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.Read More
These chocolate macarons are bit of a contradiction. They are both light, as a macaron should be and fudge-y, like a brownie. The chocolate macaron shells are made with cocoa powder and then they’re filled with a chocolate ganache, so they’re super deep chocolate fantastic flavor.
The technique is the same as my other macaron recipe, so you can follow those instructions, but the baking times can be a bit tricky, so see my suggestions for baking in the recipe. I like to finish the macarons with a dusting of really nice cocoa powder, for both the velvety look and the extra intense chocolate hit.Read More
The Apple Tarte Tatin is a quintessentially French dessert. There are really two styles of French pastry, the super fussy, Marie Antoinette-style creations that are almost too beautiful to eat and look nearly impossible to create, and then the country-side, rustic sweets that are more delicious than beautiful.
I’d say this falls into the second category, but I think it is stunningly beautiful with its rich caramel apples and flaky pastry peeking out from under them. Rustic yes, but no less gorgeous than a Croquembouche or Paris-Brest, in my mind.
I’ve often said this is my comfort food, the one dessert I almost always choose on a menu (I rarely pick just one) and I start nearly every trip to NYC with a slice from Buvette in the West Village.
The key to success is having the proper apples. You want them to keep their shape while cooking in the caramel, so they absorb the bittersweet sugar and don’t just turn to mush. I’ve had good success with Pink Lady, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, and/or Granny Smith. Stay away from apples like McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Fuji which break down and make sauce.
Traditionally the crust is a layer of Puff Pastry draped over the caramelized apples and baked upside-down, then inverted to reveal the deep caramel colored apples. The transformation is dramatic and delicious. You can make puff pastry or use a high-quality store-bought version. You can also use Pie dough or even sheets of Phyllo. The crust is the canvas that holds the apples, so you can get creative with whatever you have on hand. Below I give the instructions for all of the crust options.Read More
Chocolate Mousse was one of the very first recipes I tried to make, way back when I was a middle schooler. Making a quintessentially French dish was an assignment for my French class, so I set off with a copy of Time Life Books: classic French cooking and did my best. Which wasn’t very good.
Actually, it was terrible. The recipe called for coffee, which at the time, before I became an avid consumer of the beverage, was a confusing ingredient. Did they mean coffee grounds or brewed coffee. Well, I chose very wrong and went with the grounds, probably because I didn’t know how to brew coffee. It was like eating chocolate with sand in it. Not good. I made it again with brewed coffee and it was a revelation. The texture was like silk, the taste of the chocolate was so rich and luscious, unlike anything I’d ever eaten. It was like a very distant cousin to chocolate pudding, but altogether superior. I was so proud that I’d made something this delicious. It was one of the first times I was excited about a school assignment and it set me off on more baking adventures.Read More
This Raspberry Paris Brest is a beautifully nontraditional take on a very traditional French pastry. The name, Paris Brest, comes from a bicycle race that happens in France between (you guessed it) Paris and the town of Brest. According to Larousse Gastronomique, a pastry-cook, whose shop was along the route of the race, got it in his head to make a pastry shaped like the wheel of a bike from choux paste (the same pastry used for eclairs and profiteroles). He filled it with a butter-rich, praline flavored pastry cream.
My take on this classic involves lots of Driscoll’s Raspberries to lighten up the dessert and make it even more beautiful. Instead of stirring praline into the pastry cream, I made an easy raspberry quick jam out of fresh berries and then mixed it in. The result is fresh and light, which will be a welcome end to your holiday dinner. What makes Driscoll’s Organic Raspberries the perfect choice for this is that Driscoll’s has spent years carefully breeding Raspberries, and with thousands of berry varieties they select the top 1% to sell under the Driscoll’s name.Read More
The truth is the last time I made a Strawberry Charlotte Royale was in culinary school and that was a very long time ago. I have been meaning to make one, but just never got around to it. Then I bought a copy of Soulful Baker, by one of my favorite bakers, Julie Jones, and she had the most beautiful Charlotte Royale in the book. I took it as a sign that I needed to make this regal (it’s in the name) dessert. Julie was my muse, but being incapable of leaving things well enough alone, I wanted to make the filling in two separate flavors. I made a Grand Marnier Bavarian Cream and then added Strawberry coulis to it for the second layer. The steps are not at all difficult, but they do require a bit of planning and some timing.Read More