Fancy-sounding french pastries for casual weekends

Woah woah look at me go! Another post in less than a month! On a ROLL.

I have wanted to make a gâteau basque for ages, but kept forgetting to actually make one when it came time to bake something. I’m so glad I fixed that…. these are delicious. Called a cake but in reality more like a cookie/tart/jammy pastry, it’s essentially two layers of pastry dough sandwiching a jam or pastry cream filling. They are from the southwestern Basque region in France and gained popularity in the 18th century.

I did modify mine somewhat, so it’s not completely traditional – mostly because I wanted to use things I had at home and avoid a trip to the market, but also because I like to keep things refined sugar free when at all possible.

So, that being said, this is not exactly a traditional gâteau basque, but it IS delicious. I filled mine with fig preserves (more fruit than anything else) instead of the more traditional black cherry jam or pastry cream. I love pastry cream but was feeling lazy so that is for next time (believe me, there will be a next time).

I also happened to have that jar of fig preserves kicking around so this seemed like a good place to use it. This also means that I made what is essentially a giant fig newton! I’m not mad about it though, I loved those growing up and this tastes like an exceptionally better version. While I’m on the metaphors here, it could also be likened to a large, fancy pop tart?

The pastry is crumbly but sturdy, as these are made to be eaten by hand. I added a little almond flour to mine, another departure from tradition, but I like the consistency. This is another one of those pastries that sounds ver ver fancy but is so easy to make, especially in a stand mixer (which I did use, and would recommend if you have one).

Extremely excellent with coffee. I also tried it with ice cream – you know, for SCIENCE – and can confirm that is also an exceptional way to eat it. Especially in lieu of pastry cream.

Let’s see, what else is new… In non baking news, I’ve been trying to make one new savory dinner thing a week, to get myself out of my usual dinner cooking rut. It’s mostly working I think, I have discovered a few new things that are very good, including adding chile crisp to my stir fry sauce and also doing a chile crisp baked tofu.

In recent plant news, Bert the Bird has been going ape and has put out several new leaves! Always an exciting event in my household.

Hopefully everyone is recovering from the time change… go and make yourself something delicious to make up for that lost hour. Happy March!

Gâteau Basque

Lightly sweet, crumbly, shortbready pastry sandwiching a jammy filling. Perfect to eat out of hand with a cup of coffee. Yield: one 8″ pastry; serves several. Whole grain, refined sugar free. Lightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan/NYT Cooking, here.

What you need:

1.75 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c almond flour, packed
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 c +2 tbsp unsalted butter (1¼ sticks), at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1/4c coconut sugar
scant 1/4c cane sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup fig butter/fig preserves
1 egg, beaten with a splash of cold water, for glazing

What you do:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Working with a mixer (use a paddle attachment if you have one), beat together the butter and both sugars on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla; the mixture should be smooth. Add the flour mixture all at once, then pulse the mixer to begin incorporating it. Mix on low until blended. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather into a ball, then divide in half.

Shape each piece into a disk — the dough will be sticky — and put each between sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a round just a bit wider than 8″. Keeping the dough sandwiched between the parchment, refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or for up to 3 days).

When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven, and heat to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8-inch-by-2-inch round cake pan. Remove the dough from the fridge, and leave on the counter until pliable, about 10 minutes. Peel away the paper.

Fit one round into the pan; if it breaks (mine definitely did), just press the pieces together. This isn’t really an exercise in perfection – mine was very uneven. Either fold the extra dough over and onto the base or trim it. Spread about ¾ cup of the jam over the base, leaving a 1-inch border bare and adding more jam, if needed.

Top with the second piece of dough, lightly pressing down around the edges and, if you can, tucking the dough under a bit. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect; the dough is soft, and as Dorie says, the layers fuse in the oven like magic.

Brush the top with the egg wash, and use the tines of a fork to etch a crosshatch pattern.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Transfer to a rack, and let rest for 5 minutes, then carefully run a table knife around the edge of the cake. Unmold onto the rack, and then quickly and carefully turn the cake over onto another rack, crosshatch side up, so that it can cool to room temperature. Wrapped well, the cake will keep for 2 days at room temperature.

Inadvertent winter blog hiatus

Ugh well… I didn’t mean to take a several month break from the blog but apparently that is what I did. I’d be the first to admit that my baking mojo feels low lately – not enough time, not enough inspiration…. I’m still baking regularly, but I find myself falling back on old favorites, or endless riffs of familiar recipes.

Not a bad thing necessarily, but I’m bugged on some level that I haven’t made anything *new*. Trying to let that level of perfectionism go, though.

I did make a really excellent apple crisp last weekend (see? endless riffs on old faves); I’ll include the recipe here since it’s a bit different than I’ve done in the past and I would absolutely make it again. It’s nothing revolutionary but sometimes, you just need a very basic, very delicious apple crisp.

