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

Sugar Plum Pie with a Folded Flaky Crust

Sugar plum pie | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I know I promised a tour of the spice market in Istanbul, but I had to show you the plum pie I made for my stepmother’s birthday first. When I returned home after a month away my refrigerator was bare, nothing but a jar of capers and a bottle of sriracha sauce. After shopping in Europe, the grocery stores here in MN seemed obscene with selection. The produce isle was filled with every fruit and veggie you could ever want, despite the fact that many of them wouldn’t be in season for months. It was both overwhelming and a bit thrilling to have all this at my fingertips. I’d been eating juicy plums and peaches in Italy and had decided to make my stepmother a pie with them for her birthday. They were perhaps a little firm, but they looked and smelled gorgeous. Because it was a special occasion I cooked the plums in champagne and vanilla. I made a tender crust and folded it a few times to add some flaky layers. This is my kind of birthday pie!

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

Read More

Butterscotch Sweet Potato Pie

Butterscotch Sweet Potato Pie Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Update: There was no contest between the pumpkin and the sweet potato pies that I made for Thanksgiving! The Sweet potato was the unanimous winner. Most of you predicted that in your comments. The truth of the matter is that it wasn’t a fair contest. I made a traditional pumpkin pie, like the one you find on the can and it just wasn’t all that thrilling next to a butterscotch sweet potato pie that is spiked with whiskey! 😉

Happy Thanksgiving! I love this day. It is the ultimate holiday for anyone who loves to cook and eat. Today I am hosting the feast at my house. It will be a small party of my family, those who live in MN. We have all the old favorites from turkey to pumpkin pie. Due to my new found love of sweet potatoes I also did a butterscotch sweet potato pie. There are only 8 of us and we have two pies. I hope it is enough! 😉 I thought it would be fun to see which pie becomes the family favorite. After our meal I’ll report back what we decide.

For Butterscotch Sweet Potato Pie inspired by a recipe for pumpkin pie in Bon Appetit:

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

Read More