Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

The wonderful ladies at The Kitchn have written a guide on how to bake home-made pies. 🙂 Love it. It says a lot of what I have always felt: It’s about the flavor, not about the looks. If you are like my mom, whose artistic abilities and patience allow her to replicate the picture or even make it better, I am in awe of you. But the rest of us fret about the look of our baked goods. It also talks about crusts and all the steps for the pie. Joy.

Go and check it out! 🙂


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Last week, while watching PBS on my iPad, I saw a small video of Aube Giroux’s Strawberry Basil Tart. I fell in love with the film, the music, the recipe and the aesthetic of the dish. As I always say, food IS art, and she proves it.  This little thing has managed to jump over several desserts I have in my favorite rotation and jumped to the top 5. Will surely be making it for my next get-togethers.

While her video is impossible to replicate or top, I am being courageous here and posting the photos of my preparing it at home and the end result (I forgot to take a picture of the syrup and of the yolks before adding them to the milk). I actually had to make-do with only one cup of basil, but it still came out delicious!

Creamed butter with ground almonds

Masa a medias

I actually did a little dance of joy when this was done. Such great texture and so easy to roll!

Masa fuslereada

Freshly out of the oven

Masa horneada

Basil and strawberries waiting

Albahaca y fresas

Preparing the custard…

Basil and milk

Finger-straining the yolks after one fell into the whites…

Colando yemas

The finished product! So pretty, I don’t want to touch it.

Pie listo

Now go, get the ingredients and make it. It’s soooo good!

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Back in August I wrote about a cake that came out just like the picture in the magazine (at least in the dough part), but I didn’t have a way to upload the images. I finally found them, so here’s the report. The original recipe is a Blackberry Buttermilk Cake from Bon Appetit. I followed it almost to a T, with the exception of the berries and the sugar quantities for the topping of the berries. I found that 1/4 cup was too much sugar, so I just eyeballed it, using less than 1/4, but certainly more than 1/8.



  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for pan
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • about 1/4 cup sugar for coating the berries in the pan, PLUS
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar for the batter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting the finished cake)

You will need a 9 or 10 inch springform pan for this recipe


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Butter pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper*. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess.
  • Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with a little less than 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; using a sifter. Set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low and add the flour slowly, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended. The batter will be thick. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top.
  • Bake until cake is golden brown and/or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 25 minutes for a 9″ pan and about 1 hour for a 10″ pan.
  • Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment.
  • Let it cool completely and then dust the top with powdered sugar. I find that dusting after complete cooling allows for the sugar to stand out. If you dust too soon, the powder sugar will melt and there won’t be any white effect on top of the berries.


If you don’t have buttermilk, use regular milk and add, per each cup of milk, one spoonful of vinegar and stir. You will get buttermilk.

As evidenced by my substitution, I’m pretty sure this recipe works well with pretty much any berry. Substitute away!

To get the parchment lining to fit the pan, cut a square of parchment , the size of the pan and fold in four. Take the bottom of the springform pan and place the folded parchment, with the folded corner in the center of the circle. This will leave you with part of the parchment flowing over bottom. Using a pen or pencil mark that edge, then cut it off with scissors.  WHen you open the square, you will have a circle that perfectly fits the pan.

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I’m working without a computer and only an iPad, so I can’t post with pictures (will try to do so soon, they have been downloaded from the camera to a flash drive), but I just had to write this: for the first time ever, something I made looked like the magazine picture. And though it wasn’t the finished product, it made me feel sooo happy!

It happened yesterday when I made an upside-down blueberry cake. When I placed the batter on the pan, it looked like the demo in the magazine. Rockin’!

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This pie truly lived up to the name of this blog. All of it was an adventure, and it proved to be tons of fun. First, I had no business making a pie in the middle of the summer, when it’s so hot in my apartment that the butter seemed to mock me as I was rolling out the dough. Second, I stuffed the pie to much, making the filling spill and burn, filling my apartment with smoke. Third, I attempted to make a mini-pie with a new silicone baby shell I bought a couple of months ago. I thought it would stand in place, but it ended up committing suicide by sliding through the top rack, landing on top of the big pie on the bottom level. I should’ve taken a picture. It looked like the big pie had a small crown. I ended up chucking the tiny pie, but who cares. Despite the smoke, I ended up with a yummy apple pie.


2 c flour

1 1/2 sticks of butter

pinch of salt

2-4 tbsp cold water.

Three green apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup of sugar

2 tbsp tapioca balls

2 limes

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp milk


Combine the first four ingredients as outlined here (under prep) to make the dough. Divide the dough into two balls, flatten them sligthly and wrap them in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Mix apples, lime juice, tapioca, sugar and cinnamon and let it sit for 15 minutes so that the apples release their juices.

Preheat oven to 375 F

After your dough has chilled, roll it out and line a round pie shell with one of the discs. Spoon filling and distribute it evenly. Top with the 2 tbsp butter. Close pie with second disc, sealing it and rounding up the edges decoratively. Slice top in a couple of places in order to let filling breathe.

Bake in the oven for about an hour, or until the crust is golden and the filling bubbles.


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I love it when one can have the best of both worlds. Check out Saveur Magazine’s Smoked Salmon Quiche. Yu-um!

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I am in the process of eating everything out of my fridge before embarking on my fun Spring Break vacation. As such, I made a modified version of Bon Appétit’s Arugula and Bacon Quiche. I didn’t have arugula, so I didn’t use any, making it a straight bacon quiche.  I also used my own pie crust recipe, and basically cooked the filling my way. So I guess the BA recipe was a starting point.

photo (7)




  • 1 pie crust recipe, as detailed here.

For the filling

  • 3/4 lb bacon slices, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 c shallots, chopped
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • 3/ 4 c shredded Gruyère cheese

photo (5)


  • Heat oven to 350F
  • Roll out pastry as indicated in recipe above and after placing it in your pie/Quiche shell, bake for 9 minutes, uncovered.


  • Heat a pan or skillet and cook bacon on medium-high until it’s cooked and crisp. Remove and place on paper towels to dry out excess fat. Leave some bacon fat on skillet and cook shallots in it until they are tender and translucent, about 2 minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix the whipping cream, salt and pepper (careful with salt, remember you are using bacon!) and eggs. Mix well.
  • When your pie shell comes out, sprinkle the bacon evenly and top with egg&cream mixture. Return to oven.

photo (6)Raw mix, ready to go in

  • Bake until mixture puffs and looks golden. About 40-45 mins or until a knife inserted in the center of the Quiche comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let it stand for about 10 mins before slicing.

Note: Quiche to me is a little like pizza. I like eating it cold or hot.

I like serving it with a mixed herb salad with lime or balsamic vinegar vinaigrette.

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