Let’s see, what else. I’ve been making what seems like endless cookies and yet I never get tired of this recipe… I think if I ever end up famous for something (ha) it will probably be these cookies. I’m so flattered, everyone requests them and they are so easy, it’s a win win.

A few galettes have made an appearance too, and I also remade this apple cake, which I find incredibly fantastic. In the last go-round, I replaced the coconut sugar with all maple (1/4 c) and found it didn’t affect the texture noticeably, so I’ll probably switch to that.

Life things lately – I got up to PDX for the holidays and had much quality family & cat time. C and I went skiing a few weekends ago, which was lovely. Lots of outside walking/hiking time, lots of pretty spring flowers (though it’s suddenly a high of about 45 in the city today so we are apparently still solidly in winter). Since I’m light on food photos…. here are a few non food things!

Unbelievable how fast these last two months have gone. Happy almost-March!

Apple Crisp with Walnut & Cardamom

Lightly sweet and fragrantly spicy from the cardamom. Vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ crisp, serves several. Ingredients listed are how I made it; this is endlessly flexible so the measurements are more of a guideline than anything else.

for the crisp:
1 c almond flour, packed
1/3 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 rolled oats
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 chopped walnuts
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
1/4 c maple
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the fruit:
4 small apples (or three large) – I used 1 granny smith + 3 small honeycrisp; peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
zest of one lemon

The pan size is flexible – I made this in a 9″ pie dish, since that was what I had, but a 2qt square baking dish would work, or an 8″ dish… use what you have. Preheat the oven to 350.

Add chopped apples into your pan of choice. Sprinkle with nutmeg and lemon zest, and pour the water over the apples (this is really technical, as you can see….) Pop into the oven while you make the rest of the topping.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, coconut, oats, salt, cardamom and walnuts. Add in coconut oil, maple, and vanilla and stir until fully combined. Once the topping is made, remove the dish from the oven, and drop spoonfuls of the topping evenly over the top of the apples. Bake for 25-30ish minutes, until the apple filling is bubbling and and crisp is golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.

(Full disclosure… I originally made this without exact measurements and no set timer for baking time… I just waited until I could smell it baking and checked it a few times before pulling it out. Extremely scientific of me, I know)

Excellent with ice cream for dessert, or on its own for breakfast. Keeps well in the fridge overnight.

Cranberries two ways, for the holidays that snuck up on me

Dang wow it’s December already! Where has fall gone?? The holidays completely snuck up on me – I made this pie for Thanksgiving and meant to post it closer to the actual holiday but… here we are. Better late than never.

I’m ALL ABOUT that demerara sugar snow

Nothing too crazy new over here – still full of plants, still swimming in the bay (uh, it is less than pleasant this time of year, full disclosure. motivation is looowwww), and already feeling full up with holiday plans. My full December calendar is giving me the heebie jeebies, even though it’s full of fun things – the introvert in me is very happy to sit here with my book on a saturday night and NOT go out. Also it’s raining today, which is just heavenly. More of that, please.

This might be my new favorite pie – FULL of cranberries for the cran lover in your life. It’s got just enough sweetness from the apple and holiday spices from the nutmeg and cinnamon, but a slight thyme twist for a little something extra. Excellent with ice cream or a drizzle of half and half over the top.

I’m sharing what is essentially the same recipe twice here – two variations on a theme. The pie itself I made for Thanksgiving, and I just pulled the galette version out of the oven a few hours ago. I love a galette for a casual bake – not that the pie is that much more work, but the galette is definitely a less fussy cousin. Also requires a bit less time, and is somewhat more scalable if you want a smaller yield (though leftover pie is probably the greatest thing known to man besides almond croissants, so…. )

I did not get ‘glamourous, half cut into’ pie shots. this will have to do..

Hopefully I’ll get a few more things up here before the actual holidays! We shall see – given the state of my calendar, I might not resurface until January… but I’ll try. Either way, more than happy to share this very festive and very delicious, perfectly wintery pie with my corner of the internet – I hope you love it as much as I do! (It got rave reviews from Fave Human also so, that should probably be ‘we’ and not ‘I’!)

hello from the hooman behind the blog + fave hooman

Happy baking, and happy December!

