Jammy Almond Tarts

These exquisite tarts are filled with apricot jam and velvety almond cream, a not-too-sweet ground-nut filling often used in French pastries. The tarts are lovely topped with toasted sliced almonds or sweet plums. I made these tarts for years without jam until a friend mentioned that his European mother made a similar pastry with preserves. […]

Linzer Torte Cookies

Nothing says holiday like a sugar-dusted cookie filled with jam. Linzer Torte cookies are scrumptious and gorgeous in equal measures. Made of toasted ground almonds, sweet butter and a whisper of lemon zest, these dainty cookies sandwich a filling of raspberry preserves. An adaptation of Austria’s classic Linzer Torte, these cookies are one of the […]

Almond Chocolate Toffee

The first time I made toffee, it turned out beautifully: a crisp sheet of caramel-coloured ice that snapped into shards of buttery bliss. The second time I made toffee, it crumbled in my hands. The third time, it turned a grainy mess ….  I’ve had my issues with toffee. Fortunately, I discovered a few tips […]

Chocolate Soufflé

Soufflé:  A delicate baked dessert, made of stiffly beaten egg whites, that rises and deflates faster than it takes to sprint from the oven to the table. Soufflés wait for no one but chocolate soufflés are more forgiving; more robust than their pale counterparts. So sturdy, in fact, they can be prepared in advance and […]

Apple Turnovers

There’s something special about a pastry you can pick up with your hands. Turnovers are daintier than pie and easier to prepare.  Because the filling is precooked, the pastry stays crisp, not soggy. Best of all, turnovers can be made in advance and stored, unbaked, in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. I’ve […]

Caramel Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée and crème caramel — the two are easily confused.  Especially if you take the best part of crème caramel, the caramel, and infuse it in your crème brûlée. Just to set the record straight, crème caramel is the light custard that’s served inverted onto a plate, caramel base up, with the golden syrup pooling dramatically […]

Savarin Cake

Savarin filled with tipsy fruit

If you like your cakes boozy and moist, this yeast cake is sure to become a favourite. Once the cake is baked, it is saturated with warm cherry brandy (Kirsch) or rum-spiked syrup. The cake soaks up the booze like a drunken sponge and swells in a happy stupor. You can, of course, omit the […]

14 Layer Birthday Cake

When my twin daughters turned three, I baked them a very special three layer cake, one layer for each precious year. This year’s birthday cake has 14 layers, one layer for each wonderful, tumultuous, year. I love traditions, no matter how precarious. This is my take on the classic French Opera cake, traditionally made with […]

Meringue

I learned to make meringue at culinary school and soon forgot all about them – until a home exchange in Bordeaux and Paris a summer ago.  Everywhere I looked, meringue were piled high in bakery windows as if they were something special.   My twin daughters begged me to buy them.   “Girls, they’re only […]

Raspberry Charlotte

Just in time for Easter, this delicate Charlotte is perfect for ushering in the spring. If you’ve the stamina to create a layered cake, then you’ve got what it takes to make a Charlotte. With a little patience, and a pastry bag, you can create a dessert worthy of a French Patisserie.  And, if you’re […]