Two-Crust Caramel Apple Pie

Yield: one 9-inch pie
Recipe: 96/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 86


     For my birthday we went apple picking as per my request since it is my favorite fall activity, and thus we had a ton of apples chilling in the fridge. The most normal thing to do with so many apples was to make an apple pie. My boyfriend loves caramel even more than he does apples I think, so I decided to try making this caramel apple pie recipe. It is a traditional apple pie but with a caramel flavor. However, I think that I did not let the sugar caramelize long enough because the caramel flavor was more subtle than I would have like. I guess I was worried that the caramel would burn, since the line between a perfect amber caramel and burnt caramel is very fine. Nonetheless, the pie was good, caramel was oozing out of the pie and we destroyed it in a matter of days.


  • 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 cups peeled and sliced apples, such as Mutsu or Granny Smith
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Turbinado or granulated sugar for sprinkling


  1. Pulled the chilled pie dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. Lightly dust the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with flour, and place it on a parchment- or foil-lined baking tray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of the pastry to just under ¼ inch thick. Lift the rolled dough, line the pie plate with it and sprinkle the pastry with the oats. Roll out the second disc of pastry to ¼ inch thick and cut a one-inch hole in the centre of the pastry so that the steam can escape as the pie bakes. Chill both the line pie plate and rolled top crust while preparing the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot, bring the water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil the sugar without stirring, ocassionnally brushing the sides of the pot with water, until the sugar caramelizes, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the apples all at once at stir to coat.
  5. Add the butter and cinnamon to the caramel-apple mixture and stir. Once the juices return the a simmer, remove the pot from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Pull the chilled pie shell from the fridge and pour the apples and all the juices into it. Do not worry about the excess liquid, the juices will be absorbed into the apples as the pie bakes.
  7. Top the fruit with the second rolled piece of pie pastry. Trim the excess dough and pinch the edges of the pastries into a decorative pattern, if you so desire.
  8. Whisk the egg with the water, and brush the pie dough with the mixture to obtain a golden brown color as it bakes. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. One the prepared baking tray, bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Let the pie cool at least 3 hours before slicing, or chill to serve cold.





Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue Frosting

Yield: one 10-inch tube cake
Recipe: 95/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 151


    At my workplace we have this lovely tradition that when it is someone’s birthday, the person whose birthday it was previously is in charge of making or buying a cake for them. Since mine was two weeks ago I had the privilege and mission of baking a cake for my boss. Knowing that he is not a big fan of very sweet desserts, I thought that I would try this recipe for an Earl Grey chiffon cake. I had never made a chiffon cake before so was happy to try it. It was more time-consuming to make than I had expected, many more steps, but in the end I managed. Due to the fact that the egg whites have to be whipped and the tea-chocolate-lemon-dry ingredients mixture prepared separately, you should give yourself a good hour to make the cake. It is not a complicated cake to make per se, but the recipe requires some level of technical skills that have to be put to use. If you take your time and follow the recipe to the tea you should have no problem at all.

    Once I poured the mixture into the tube pan I was a) excited somehow that the pan was ungreased and b) a bit doubting that it would work and that the cake would not remain permanently stuck to the cake pan. My cake took a bit longer to bake than the recipe recommends, about 60-70 minutes instead, but that may just be because of my inadequate and old oven. My favorite part of making this cake was spreading the sexy white, glossy maple meringue frosting onto the cake. What a delight! The frosting was delicious. Flavorful but not too sweet as many frostings are. The cake itself was also very good. A lot of flavors going on there, but not overwhelmingly so. You can definitely taste the Earl Grey tea and the lemon zest, while the chocolate and vanilla are more subtle. Very light and scrumptious cake; so much so that you won’t even feel guilty if you take two slices! I brought the cake to work the next day and it was faced with great feedback. Everyone loved it and claimed that it was the best cake I ever made. Even better than my carrot cake, apparently. I find that hard to believe, but this Earl Grey chiffon cake was indeed delicious. If you are looking to impress someone that is not a fan of too-sweet desserts, I urge you to try this recipe. As Anna herself mentioned in the cookbook, this is also one of my favorite recipes as of yet.


  • 2 tea bags Earl Grey
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 8 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups cake and pastry flour*
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 oz (90 g) milk chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 1 recipe Maple Meringue Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Steep the tea bags in the boiling water until the water cools to room temperature. Without squeezing the excess liquid, remove the bags, then top up the water to its original ¾ cup measure.
  3. With a hand or stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until the mixture is foamy, then slowly add ¼ cup of the sugar and continue whipping until the whites hold a medium peak. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or, ideally, into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, sift together the flour, the remaining 1 ¼ cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the cooled tea, vegetable oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whip this mixture on high speed until it is thick, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the melted milk chocolate and whip on low speed until blended.
  7. Gently fold in half of the egg whites by hand with a spatula until they are incorporated. Fold in the remaining whites. Note: Don’t worry if the batter is a bit fluid.
  8. Pour this mixture into an ungreased (yes, ungreased!) 10-inch tube pan. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed and until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Invert the cake pan onto a cooling rack and cool the cake upside down in its pan. To extract the cake, run a knife or spatula around the outside edge of the cake, then tap the cake out onto a plate.
  9. Use a spatula to spread the maple meringue frosting over the entire surface of the cake. You can use a small spatula to frost the cake inside the centre hole

Notes from Anna:

  • The cake can be stored at room temperature until ready to serve. It will keep up to 3 days.