Cranberry Thyme Pie, Two Ways

Perfectly tart, perfect for those who LOVE cranberries. The thyme adds a slightly savory, fun twist – this is excellent with ice cream. Refined sugar free and whole grain. I provided an alternate recipe here – there is both a traditional, double crusted 9″ pie, as well as its less fussy cousin, the galette. Both are delicious and serve several. Pie filling is adapted from Food52, here.

for the crust

2.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c fine cornmeal
1 scant tsp fine sea salt
heaping 1/4 tsp nutmeg
8oz unsalted butter (2 sticks), cubed & cold
4-6 tbsp ice water

for the filling:
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen (two 10-ounce bags)
1 apple (I used honey crisp; any baking apple will do)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon half and half/cream/milk and a pinch of salt)
Demerara sugar, for finishing

In a large bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients. Let sit while you make the dough.

In a food processor (or by hand, but I actually love using the food processor for this dough; it comes together in a snap and keeps it from getting overworked), pulse together flour, salt, and nutmeg. Add in cubed butter, and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add in ice water – I start usually with four tbsp, then add a tbsp at a time until the dough comes together in a ball.

I like to roll this dough between two sheets of parchment paper for ease. Divide it in half and and roll it out – I typically don’t chill this dough (blasphemy!) because I find it works just fine without. You’ll roll out a circle that’s slightly larger than the top of your pie plate, to make for crimping excess – you should aim to have about a 1″ overhang. Lay the dough into the dish, tucking the edge underneath and crimping it as desired. Do whatever you want with the top crust! Shapes, traditional top crust, lattice, whatever. I used a small star cookie cutter for this one. Once the bottom crust is in, stick the whole dish into the fridge for 5-10 minutes while you make the filling and roll out the top (helps prevent shrinking but honestly I almost always forget to do this and my crusts are fine… so… shrug. it’s good to do if you remember). No need to cover since it’s not in there very long.

In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over the dried cranberries, covering by about an inch. Allow them to plump while making the remaining filling. In a food processor, combine the chopped thyme, coconut sugars, salt, tapioca starch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Process until the thyme is fully blended. Pour all this into a large bowl. Use the same food processor bowl to briefly process 2 cups of the whole cranberries to a rough chop; add them and the remaining 2 cups whole cranberries, to the thyme mixture.

Peel the apple and shred on the large holes of a box grater. Drain the plumped dried cranberries of excess water, but do not press or squeeze them out. Add the shredded apple and the drained dried cranberries to the bowl with the rest of the filling and mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract and egg, and mix well. Pile in the fruit – typically you can fit much more than you think you can – you’ll want it to be slightly convex on the top, to account for the fruit decreasing in volume as it cooks. Lay on the top crust pieces, and put back in the fridge to chill while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 425. Brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar for sparkly crunch. Bake for 20 minutes at 425, then lower the temp to 375 and bake another 35-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling like crazy. Remove from the oven and let cool for several hours, preferably more, before slicing and serving (I made mine the day before). Keep leftovers in the fridge, covered – keeps well for about 3 days after baking, assuming it lasts that long.

Also made a far less fussy galette, with the following modifications:

1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 oz butter (1 stick)
3-5 tbsp ice water

Same method as above, but makes a single crust for a free-form galette.

1 bag (12oz) of fresh cranberries
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp fig preserves
demerara sugar + egg wash (see above) for finishing.

Preheat oven to 425. Make the single crust using method above. Spread an even layer of fig preserves across the dough surface, stopping just short of the edges. In a large bowl, stir together cranberries, thyme, apple, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Pile fruit onto the preserve-brushed dough, folding up the edges and crimping them at the creases (juice may escape anyway but it’s a rustic pie so who cares!) Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 35 minutes, until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown. Remove and let cool for a bit before digging in, or not… also acceptable to plop a scoop of ice cream on the top of it and eat it out of the sheet pan. Keeps well overnight at room temperature.

Bluebeard the PIErate

Okay okay several weeks late but I love this guy too much not to share – the yearly pie donation for the Lamplighters gala fundraiser!

Mom gets credit for naming him Bluebeard, hahaa. He thinks he’s so cute.

He also sold for $70 this year, which is a new high! Very exciting.

I’m including process photos for those who like this sort of thing – I make these in stages, typically. Bottom crust first so it can chill in the fridge overnight, then the top crust that also chills overnight. Pie gets assembled and baked first thing the morning of the gala, usually around 6am so it can bake and cool fully before I have to transport it at 1p.

Per usual, this is made with wild blueberries. Not only are they sold in 3 pound bags at whole foods (extremely convenient), they are also smaller than normal bloobs so the top crust design sits flat; important with this level of detail. Obviously some of it sinks into the bloob soup but I feel that just adds to its charm. I also had a very nice lyft driver this year who took the turns and downhills with care, which I very much appreciate. Pie transport is no joke.

Et voila!

Let’s see what else is new….

