Currently viewing the tag: "apple"

It’s my favorite time of year: THE HOLIDAYS! The snow is snowing, the bells are jingling, and there is a constant buzz of excitement everywhere. The 10 year old in me still tends to get caught up in all the buzz; often forgetting to focus on the present, and enjoying each moment with gratitude. Often the Christmas season is about what we get, instead of what we give. The older I get, the more I let go of the getting aspect, and am working on teaching my littles the same. It’s a work in progress.

One thing that helps me in this regard is baking. I look for pastries with multiple steps that require some focus, and I find that the act of concentrating on a specific task not only helps me slow everything down, but also opens up an important door – the door that cares about the quality of my soul. I find myself thinking through things that often get pushed aside in the rush of life. Pie is one of these solaces; while it is a slice of self-care, it also is the best way to share. My family alone can’t (well, shouldn’t) eat an entire pie, so sharing some is a great way to interact with family, friends, and neighbors. It’s the perfect way to give.

I’ve teamed up with Land O’Lakes for a few posts over the rest of the year. I’ve been a big fan of their butter for years; I love how my baked goods turn out with it, and as they are a Minnesota-based company, it seemed like a natural fit. I often use their butter in my baking, and find the flavor to be heads and shoulders above other grocery store brands. The pie crust for this apple crème fraîche pie was made with Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter, and as usual, it was a hit. The crust was tender and flaky, and held up well to the gigantic pile of apples placed upon it. My children declared it their favorite pie, ever, which is saying something.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

Sources: Copper Sauce Pan by Mauviel || Fine Mesh Strainer by Rösle

Read More

Blueberry Apple Bars

A kind reader pointed out to me that there  is a slight mistake this Blueberry Apple Crumb Bar recipe in The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, so I’m putting the recipe here (with corrections). The ingredient list is correct in the book, but the directions mention ‘baking soda’ instead of ‘baking powder’, and list cinnamon in the filling when there is none. Sorry about that!

If any of you happen to live in Winona, Minnesota, or are visiting there this weekend, I’ll be doing a book signing at The Blue Heron Coffeehouse from 2-4 this Saturday, January 14th. The Blue Heron is the coffeehouse I talk about throughout my book, and where I learned to bake, and it’s wonderful to be going back for this event.

I am also teaching a class in St. Paul at Cooks of Crocus Hill Sunday, February 5th, from 1-2:30. I’ll be doing some demonstrations, sharing treats, and signing books. You can register here if interested!

You can find a few of my recipes from the book around the web. So many beautiful posts, I’m totally overwhelmed! Julie from Always with Butter made my chocolate chip cookies. Molly from My Name is Yeh made my yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Michelle from Hummingbird High made my cheesecake, and Cynthia from Two Red Bowls made my cheesecake with a hazelnut twist. Alex and Sonja from A Couple Cooks made my shortbread with chocolate. Food 52 made my oatmeal white chocolate cookies. Sara from Sprouted Kitchen made my whole wheat banana chocolate muffins. Cindy from Hungry Girl Por Vida made my honey cake and added grapefruit. Elizabeth from Brooklyn Supper made my orange cranberry bundt cake. Alana from Fix Feast Flair made my brown butter buttercream. Alanna from Bojon Gourmet made my peanut butter granola. There are a few more that I will post later!

Thank you again for all your support. It’s been so fun to see what everyone is making from the book on Instagram, and I appreciate all your kind words and reviews. If you make something from the book, please tag it #vanillabeanbakingbook so I can find it!

Read More

peach-apple-cherry pie
‘Have you been online yet?’ my husband asks from the couch. It’s 8:45 am, and I am searching the kitchen for breakfast. Most mornings, upon waking, I reach for my phone next to me on my nightstand, and check all the icons chirping at me like hungry baby birds. Email, facebook, instagram, twitter, usually in that order. I despise the impulse, but I’m too tired to stop my arm from reaching, and its become a daily habit. Summer vacation is upon us, however, and I’ve set new goals for myself. Wear a small gray arm band to record my daily steps. Read books at night before bed instead of falling asleep to the internet. Eat a healthy breakfast, then go ahead and see what the world brings.

So I hadn’t heard the news. ‘No,’ I replied. ‘Something bad?’  He handed me his phone with a stony face, and I knew instantly. Another shooting. I felt the pit in my stomach, the one that has been there since Columbine, that grew into something fierce after Sandy Hook. The one that triggered my anxiety the last day of school, just two days ago, the one that made me whisper as my kids left for the day: ‘Please, please, one more day. Let them come home to me.’
pie

pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

Read More

rhubarb-blueberry-apple pie | the vanilla bean blog
Last week I received my copy of The Homemade Flour Cookbook by Erin Alderson in the mail. I’ve been a fan of Erin’s site Naturally Ella for a long time, and last September had the pleasure of meeting her (and photographing her wedding). Erin is a hardworking, go-getting woman, and one of the most generous souls here in blogland. I’ve been terribly excited about her book.

The premise of the book is exploring ‘the different ways to grind flour including electric and non-electric grinders, food processors, blenders, and even coffee grinders, making it easy for any do-it-yourself homemaker to have fresh flour whenever needed.’ The flours range from barley and einkorn, to gluten-free grains like quinoa and corn, and even legumes: chickpeas, lentils, and beans all are used. Erin explains the different ways to grind them, and has a vast array of recipes for all kinds of eaters.

I had a pile of rhubarb in our garden, and a pint of blueberries that were on their way out, so Erin’s Whole Wheat Rhubarb Pie immediately jumped out at me. It’s a jem, and one I will look forward to making each summer.
rhubarb-blueberry-apple pie | the vanilla bean blog
(Also, A few things:)
Jennifer Causey and Yossy Arefi made this lovely video on the pie making process: Raspberry Rhubarb Pie.

Sara had her baby. I can’t get over these gorgeous and amazing photographs.

A little documentary by Flight of the Conchords. Don’t know how I missed this!

I love this song by PHOX.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! You could win a copy of Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book, a year subscription to Pure Green Magazine, a bottle of Lavender Extract from Hatchery, or a copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five

Read More

  I’ve always loved making tarts. Pies are homey, cakes are fancy, and tarts fall somewhere in between. They can be rustic or sassy, laid back or all dressed up.
I find I make tarts a lot for dinner guests. I used to always try to make them fancy – I used a tart pan, precooked the crust, added layers of fruit or chocolate. It was time consuming. Lately I’ve found myself going the rustic route. It still takes just as much time, but I love shaping the dough with my hands, letting it take it’s own shape and size. 
 These apple tartlets are a great dessert. They can be very rustic, or you can dress them up a bit. Their dainty size gives them a cute factor, but drizzled with caramel and bourbon whipped cream on the side makes them grown up, and maybe a little sexy.

Read More

JOIN MY NEWSLETTER!