modern take on a French classic dessert. This twist on the classic French tarte tatin is elegant and delicious. Using apples, puff pastry, and caramel, these mini apple tarts are sure to impress.

Apples baked in buttery caramel, until the apple absorbs the caramel and turn amber. The original dessert is rustic and beautifully humble, just apples cut, placed in a pan with caramel, then baked with the curst on top and inverted. Not much to look at, but one of the most revered desserts for the rich caramelized apples and flaky pastry. On instagram I saw a version that was so elegant, but still looked equally as delicious. Perfect spirals of apples, baked in caramel and turned out onto puff pastry. HOW did they get those even continuous slices of apples. I have most pastry equipment available to home bakers, but nothing in my pantry could create this shape. A little sleuthing and I found it, my new favorite kitchen tool. 

You can see me create this tart in my Instagram video and watch the apple slicer create the delicate ribbons. 

Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François
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Guinness Chocolate Cake with White Knight Frosting

         

This Guinness Chocolate Stout Cake with White Knight Buttercream based on recipes from Zoë Bakes Cakes, was inspired by my trips to Ireland. I have had especially good fortune, which brought me to Ireland twice. In January of 2020, I spent a week seeing Ireland with my friends at Bake from Scratch magazine, Tourism Ireland and Williams Sonoma, just months before I was there with KerryGold to eat as much butter as I could and it turns out that’s a lot! 

With each trip I have fallen deeper in love with this country.

Ireland is beyond beautiful with the rolling hills of green grass and clover that fall off into the ocean and that’s just a description of the pastures where the dairy cows graze. They produce the sweetest, richest milk in the world, which makes Kerrygold’s Irish butter taste silky and creamy and glow a healthy, golden yellow. I used it make the White Knight Frosting in this amazing, Guinness infused Chocolate Cake. The recipe is below and you can see more photos of my trip in the Highlights on Instagram. 

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Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

There seem to be two schools of thought about Thanksgiving desserts. Those who must have pumpkin pie and those who avoid anything pumpkin, other than the spice mix. I am squarely in the pumpkin camp and so is my whole family, but if you or someone you love is not, these Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to ease into using the Thanksgiving essential and give a loving gesture to those who adore pumpkin.

The base of these bars comes from Michelle Lopez’s new book Weeknight Baking, which is made up of great recipes that are quick and easy enough to fit into everyone’s busy schedule, even at the holidays. I added the swirl of pumpkin, which is also super easy and fast, but makes them just right for this week. Michelle has lots of great ideas for jazzing up the cheesecake bars and once you see my technique for swirling, you can add your own flair. You can easily make these in time for the big Turkey Day and I suggest making a double batch, so you have leftovers to snack on and stick into school lunches. 

Watch me make these cheesecake bars on my Instagram.

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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. 

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

French Silk Pie | ZoeBakes Photo by Zoë François
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Churros with Chocolate Sauce

I’ve never made Churros with Chocolate Sauce before today! There aren’t many desserts that I have enjoyed at a restaurant, that I didn’t immediately come home and make. How has it taken me this long to realize how easy and delicious they are to make at home. The Churros with Chocolate Sauce recipes from Husbands That Cook, the new book by Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin are fantastic and couldn’t be easier. They make a very simple pate a choux (same dough used for eclairs, profiteroles and croquembouche), which is then fried until crisp. The dough itself is not sweetened and they even suggest serving it with a savory soup, which is brilliant. Given my love affair with sweets, I dredged mine in cinnamon sugar and paired it with their lovely, thick, rich, decadent hot chocolate sauce and a bit of cajeta I had on hand.

You can watch me make this lovely recipe from Husbands That Cook in my Instagram video and they graciously let me share the recipe with you here. Read More