I have been making the apple cake I posted previously on repeat! It’s SO GOOD and SO EASY. I’ve adapted it for a refined sugar free version with coconut sugar – am working on one that is all maple since that’s my preferred. Stay tuned!

grainy, 7a photo taken post-swim

Still swimming, though the it’s DARK when I get in and barely light when I get out. Makes for some beautiful sunrise swims though, and the bay is oddly peaceful when it’s dark out. No, it’s not all that creepy either, for those who are wondering. I can’t see my hand in front of my face in the water when it’s light out anyway so what’s the dif? Also is noticeably colder in the last two weeks and I found a not-small hole in my favorite sleeveless wetsuit (DANG IT) so maybe the universe is telling me it’s time to switch back to longsleeves… hmmm…

sunrise turret!

I guess I’m accidentally timing this post right for halloween! He fits right in.

We made haunted houses at work for happy hour to practice model-making skills because, architects. This is what architect playtime looks like… not a contest but if it was, we’d be winning muahhaha:

Happy Halloweekend!! I hope there is pie.

French apple cake & fall happenings

Hello and happy fall! It feels like fall in the city, it’s finally been actually somewhat chilly in the evenings. I’ve also hit the point where all I want to make is apple-based desserts…

I had a birthday and such since I posted last – C and I went up to Jenner and Sea Ranch for a few days to enjoy some quiet coast time. Took a great 9.5mi hike in Salt Point state park and ate a bunch of crab… absolutely zero complaints, it was a lovely few days away.

Also had a few fun adventures baking in airbnb kitchens – always an interesting puzzle. Maybe I should write a cookbook about how to bake when you have minimal supplies? Ha. Latest airbnb cooking lesson takeaways: a mesh strainer used as a drying rack does great double duty as a cooling rack for cookies, and you can make peach crisp on a stove/hot plate.

Let’s see, what else. I spent yesterday afternoon repotting some of my more enormous plants, which was overdue and very needed for them (root bound) and basically a workout for me, so everybody wins. Hopefully they’ll be much happier in their new digs! Probably explains why one of them had been acting up. I’d been putting it off because repotting him involves corralling all his tendrils into a pillowcase for easier maneuvering and I get soil all over my kitchen… it’s too bad no one caught this round on camera. I was literally hugging my snake plant, trying to hold the pot down with my knees while I tugged it out. Comical. Oh and I talk to them while I do it, obviously.

Have been getting some really fun fog effects lately; I never ever get tired of watching fog.

But back to cake.

This one is so simple – really, the most time consuming part is just chopping up the apples – but so delicious. It’s more apple than cake, which I love – mine is a 7″ cake and there are three large apples in it. Amazing! I only lightly adapted it from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe since I did really want to make something sorta traditional, but I think next time I do it, I might add ginger or cardamom (both of which I was out of). She has rum in her recipe too, which I 1000% would have added if I had any.

It’s delicious without though, so I’m posting my modifications here as an alternative – I used whole grain flour, and dropped the sugar content from the original. In this version, I used raw cane sugar, which is a more refined sugar than the sweetener choices I typically use, but I had some leftover from a previous project and didn’t want to waste it :)

Happy baking, and happy October!

French Apple Cake

So delicious! Only lightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, here. Yield: 7-8″ cake (I used a 7″ springform; it’s a flexible cake), serves 4-6ish, or two with leftovers for breakfast :) Lightly sweet, more apple than cake. Perfect for a tea time snack or after dinner dessert. Whole grain, naturally sweetened.

3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
large pinch of salt
3 large apples (if you can, choose 3 different kinds – I used fuji & granny smith)
2 large eggs
1/3 c cane sugar*
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
~1tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

*a more refined sugar than I would typically use. It works well here, but I’d like to try subbing in maple/maple sugar/possibly coconut sugar to see about a less refined alternative

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 7 or 8″ springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. Peel the apples, slice them finely, and then dice the slices into 1/2″-ish pieces. Just make sure they’re small! They don’t need to be even.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until they’re foamy. Add the sugar and whisk for a minute to blend, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing after each so that you have a smooth, thick batter. With a rubber spatula, fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and pat it down a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. If you want to remove it from the bottom of the springform, let it cool a bit longer before doing so. Otherwise, the cake can be served warm, room temperature or chilled (can confirm it’s delicious all three ways); with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or a splash of rum over the top. All excellent. It’s a very moist cake – more apple than cake, actually – so it’s best fresh but will keep for about 2 days, either on the counter or in the fridge. Press waxed paper against the cut surfaces for optimal storage.

unintentional summer blogging hiatus


Wow, dang – apparently I unintentionally took the summer off from posting anything! I can’t believe it’s already Labor Day weekend (and my birth month! Yay!)

Doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking though – pretty much have had some variation of a stone fruit galette on endless repeat. Last one was a super yum version with peaches, blackberries, raspberries & a little bit of marionberry jam (courtesy of my pacific northwestie fam). I haven’t made anything really new – have been falling back on either my favorite cookies or some version of something fruity. I’ll include the recipe for the peach one down below; it was a winner for sure.