Maple Meringue Frosting

Yield: about 2 ½ cups
Recipe: 94/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 152

    An earl grey chiffon cake with maple meringue frosting evidently calls for… maple meringue frosting. I thus made this lovely frosting recipe and was surprised by the fact that I could do it and furthermore that it was delicious (and not too sweet)! Frostings are usually not my forte, but this recipe is fail-proof and was just the right consistency for spreading. As a bonus, it is very glossy since it consists mostly of egg-whites, so very appealing on cakes.


  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. With a hand or stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then add the sugar and whip the whites just to a soft peak.
  2. In a small saucepot, bring the maple syrup to a boil and cook uncovered and without stirring until it reaches a temperature of 242°F on a candy thermometer.
  3. While beating the egg whites on medium speed, carefully pour the maple syrup into the meringue by pouring it down slowly down the side of the bowl. Continue whipping until the mixture has cooled but is not quite room temperature, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Notes from Anna:

  • This frosting should be used immediately after frosting.


Classic Chocolate Sauce

Yield: 1 cup
Recipe: 93/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 319


     It is a well known fact that I am a lover of chocolate and, to warm my heart, of hot chocolates. When I am feeling fancy I like to top it with a heap of homemade whipping cream and small pieces of broken peppermint candies. However, this time I thought that I would try this chocolate sauce recipe and drizzle it atop the whipping cream. I didn’t have bittersweet chocolate at home so I used dark chocolate and the sauce tasted good nonetheless. A bit sweeter than the use of bittersweet chocolate would have provided, but still very much enjoyable. This is an easy recipe for a good chocolate sauce that can be drizzled on top of, well, pretty much anything. Enjoy!


  • ¼ cup whipping cream (i.e. heavy 35% cream)
  • 3 oz. (90 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)


  1. Stir the cream, chocolate, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt together in a heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.
  2. Remove the sauce from the heat. If adding brandy, do it now. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature.

Notes from Anna:

  • This chocolate sauce is thick and rich and is best served warmed.
  • The chocolate sauce will keep in the refridgerator until the best-before date of the cream.


Lemon Tart (Tarte au Citron)

Yield: one 9-inch tart
Recipe: 92/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 110


     All that know me understand that anything chocolate is my favorite dessert, but I have been known to appreciate lemon desserts more and more over the years. As such, I decided to attempt doing the delicious tarte au citron recipe found in Anna’s cookbook. It was easy enough to make, especially once the tart shell (Part I) was done. Part II essentially consists in mixing all the other ingredients together and pouring into the tart shell, which I love! Simplicity at its best. However, one main problem that I had when following the tart shell recipe is a notorious problem that I always face when making tarts: the dough shrank while baking! Gasp! It is quite frustrating indeed to roll out and lay out the dough perfectly, trim the edges while making sure that the dough is not stretched to the top of the pan to then have it shrink in your oven. I even followed other bakers’ advice about making holes with a fork at the bottom of the dough to let it breathe and prevent bubble formation, as well as pressing down the dough with pie weights, but sadly my dough still shrank. I believe that this is a mystical phenomenon that I shall never understand. Am I not letting the dough rest enough before rolling? Too much? Letting the rolled-our dough chill too long in the pan? Maybe one day I will figure this whole “tart thing” out.

      In any case, the point that I was getting at is that since the dough shrank considerably, the baked tart shell was less high than expected, so I was not able to put all the delicious lemon filling in the tart shell for fear of overflowing. Nonetheless, once the tart was out of the oven and cooled completely my boyfriend and I had a taste and it was delightful. Citrus-y, light and yet packed with flavor. Quite good indeed. Due to the aforementioned problem the filling-to-crust ratio was much lower than I would have prefered, but the lemon tart as a whole still tasted very good, especially considering the few steps that are required to make it. Now if only I could figure out how to make the dough stay where it is… the world of lemon tarts would be much more delectable.


  • 1 recipe Sable Tart Shell
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the pan containing the baked and cooled tart shell on a baking tray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk and sugar until smooth.
  3. Whisk in the cream, sour cream, and lemon zest and juice until evenly combined.
  4. Pour this mixture carefully into the tart shell. Bake the tart on the tray for about 25 minutes, until the tart is set except for the middle three inches, which should still have a little jiggle to it. Cool the tart to room temperature, then chill in the pan for at least 2 hours before removing the outer ring of the pan to serve.


