Apple Tart with Crunchy Almond Topping


We are in the midst of a fall heat-wave…98 degrees the day I baked this tart.  Not exactly the fall baking experience I was looking for but what can you do?  I certainly won’t complain about our great year-round weather but it would have felt more like fall, baking an apple tart, in lets say maybe something in the 70’s haha!

This tart recipe is pretty simple…basically three steps.

  • The crust is not new to us.  We have used it in previous recipes and comes together easily.
  • The apples, which I subbed for the pears, are sautéed in butter and then some sugar.  I had never done this and I am wondering why??  They looked so good as they browned up on random edges and sides.  I could have eaten them plain, just out of the pan.
  • The almond topping is just egg whites, confectioner sugar, and almonds.

Seriously, very simple recipe and yet quite elegant looking.  I would say very good for a brunch or luncheon.  All my tasters agreed that this was delicious!  They loved it!

Personally, I preferred the plain apples.🙂


Custardy Apple Squares


Dorie calls this a “Back-Pocket Recipe”; one that you can use when you need something quick and easy.  The recipe uses ingredients that you would normally have on hand…apples, flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla.  Nothing too fancy, but easy to pull off.  I did not have a mandoline, which she suggested to make the slicing of the apples easier and more uniform…oh darn, had to go get a new cooking gadget!  Funny thing is, I have used it three times now (and sliced my thumb!!)  since I bought it so I guess it was a good purchase!🙂

Everyone really enjoyed this dessert.  I added a bit of cinnamon because I just couldn’t help myself.  I am not sure it really made that much difference though.  Overall, this was a good, easy recipe but in my opinion, a bit bland.  I think it was actually better later, chilled.  Quite a few people said it reminded them of the restaurant The Original Pancake House’s apple pancake.  Not a bad comparison!




Edouard’s Chocolate Chip Cookies


It is good to be back…and what a good recipe to return to.  I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies, right??

I hadn’t planned on taking any time off as I really enjoy baking ALL of the recipes but as schedules had it, just not possible so I sat out August.  Throw in also a case of real, go to the doctor, food poisoning for my son while at a business conference and that made me, the already scared one to use un-cooked eggs, for sure sitting out the ice cream recipe…even if I am just being paranoid.🙂

I have a really good, chewy, bakery type chocolate chip cookie recipe so I was interested as I read Dorie’s intro to the recipe how this would compare.  She was saying these were that type of cookie and probably because of a unique ingredient.  This recipe uses almond flour in addition to the regular all-purpose flour.  Interesting!  My recipe uses ground up oatmeal in addition to the regular flour.

I ended up using Trader Joe’s ground almond meal rather than almond flour so you can see some of the chopped up almonds.  These cookies were good…I mean very satisfyingly good!!  My tasters have all had my chocolate chip cookies and no one could say which was better…it was like they were the same, but different.  These were a bit more dense and “richly chocolately” but not as chewy.  We all agreed I just need to make both types now…and I will.  They are definitely a keeper and one that I will keep in my personal rotation.

Summer-Market Galette


This one should have been more exciting to us, but honestly on the heels of the Rose Fraiser and even the Cornmeal Berry Cakes…this one was just ok.

My taster family that loves anything fruit…loved it;  the rest of my tasters, we are just not a stone fruit summer dessert group.  I know we have LOVED this galette when I made it with apples and cinnamon, but the apricots, nectarines, and plums just didn’t quite do it for us.  It wasn’t bad, we just aren’t fans.

Like I have said so many times, this is the beauty of this baking group…the chance to make things you wouldn’t ordinarily make or try.  Most all have been amazing, so to get one that wasn’t YAY, is ok.  Onto the next one!!🙂



Cornmeal Berry Cakes


After the battle to contain the flood gates of my cream in the Rose Fraiser, it was refreshing to have an easy recipe!  This one was simple and fast…and tasty which makes for a great combo.  They seemed to scream summer.

The recipe makes 4 small loaf cakes or cupcakes.  I opted to make 24 mini cupcakes and since there was still so much batter left, made 1 loaf cake too.  I think I could have made another 12+ mini cupcakes with the batter which is good to know.  36+ mini cupcakes from a recipe is good for entertaining.  For the mini bites, I put 1/2 a raspberry in each one.  They turned out great, but I probably could have gone with a whole one…just wasn’t sure about the batter to berry ratio.