We had our company summer picnic last weekend, and it turns out galette is perfect picnic food – I was a little concerned it might be too messy, but it disappeared in a flash and was relatively easy to transport, etc. Definitely recommend.

For those of you who read this to keep tabs on me, I apologize for the delinquency!! (hi, other favorite pacific northwesties! I love you & miss you!) Let’s see, what happened over the summer…

Camp went very well! Minimal covid and wildfire smoke, maximally happy campers. Not much more I could ask for. Plus, I personally had a great session so obviously that’s a win too.

Not too long after that, C and I did our annual trip over to Connecticut to see his fam, eat lobster and do beach things (not mad) – had my once-yearly lobster roll, paddleboarded every day and swam a ton. It’s a bit warmer than the bay ;)

orange because the sunset was extreme
o yes
the sunsets absolutely do not disappoint

Speaking of which, still doing that of course, even though I live a bit further away now… less convenient, so I can’t swim on my in office days, but I’m still averaging about twice weekly. We’re in the season where the bay water feels soooo good; still obviously cold but not so much that it gives you an ice cream headache. The seals come out to play this time of year too – there are two who are always in the same spot and sometimes they come swim laps with me. So cute.

when in doubt: go swim.

Side note – I just looked up and there’s a ladybug on the inside of my turret window! That has to be good luck, right?

Plants still flourishing – latest acquisition is a bird of paradise I named Bertie; he seems to be adapting well to his new digs in the turret. Finally got everything hung up (or sorta, mostly) and am still loving the not-so-new apartment.

bertie! also known as bert the bird.
I don’t think i have enough greenery yet… also am in process of getting a larger rug.

Anyway… I’ve been so busy, I kinda expect I might not be on a super regular blogging schedule anymore, but I’ll be using it as motivation to make more interesting things and not just make endless galettes :)

Happy long weekend!

half assed lattice from last month… I got annoyed by it halfway through…

Peach, Blackberry and Marionberry Galette

Not too sweet, perfect for stone fruit season. Yield: 1 galette, serves several and keeps pretty well overnight for breakfast the next morning. A Wait are those Cookies original. Whole grain; refined sugar free (depending on the jam used).

for the crust:
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4oz/1 stick of unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp ice water

In a food processor, pulse together whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sea salt. Add in cubed butter and pulse until it resembled coarse sand. Add vanilla and ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough starts to come together – I usually start with 3 tbsp and then add 1T at a time from there. Turn it out onto a board and knead it into a ball. I like to roll it immediately since it’s pretty forgiving dough – typically I haven’t had trouble with this dough sticking. I roll it between two sheets of parchment paper and use the bottom one to bake the galette on; makes an easy transferral method between cookie sheet & cooling rack. If you’re not rolling immediately, stuck it in the fridge on a plate. Can be made ahead the night before if need be. If you are rolling immediately, roll it out into a circle or rectangle about 1/4″ thick.

or the fruit:

peaches, sliced (I used roughly 3 medium sized ones)
2 c blackberries + I added a few raspberries after baking; totally unnecessary (I just liked the color)
2 tbsp marionberry jam (any other dark jam will do if you can’t find it!)
1 tbsp half and half or cream, for brushing on the dough + turbinado sugar and slivered almonds for finishing

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Spread the jam in a thin layer over the middle of the dough. Pile the fruit in the center, leaving a border of about 3″. Fold up the sides of the dough over the fruit. Brush the dough with an half and half or cream, pat the slivered almonds onto the sides and sprinkle with a little turbinado sugar. Dot fruit with butter if you like, though it’s not strictly necessary. Pop in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in the fridge overnight – it’s great for breakfast :)

Fave Human + Birthday = A Very Extra Cake

Alright alright I’m a few days late and SO delinquent on anything resembling regular posts here but….. better late than never.

Charles’ birthday was this week so you better believe there was CAKE! Birthdays are a great excuse to be very extra and bake a layer cake with six layers (yes. I did) – this is the Fave Human we are talking about, after all. He’s cute. He can stay.

Good news is, since I waited a few days to post, I can relay the comments – everyone who ate it thought it was delicious, so I can safely say this one is a winner. Almond cake, marionberry + blackberry and chocolate ganache filling, and vanilla buttercream. Nothing in here is overly complicated; they just are stellar when put together. This is also one of those that can be made in stages, which is such a boon for a busy week. I ended up making the filling over the weekend, the cake layers monday, and then frosting, ganache and assembly on wednesday, his actual birthday. Besides, freezing cake layers actually makes them easier to slice (at least I think) and helps flatten them out a little.

