Ooo la la

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French Apple Tart Pie

This was my first French Apple Tart based on the recipe in Baking with Julia – for the Tuesdays with Dorie group. Instead of a ton of applesaucey filling, I opened a jar of Apple Pecan Honey Conserve and spread that on the crust before adding the roasted apples. And, for the record, I let those apples get good and caramelized before taking them out of the oven. That roasted, gooey, apple mess was spread on top of the conserve, and the filling was then covered in apple slices.

What do I think? Well, let’s just say this: Tom said, “This is the best apple pie you’ve ever made!” And that’s saying something, as his favorite food group is, well, Apple Pie, and I’ve become pretty darn adept at Apple Pie Making.

The conserve adds a dimension that – well, it’s just insane. That deep dark velvety mouthfeel of the honeyed apples and pecans underneath the sweet, light textured caramelized apple layer is over the top.

I wondered if it was a fluke. You know. Sometimes things work out grandly. Once. Never to be replicated. So, I made another one.

The second time, I used a jar of the conserve as the base again, but I made twice as much of the apple filling, and used more apple slices for the rosette. Man. This tart just gets better and better. The apples reduce A Lot when they’re roasted, and starting with more ensured that the apple layer was substantial. And so good.

So, okay, it’s a French Apple Tart. Of sorts. But around here, I think we’re gonna call it a French Apple Pie.

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It’s Tuesday Again! Off to Finland!

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Finnish Pulla Bread

Everyone knows I’m a bread nut. Flour water yeast  & I’m good to go. Anytime. At all. Add butter and eggs? Oh ho ho. You got me, Baby.

This recipe is the 2nd monthly bakealong recipe from Baking with Julia on the Tuesdays with Dorie blog. The richness of this bread, loaded with butter and a couple eggs that were pulled warm, from the nest, seconds before being added, is seriously over the moon. Not just the top. The. Moon.

My #1 taster is not home yet, so the bread remains uncut, waiting. I am going crazy with the smell.

I crushed seeds from about 15 green cardamom pods for the teaspoon of spice the recipe requires. Penzey’s is my friend. What an aroma. Organic almonds and little shards of sugar, strewn across the glaze, smell so incredibly appealing that I have had to take a very long walk to stop myself from plunging in face first.

Yes, I’m a bread nut. I haven’t met a dough I don’t love. And I’m also the mom of Jam Baby Jam, which is sort of known for homegrown fruit jams and ginger jams and marmalades. This bread is screaming “Gimme a smear of grapefruit-ginger!” But I don’t have any – til tomorrow. Gonna have to settle for pear-ginger. Maybe the pear-ginger conserve. That has bits of chewy pecan and orange…oh yes. Oh yes.

Come home, taster! The bread is still warm!

Finally, Gingerbread with (enough) Oomph!

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Gingerbread Baby Cakes

Been awhile since I baked with a group, but, when I saw that Tuesdays with Dorie was still doing the Bake (along) with Julia, and this month’s recipe was gingerbread, well, I got into the swing. Again.

This is not your grandmaman’s gingerbread. The recipe calls for hefty additions of coffee, cocoa, black pepper, and fresh ginger. Suggested presentation is with sweetened whipped cream and candied lemon peel. Now, I did add those ingredients to the batter. I did. But I took a short left turn. Rather than espresso powder, I used freshly brewed strong coffee to replace some of the molasses. I also used some maple syrup to replace some of the molasses. Not that I don’t like molasses. But the brand I buy comes in a 12 fl oz jar, and I “needed” 16 oz.

Since I don’t own “baby cake pans” I used a combination of muffin tins and a 5″ springform pan. Fine. Perfect. Just had to pay attention to the ol’ time. The muffin sized cakes took 28 minutes. The 5″ cake took 37 minutes. The cakes are perfectly baked.

The crumb is fine and delicate. The taste is shockingly delicious. Shocking! Truly! For anyone who happens to love the heat of gingery goodness, this gingerbread is just the ticket.

Sorry to say, I didn’t get a photo with the full blown presentation this evening. I’ll be plating this cake with unsweetened whipped cream laced with some of our in-house Jam Baby Jam in Pear-Ginger . So, I will add a sexy picture. I mean, the crummy photo up above truly does not do justice to these fine cakes.

Now, I know, you want the recipe. Here’s the deal. Only the Host of the party can post the recipe. Something to do with copyright. If you have to have the recipe, and who wouldn’t want it, really, then go to Karen’s Kitchen Stories and knock yourself out. If you would like to join the bake-along, sign up at TWD. We bake 2 recipes from Baking with Julia every month. The Rules state that you must own the book to join. So, do it. Just go get the book; it’s eminently readable, and the recipes are all knock-outs. Baking with Julia, written by Dorie Greenspan. Yum.