I am glad I went with the option of adding the lemon icing.  That was a favorite with everyone.  It seemed to give a pop of flavor to the cake and raspberry, brightening up the whole experience.  The final verdict seemed to rest with whether you like cornbread or not…those that do, loved the dessert; those that are not fond of cornbread thought the dessert was ok.  I liked it for the fact it was something different…but I like cornbread so there you go.🙂


Rose Fraisier



This is what I now know:

  • Fraise means “strawberry”
  • Le Fraisier is the French cake that celebrates the fruit…it is a classic and as close to a strawberry shortcake as the French get.
  • It is a grand cake that heralds spring and the arrival of the first berries.
  • For the classic Fraisier look, some berries are halved and stood up all around the outside of the cake, their cut sides facing out, and then whole berries are lined up snugly to cover the bottom layer of the cake.  The strawberries are then enveloped  in a pastry cream before a top layer of cake is added.
  • This particular “Rose Fraisier” uses a rose syrup and rose extract to flavor the cake
  • Rose syrup and rose extract are not easily found, are in large quantities, and expensive
  • In the end, a little patience was all it took to pull my disaster back together and have a fantastic tasting dessert!
  • Next time…and I can’t believe I can say there will be a next time after the pastry cream disaster, but next time I will firm up the cream longer in the fridge! :)…and use less.

This one gave me some trouble..beginning with the rose syrup and rose extract.  I am one to usually buy the odd ingredients because it is just part of being in this group…and I love baking the new projects..but I just couldn’t do it this time.  I looked at a few stores and online and could only find bottles too big and costing just too much to justify buying them,  Thankfully, I figured this would taste like a great strawberry shortcake with or without the rose flavoring so I went ahead and made it without.

I made the cake the night before thinking it would be easy to assemble the next day.  Whoa was I wrong.  I made the filling, cut the cake, and assembled my strawberry forest.


So far, so good.  I piped in my pastry cream filling…and following the directions..”when all the spaces are filled, pipe a generous layer of cream over the tops of the berries, taking care to leave the cut side of the outer berries cream-free, and smooth it with an offset spatula.  Settle the top cake layer rocking it gently so that the filling glues it in place”

Sounds easy but I have to be honest…this is what happened out the backside…the strawberries just couldn’t hold back the cream…ugggh….


Are you kidding me??  What a mess!!   I took a deep breath and scraped it all out and re-piped with the cream leftover.  I then finished the cake with a strawberry jam glaze and topped with strawberries…and rushed it into the fridge to help firm up the cream.🙂


At this point I was just glad I had a finished product, but wasn’t too excited about it…until my first tasters got ahold of a piece.  Wow…they couldn’t believe how great it was!!

“Unreal”, “Delicious”, “Unbelievable”…”One of the best recipes you have made in this group”…wow…seriously after all that haha!  Funny how that can turn it all around for a baker!!  I was thinking, ok maybe I could make this again…now that I learned a few things!!  I have to say, it was pretty delicious!  It’s a keeper!






Tarte Tropézienne


This dessert certainly has the “wow” factor…and I have to say it is ALL about that Swedish Sugar on top!

As I was reading through the recipe, I was so thankful Dorie included where to buy the sugar…I went right to the King Arthur’s website and there it was, and not too expensive.  I decided if I was making this recipe, I had to go for it….and I am so glad I did!


The hardest part about this recipe, is finding the time.  I broke the recipe down into parts and spread it over two days and that didn’t seem too bad…but definitely not the type of recipe you whip up for a dinner party.

had read about others having trouble with their mixers handling the brioche dough, but thankfully mine was fine.  My frustration came with the pastry cream…which shouldn’t have been that tough.  Mine seemed to thicken way too fast and too much.  I wasn’t sure if I should continue with it or not but I remember other posts stating this pastry cream was to die for so I saved it and hoped for the best.  The next day, it was too thick to whisk it so I put it back into my mixer to loosen it up a bit.  I ended up adding more whipped cream to it than the 1/4 of a cup but you know what…everyone loved it.  Phew!

After baking the dough, it was just a matter of slicing it and layering the cream in the middle.  Everyone agreed, if I was to make this again, adding fruit would take it over the top.







My daughter says it looked just like the picture in the cookbook…yay! (although at this point it was half gone)..and that it tasted great too!  What more can you ask for?


I think all of my tasters were very intrigued and excited by this dessert.  No one had ever had anything like it so they didn’t know what to expect.  They all thought the sugar looked like pretzel salt so it was a nice crunchy surprise to have it be bits of sugar….which complimented the not so sweet dessert.  It was fun watching them taste it because everyone started out cautious, not knowing what this would be like…and then everyone went on to finish it and rave about it!  They all say…it is a keeper!