This is a pretty dense cake so a little goes a long way – this was a 7″ cake to feed 6 at dinner, plus about a fourth of it leftover – obviously, who doesn’t love leftover cake. With six layers it makes for a pretty tall slice. It’s sweeter than my average dessert but hey, birthdays only come around once a year. It IS whole grain, so there’s that. Can’t let my dessert morals slide completely….

As to why I haven’t really had anything resembling regular posts on here… I *have* been baking, but a) I keep making variations on the same galette and I don’t need to be spamming your feeds with endless galette variations and b) camp is literally IMMINENT and I have been eyeballs deep in director stuff since basically… May… so that plus a full time job = not so much free time for blog things. Promise I’m still baking on a regular basis even though it doesn’t always show up here! Headed up to camp on the 15th, and I can’t wait.

The summer fruit right now is outrageously good… my philosophy is to mess with it as little as possible so it can shine as much as possible; hence the endless riffs on berry-stone fruit galettes.

case in point.

Anyway. Next time you need a layer cake for an occasion – or no occasion, maybe just for fun – might I recommend this one? I promise it’s delicious :)

I hope everyone has a lovely holiday weekend – hugs from my kitchen to yours.

Almond Cake with Dark Berry Filling, Chocolate Ganache, and Vanilla Icing

Not too sweet almond cake sandwiched with a marionberry & blackberry filling, dark chocolate ganache, and a vanilla buttercream. A celebration cake at its finest. Yield: 1 7-9″ cake, depending on what pan you use; serves several. This recipe is written slightly differently than usual; less of a list and more akin to suggestions. Most components can be made ahead, making this a good one to make in stages.

For the cake:

I use this cake, as written with the exceptions as follows: reduce sugar to a scant 1c per batch (I used fair trade cane sugar here); sub whole wheat pastry flour (*not straight whole wheat, it’s not fine enough).

For a 7″, 6 layer cake (3 layers, halved), I made 1.5 batches. I tend to make them ahead of time, wrap well in plastic wrap (the ONLY time it is allowed in my kitchen) and freeze them, at least overnight. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using or at room temp. Typically I will top them for flat layers, like I did here, but you don’t technically have to (though if you do, you can eat the scraps and everyone knows that’s the best part).

For the marionberry & blackberry filling:

Honestly, just use jam! It’s delicious, easy and just about the perfect consistency. If you’re feeling fancy, you can make a berry curd, like this:

Take 2 cups, ish, of frozen berries (I used blackberries & marionberries), and toss them in a saucepan. Add 1 tbsp maple syrup, zest and juice of one lemon, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-6 min, mashing the berries slightly with a spoon, until most of them have burst. Remove from heat, and strain into a heatproof bowl, through a fine mesh strainer, pressing to release as much juice as possible. Discard the seeds, or use them creatively somewhere else (maybe a smoothie or something?) In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water and set aside.

Return strained berry juice to the saucepan, and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Turn the heat back up to medium and whisk constantly, until the fruit starts to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cook for 1-2 minutes more (you’ll see it visibly thicken), then remove from heat and let cool completely. Chill in the fridge before using. Can be made up to one week ahead; store in an airtight jar in the fridge and stir well before use.

I ended up using a combination of both jam and curd, just for fun and also for flavor. You do you! All jam is completely fine and much faster.

For the frosting:

1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp whole milk

This is a very straightforward buttercream – using a hand (or stand) mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar a bit at a time, beating after each incorporation. Add yogurt, vanilla and whole milk and beat to combine. The frosting should be smooth and spreadable. Can be made ahead and refrigerated; beat before using to fluff it up. I do prefer to make this immediately before using just for ease, but it works just fine ahead of time too.

I like my cakes lightly frosted; if you’re making a cake that is going to be fully frosted with frosting also between the layers, make a double batch of what is listed here. This made exactly enough for me to use a thin layer between the cake layers + frost the whole thing naked cake style, but I only wanted a thin layer so that was exactly what I was after.

For the ganache:

Rough measurements – I used about 1c of dark chocolate + 1 tbsp coconut oil. Stir in a double boiler until melted, then use before it starts to set up again as it cools. Reheat as needed to bring it back to a drippier consistency if desired.

To assemble:

I wanted a 6 layer cake; to do that, I baked three 7″ layers, then topped them to flatten them out, and halved them. A serrated or just very sharp knife works well for this; just go slow.

Spread a thin circle of frosting on your cake stand or plate, just smaller than the cake itself. Plop down the first layer, followed by a layer of frosting, a layer of berry curd/jam, and a layer of ganache, then a layer of cake, then frosting, berry, ganache…. rinse, repeat. Once you have the final cake layer on, use an offset spatula to frost the rest. If you want a naked cake look, smooth it on but let the cake layers show like mine; otherwise, you can do a crumb coat, refrigerate, and then come back for the second frosting layer.

