Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie | ZoeBakes photos by Zoë François

This chocolate peanut butter pie recipe is oh-so delicious. With a graham cracker crust, a smooth peanut butter filling made with cream cheese, a layer of chocolate ganache, and a whipped cream and candied peanut topping, this dessert is deluxe and irresistible. Be sure to chill your chocolate peanut butter pie for two hours or overnight before serving. If you’d like these into cute little mini pies, here’s a version I created for the Cooking Channel.

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Pomegranate Swirl New York Cheesecake

Pomegranate Swirl New York Cheesecake | ZoeBakes photos by Zoë François

The first cheesecake I recall eating was from Junior’s in Brooklyn. I’d go there with my grandparents and my aunts, Sylvia and Rose, when I was little. There was always a ton of food and loud conversation, but the only thing I remember clearly is the cheesecake. It was tall and smothered in impossibly red strawberries.

The last time I ate cheesecake at Junior’s was the day I bought my wedding dress at Kleinfeld’s Bridal shop, when it was still in Brooklyn and long before there was a reality TV show about it. All the women in my family piled into the fitting room and the very bossy attendant said, “I have the dress for you!” and left. She came back with a dress, I put it on and everyone started to cry. I did try on a few more, since we’d intended to make a whole day of it, but she nailed it on the first try. We left that fitting room and went to Junior’s for lunch. The cheesecake was not as great as I had remembered from when I was a kid, but it was exactly what the day called for, tradition.

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Alice’s Chocolate Mousse Cake with Cajeta!

Chocolate mousse cake with cajeta recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I made this chocolate mousse cake with cajeta as an assignment for Target. The store where I buy everything from school supplies to Riedel wine glasses. My friend Betsy Nelson is a food stylist for Target and she asked me to do some of the baking for a photo shoot. As inspiration she brought over the book Bittersweet by Alice Medrich to show me the style of cake they were going for.

The thing I love most about working with Betsy is that she’s a chef and insists the food not only be gorgeous for the photo, but delicious enough to eat after the shot is done. I made a large version of the chocolate mousse cake for Target, but couldn’t resist using the leftovers to create individual cakes for my own pleasure, pairing it with a rich cajeta and freshly grated nutmeg.

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A Mile High Lemon Brown Sugar-Meringue Pie! (update on toasting meringue)

Lemon meringue pie recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Last week my boys and I drove 5 hours due north to a small town on Lake Superior to get a break from the city. The boys just finished school and I had sent off the first pass pages of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. We were all in desperate need of a vacation. Friends of ours have a lovely home on a pristine lake; no planes flying over, no street lights, no cars, just peace and quiet and night skies filled with stars.

On the drive up, once you pass Duluth, the road is dotted with small shops selling smoked fish and all kinds of pies. It is our tradition to stop to buy pepper crusted smoked fish and a pie: cherry, blueberry or lemon meringue pie. When I first moved here 16 years ago my husband and I stayed on the North shore and discovered Betty’s Pies. We happened in one evening for a slice and ended up going back 3 more times in as many days. We still stop there, although they have moved, grown and the pies aren’t quite what they used to be, but the romance is still there for me.

Here is my version of Betty’s Lemon Meringue Pie (made with my rosemary shortbread crust, a bit of lime zest for more zip and a dome of light fluffy Brown Sugar Meringue!) Read More

Key Lime Cheesecake with Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

Key Lime Cheesecake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This key lime cheesecake is bright, citrusy and rich enough to satisfy even in the cold of February! I was in the mood for cheesecake, something smooth and velvety but not too sweet. Key Limes are readily available right now and have the magical ability to transport us to a warmer place of bright colors and sunshine, if only for a moment!

You can certainly use packaged graham crackers but why not make your own graham cracker crust, it is so easy and the flavor is so much more impressive! I like to bake my cheesecake in a cake pan instead of a spring form pan. I bake it in a water bath and find the cake pan easier to deal with. Getting the cheesecake out of the pan is easy if you follow my directions! Read More