Maple Apple Tarte Tatin

tarte tatin

I’m a huge fan of the tarte tatin – that upside down pie started on the stovetop and baked in a skillet, then inverted onto a platter with caramel dripping from the apples down the sides. It’s a delicious mess, and a perfect dessert to make when you don’t have a lot of time but want something rustic, comforting, and totally fantastic. It’s good with pears too – they’re a bit juicier, so anticipate more drips.

Maple Apple Tarte Tatin

adapted from Canadian LivingRead More

Fresh Berry Tart

Fresh Berry Tart
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Ingredients
  1. Crust
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour 250 mL
  3. 1⁄2 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar 125 mL
  4. 2 tbsp grated lemon zest 30 mL
  5. 1⁄2 cup butter 125 mL
  6. 2 tbsp lemon juice 30 mL
  7. Custard
  8. 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar 75 mL
  9. 1 large egg 1
  10. 1 large egg yolk 1
  11. 2 tbsp cornstarch 30 mL
  12. 11⁄2 tbsp all-purpose flour 22 mL
  13. 1 cup milk 250 mL
  14. 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 mL
  15. 4 cups fresh berries (use any 1 L
  16. combination of blueberries,
  17. raspberries or sliced strawberries)
  18. Glaze
  19. 1⁄2 cup raspberry or apple jelly, melted 125 mL
Instructions
  1. To make crust: Combine flour, sugar and lemon zest. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add lemon juice, stirring with a fork until mixture is gathered into a ball. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll dough out to form an 11-inch (28 cm) circle. Transfer to 9-inch (23 cm) tart or flan pan with removable bottom, pressing into bottom and sides. Chill again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Prick bottom and sides of pastry with fork to prevent shrinkage. Bake 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C), then reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) for the last 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden.
  2. To make custard: Whisk sugar, egg and egg yolk until thick. Add cornstarch and flour and whisk well. Heat milk and vanilla in a saucepan until almost boiling. Gradually add milk to egg mixture, then return to saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until well chilled. (This can be prepared a day ahead.)
  3. To assemble: Remove crust from tart pan and set on platter. Spread cooled custard over bottom of crust and arrange fresh berries on top. Gently brush melted jelly over fruit. Chill until serving time. Serves 10 to 12
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Chocolate Cheesecake

chocolate-cheesecake-1

Cheesecake used to be a staple at birthdays and special occasions like Valentine’s Day – and this rich chocolate cheesecake was one of the most popular ones I made.

If memory serves (and it doesn’t always) it originally came from Gourmet or Bon Appétit, tweaked over the years… I hadn’t made it in practically decades, and I forgot how good it was. It’s not tricky to make, and can be done in advance – it needs time to chill in the fridge anyway. To make it extra special, top with strawberries or raspberries.Read More

Butter Tart Slice

Butter tart slice

Butter tarts are our all-time favourites, but we don’t always have time to make the pastry, roll, cut and fill individual tarts. Butter tarts in bar form is the perfect solution; this past weekend, having to bake for a gathering, they were quick to mix up and bake. And here’s a secret: when you’re making squares that have a sticky filling, like butter tart squares or lemon bars, if you freeze the whole thing in the pan before you slice them, they’ll cut much more cleanly. Let them sit on the countertop for 20 minutes to thaw – or if you’re bringing them with you, they’ll thaw en route.

Butter tarts are traditionally made with currants, but these call for coconut, raisins and/or pecans – a delicious combination on a buttery shortbread crust.Read More

Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies

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Earlier this month, Mary, Julie and Elizabeth gathered at the Cookbook Company Cooks with a few dozen Best of Bridge fans for an epic baking party to raise money for the Calgary Food Bank. (Huge thanks to Gail for letting us use her space, and to Calgary Co-op for donating all the ingredients we needed!) We put a pot of mulled wine on the stove and had a blast of an afternoon baking together. Among old classics and new favourites, this was a new discovery we came up with that’s sure to stay in our holiday baking repertoire.

Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. peppermint extract (or substitute vanilla)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

extra sugar, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening and sugar for a few minutes, until light. Beat in the egg and peppermint extract.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in a shallow dish of sugar to coat. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until cracked and set around the edges, but still soft in the middle – they’ll firm up as they cool.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Light Coconut Christmas Cake

fruitcake 2 

‘Tis the season for holiday baking – and fruitcake is generally the first thing on our list. Sue and Julie have been baking fruitcake together every Christmas since they were teenagers – and although our traditional recipe is a dark fruitcake from the Joy of Cooking (it’s in the 1997 version – some earlier versions have a completely different recipe, which isn’t quite the same) – but this year we thought we’d give light fruitcake a chance.

We ordered some nice organic dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots), candied ginger and coconut in our Spud Box, and turned it into two loaf cakes – one for our annual Christmas party, the other to unwrap on Christmas day. We used to use a myriad of fancy pans for our fruitcakes, but sometimes they didn’t survive re-entry – loaf pans make it easy. (If they do crumble, turn the pieces of broken cake into a base for a rich, festive trifle, topped with custard and cream. No one will notice!Read More