Top with ganache – you can have it drop down the sides, or not (I chose to not) – and fresh berries. Refrigerate before serving if it’ll be longer than a few hours and/or your kitchen is very warm; mine wasn’t so I left it out. It’ll do at room temp for a few hours but refrigerate any leftovers. Serve & enjoy!

On Saturdays we wear pink

She’s back!

Oof it’s been an age since I posted anything… I got stuck in a seemingly never-ending oven saga, but I think we’re safely out the other side of that now with a new range. Seems like moving is akin to starting a new relationship – you have to work out a new routine with the appliances and the space. Finally feels like I’m getting there with my kitchen – having gone through three different ranges in literally 2 months doesn’t help things, ha. Very grateful to be cooking at home again!

The not-so-new apartment is feeling more and more homey these days; I hung up a bunch of art and sorted out my disaster of a closet (1906 construction means I have a very all purpose “walk through” closet between my kitchen and bathroom that has to do triple duty for utilities, coats and linens and is extremely visible at all times so…. yeah. tricky tricky)

sunny turret, happy plants

So anyway! Back to normal baking programming. I made a few batches of cookies at C’s in the last month or so but nothing much beyond that – this was a welcome breath of fresh air. I missed making pretty things.

It’s rhubarb season! I think this might have been some of the first – hadn’t seen it in the market before now. I love how tart and jammy it is once baked – I never smother mine in gloppy sugar so if you like tart things, you’re in the right place.

This galette is for those of us who are engaged in an ongoing love affair with almond croissants (me. I resemble this remark) – it has a layer of jammy rhubarb, a layer of almond frangipane (fancy name for almond paste fluffed up with an egg) and a layer of slightly crunchy cornmeal and whole wheat crust. Perfect with ice cream for dessert or on its own for breakfast or a snack.

Happy weekend & happy baking!

Rhubarb and Almond Frangipane Galette

Lightly sweet and perfect for spring! If you love almond croissants like I do, this is your jam. Layer of jammy rhubarb, layer of almond frangipane, crunchy cornmeal crust. Whole grain and refined sugar free. A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 galette, serves several.

for the crust:
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp sea salt
4oz/1 stick of unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp ice water

In a food processor, pulse together whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sea salt. Add in cubed butter and pulse until it resembled coarse sand. Add vanilla and ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough starts to come together – I usually start with 3 tbsp and then add 1T at a time from there. Turn it out onto a board and knead it into a ball. I like to roll it immediately since it’s pretty forgiving dough – typically I haven’t had trouble with this dough sticking. I roll it between two sheets of parchment paper and use the bottom one to bake the galette on; makes an easy transferral method between cookie sheet & cooling rack. If you’re not rolling immediately, stuck it in the fridge on a plate. Can be made ahead the night before if need be. If you are rolling immediately, roll it out into a circle or rectangle about 1/4″ thick.

For the almond paste:
1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 small egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

3-4 Rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced
Coconut sugar + slivered almonds for decoration

Preheat the oven to 425.
In a food processor, blend almond flour, slivered almonds and sea salt until homogenous but slightly gritty. Add in maple, egg, and both extracts, and blitz until combined.

Spread the almond paste carefully (it’s sticky!) over the middle of the dough, leaving a 1″ border, then pile on the sliced rhubarb. Fold up the sides of the dough over the fruit and sprinkle with coconut sugar and slivered almonds. Brush the dough with milk or half and half. Pop in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in the fridge overnight – it’s great for breakfast :)

Minimum two types of citrus at all times, please

Blog friends!

Much has happened since I posted last – busy busy but also NEW OVEN! and NEW FRIDGE! Thank you to my building owners who might actually be best landlords on the planet. I now have an oven that tells me when it’s preheated (hooray!) and a fridge that a) is significantly larger than the previous tiny one and b) has a freezer on the bottom so I don’t have to stand on my head to see my vegetables.

Also, it fits things like this when they need to chill (the old one didn’t, without basically removing everything else from it… slightly problematic as you can imagine). My new place is definitely feeling more like home these days – I have been here exactly a month! Hard to believe. New furniture comes next week too, so I have a bit of rearranging to do this weekend.

Realized I hadn’t made a panna cotta in ages and I miss them – I got to make one for our camp director working weekend a week ago, but one just wasn’t enough. Besides, C requested citrus and it works so well in them.

sun photobomb from a run a few weeks ago

I decided to put it both in the crust and the panna cotta itself – definitely will be doing this again, it’s delicious! Not sure why I’ve never really put citrus zest into this crust but I’m glad I fixed that. Meyer lemons are still easily found around here too, so I’m trying to take advantage when I can.