Sable Tart Shell

Yield: one 9-inch baked tart shell
Recipe: 91/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 108

    Next up: Lemon Tarte, also known as Tarte au Citron. To do this, of course, requires an appropriate and delicate tart shell.


  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake and pastry flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Beat the butter and the icing sugar together until fluffy using a hand or stand mixer.
  2. Stir in the egg, then add in the milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Stir in the flour and salt until the dough comes together as a ball. Note: the dough will be quite sticky.
  4. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and then chill it for at least two hours in the fridge, until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Knead the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to soften it just slightly. Dust the pastry with a little flour and roll in out to just over 11 inches in diameter and just under 1/4 inch thick. Line a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan and trim the dough that hangs over the edges. Chill the pastry for 20 minutes in the fridge, or for 10 minutes in the freezer.
  6. Placed the chilled tart pan on a baking tray. Dock the bottom of the pastry shell with a fork* and bake the dough for 20-24 minutes, until just the edges are golden brown and the centre of the shell looks dry. Cool completely before filling.

Notes from Anna:

  • Fill the tart shell soon after baking it, as it is fragile when not filled. However, the dough can be chilled for up to 3 days and then baked.

Notes from Valerie:

  • *So that the tart shell doesn’t shrink within the tart pan as it bakes, I strongly recommend that you place a layer of parchment paper or aluminium foil over the forked dough, then cover this with pie weights (or something heavy than can withstand high temperatures) to weigh down the shell as it bakes and bubbles.


Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Recipe: 90/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 280


     It has been 9 months that I have not posted on my blog! Scandalous! I guess time just flew past me without me noticing. I have been so busy with my work and with one particular lovely and long-lasting blissful event that I forgot to take time to myself to bake. Well I never stopped baking per se and of course never forgot about this blog, but I have been baking a lot less than usual in these past months and not often from the cookbook when I was. I plan on stopping this 9-month hiatus immediately and getting back to it. Only 112 recipes to go!

    I volunteered to make baked good for a bake sale at work to support the Terry Fox Foundation and came upon this recipe in my never-forgotten book. I always hesitated to do this recipe because 1) it requires almond or soy milk, which I never have, but most importantly, margarine is used in the frosting and I never trusted that. However, for once I actually had almond milk in my fridge so I thought that it was time to let go of my doubts and give this recipe a try. The cupcakes came out much better than I thought. They were not hard to make and baked very well. I only realized when I was done mixing the batter that I hadn’t used any eggs at all! It was such a strange feeling to me since I don’t think I ever made egg-free cupcakes. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my oven to find golden tops that had risen. The frosting, in contrast, was quite a different story. I followed the recipe exactly, but it turned into a big mess. I had a gut feeling that 1/2 cup of milk was way to much for the amount of icing sugar required since normally only 3-4 tablespoons are used, but I went along with it and regretted it instantly. The frosting was very liquid, so much so that I wouldn’t even have been able to spread it (I tried). I ended up having to add a ton of icing sugar, hard to say since I was doing it by feel but anywhere from 3-4 additional cups, to make the frosting the right consistency to be able to pipe nicely. Since I added so much, it was very sweet, but still edible. In hindsight, I should have listened to my gut feeling and added the milk little by little, starting with 3-4 tablespoons. It is better to add milk than to have to add that much more icing sugar. The only reason that I can think of that could have altered the consistency of the frosting is that I had left the margarine out on the counter for maybe 30 minutes, but it had not softened that much. I don’t expect that it would have had that much of an impact. Nonetheless, the cupcakes tasted fine but I did not find that they had a lot of flavor to them, even with all the sugar. Another point to note is that because these cupcakes are egg-free and dairy-free, the texture was very different from your traditional cupcake recipe and the cupcake was all stuck in the muffin liner and was very difficult to remove. I would suggest baking these in silicone muffin liners if you have them to facilitate their removal, after which you can place the cupcakes in cute paper muffin liners if you wish.

Ingredients for cupcakes:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups almond or soy milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 1 cup dairy-free margarine
  • 7 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup almond or soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two muffin trays with medium paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the almond or soy milk with the oil, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the liquids. Whisk vigorously until well blended. Note: The batter will not be very thick.
  5. Pour the batter into the paper-lined muffin tins, filling the cups two-thirds of the way full. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the muffin tin, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6. To prepare the frosting, beat together with a hand or stand mixer the margarine with half of the icing sugar. Mix until blended, then beat in the almond or soy milk and the vanilla extract. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until the frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cupcakes and store at room temperature.

Notes from Anna:

  • This recipe requires more sugar than your normal cupcake or cake recipe. This is because apart from adding sweetness, the sugar is essential to provide moistness since this recipe is  egg-free. With less sugar, the cupcakes would be dry and crumbly.

Suggestions to improve recipe:

  • Use silicone muffin liners when baking these egg-free and dairy-free cupcakes.
  • When making the frosting, do not add the whole 1/2 cup of milk at once. Start little by little, 3-4 tablespoons at a time, until you reach the desired consistency suitable for piping or spreading.