This tart is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free – lightly sweet and definitely citrusy. There is chocolate too, but just a little – I didn’t want it to overpower the lemon in the panna cotta or the lime in the crust. The crust reminds me of a shortbread in its flavor; the whole thing goes well with vanilla ice cream or flies solo and shines when sliced into pretty wedges.

Happy weekending!

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta Tart on an Almond, Lime and Chocolate Crust

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several. A Wait are those Cookies original.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/3c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
zest & juice of two small limes
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp dark chocolate

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in lime zest and juice, vanilla extract, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9″ tart pan (w/ removable bottom) with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once the crust is out, melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave until smooth, stirring frequently. Spread a thin layer over the bottom of the crust. Let the whole thing cool to room temperature – once it’s cool, chill it in the fridge until needed.

For the Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1 can (14oz) full-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
zest of 2 meyer lemons
2 tbsp maple syrup
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 c lemon juice, divided and chilled

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the cold lemon juice. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add remaining 1/4 c lemon juice, lemon zest, maple, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, strain to remove lemon zest pieces (if they’re large; I use a microplane so often I will just leave them in), and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Whisk until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm – it should not be starting to set yet. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Top with whatever pretty things your heart desires! Serve cold out of the fridge. Store any leftovers covered in the fridge as well.

Sunny Citrus Bars and a Queen Anne Edwardian

Hi friends!

It’s been a minute and feels like an AGE since so much has happened since I posted last. Also. All of these photos look blurry to me and I can’t figure out why wordpress isn’t playing nice…. sorry about that. It’s not your eyes, I promise.

There is so much going on in the world right now… I’m going to take a minute to acknowledge that, but also choose to keep this space for life news and desserts only. I know we are all affected by global events, but sometimes you need to preserve a sunny little corner of the internet.

That being said – I have meyer lemon and lime bars for you today: these feel like a sunbeam incarnated into food form. A bit late in posting on account of a busy weekend (much needed friend & c’s fam time) but these bars were DELICIOUS so I wanted to make sure they made it on here. Not to mention, they’re the first real baked thing I’ve made in this kitchen, aside from cookies (those don’t count, I make them allll the time).

My new oven and I are still getting acquainted, but I think we’re getting there (and I also think my new oven thermometer is lying to me)… my oven is a bit funky, just like the grand dame of a Queen Anne Edwardian that I moved into. She’s a high ceilinged, mildly drafty beauty with a round turret, bay windows, original floors and gingerbready molding – and used to be a boarding house in the early 1900s!

Started the year before the 1906 earthquake, finished the year after. I am LOVING my new space, though admittedly having growing pains – what on earth do I do with this much space, I’m only one person?! I doubled my square footage after having lived in a studio for a loooot of years…. this feels enormous, but I’m getting used to it. New furniture helps too ;)

I’ll post some pictures one aforementioned furniture actually arrives – but for now a few little vignettes of my jungle deco (yes, that is an extremely accurate name for my aesthetic) beauty.

original rolled glass!

Okay okay back to the bars. Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free – easily grain free too, if need be (swap the cornmeal for an equal amount of almond flour, and use tapioca instead of cornstarch). A perfect dessert for this time of year when it seems like citrus is the only fruit that is really shining. Highly suggest the meyer lemon + lime pairing, though all lime or all meyer lemon (or regular lemon) would also be just fine.

Sending happy, sunny citrus vibes from my kitchen to yours!

+ plant. obviously.

Meyer Lemon and Lime Bars with a Hazelnut Crust

Tart, citrusy and nutty – a perfect dessert or snack. Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ pan – serves several.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour (packed)
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
1/3 c hazelnuts, finely chopped
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a tart pan with coconut oil. I use a 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom, but a deep pie dish or a square 9×9 would also work. You’ll be pouring the filling directly into the hot crust, so plan accordingly.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, chopped hazelnuts, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge. Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and lower the oven temp to 325.

For the lemon bar filling:

4 eggs
2/3 fresh citrus juice (I used 6 small meyer lemons + 1 large lime)
1-2 tbsp citrus zest*
1/3 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cornstarch (or tapioca starch)

*I zested all of my small meyers and half the lime since it was so big. I’d just zest all the citrus you use – waste not, want not! I had just shy of 2 tbsp

While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a large bowl, quickly whisk together eggs, citrus juice and zest, maple, and vanilla until the egg is fully incorporated – there shouldn’t be much (if any) white visible. Whisk in the cornstarch until fully combined. Pour the filling into the hot crust, and stick it back in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The filling should be set; no jiggle when you shake it. Remove and let cool completely before slicing – ideally, chill it for few hours before serving. Leftovers keep well overnight, refrigerated.