Archive of posts from 2016

    Chocolate Babka (à la Cheskie)


    I bookmarked this article earlier this year, intrigued by a Montreal bakery with Jewish pastries that I hadn’t heard about from my wife before. This week, my last in the office before the New Year, I brought in the babka to rave reviews.

    Panettone (BBA)


    I enjoy eating things with raisins in them. And dried fruit too. Oh, and cinnamon. There I said it. I’m one of those people that like things like spumoni and fruitcake. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to convince anyone in my family to enjoy these things. That didn’t stop me...

    Apple and Cheddar Scones


    A few weeks ago, I made an impulse purchase of three used cookbooks from ThriftBooks. The first volume arrived this week, a book by Bill Yosses (former White House pastry chef) and Melissa Clark, entitled The Perfect Finish. For a change of pace at breakfast, I tried making th...

    Custardy Apple Squares


    For a nice snack to share with colleagues this week, I made a simple one-bowl treat that showcased paper-thin Golden Delicious apples. It resembled a thick pancake or clafouti, and was delicious warm or cold.

    Vanilla Pear and Cranberry Pie


    I added this pie recipe to my “food projects to try” list last month. It had so many interesting ideas: warm spices, clementine zest and lots of vanilla in the filling, and rye flour in the pastry dough. Looking for a break from apples, I was excited to make this pear-cranberr...

    Skillet Apple Crisp


    For Sunday dinner, friends were bringing over wine and ice cream, so I wanted to make something… who are we kidding, we still have apples left! Apples, apples, apples! With no frozen pie dough rounds, I made a skillet crisp instead.

    Double Apple Pie


    Banana bread, carrot cake, apple pie: these are baked goods that I’m always willing to try a new recipe for. This “double” apple pie from Melissa Clark in the New York Times incorporates apple butter, which I happened to have made earlier.

    Apple Strudel


    A traditional strudel is something I’ve never attempted before. The pastry is difficult to make: I recall reading about some bakers using the edge of a table, to hang and stretch the dough into a paper-thin layer. This month’s issue of Cook’s Illustrated offered a strudel made...

    Apple Matafan


    I wanted to make a quick dessert for our casual Shabbat dinner last night. A simple apple and custard square recipe caught my eye in Baking Chez Moi, but, because I was rushing after coming home from work, I started making the wrong recipe, this apple matafan!

    Chestnut and Pear Tart


    My working parameters for a cake for my Dad’s birthday were “fruit or nuts, but no chocolate”. Instead of a cake, I made a tart featuring chestnut and pear. It was relatively simple (by the standards of a Pierre Hermé recipe) but wasn’t up to the standards of what I expect fr...

    Sweet and Chunky Apple Butter


    Fall brings apples, and every year at this time, I look for ways to use the fruit that we pick from the orchard ($90 worth this time!). Besides pies and crisps, which I make every year, I wanted to concentrate some of the apples into a spreadable butter.

    Classic Sourdough Bread (Pain au Levain)


    A recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine promoted a no-knead sourdough bread, and because I’ve got a nice, tangy levain right now, I wanted to try it. However, in the fine print, they noted that there’s an even better variation as an online extra. Their take on pain au le...

    Blueberry Maple Jam


    The 7th Annual Wild Blueberry Festival was this weekend at the Evergreen Brick Works, and we took full advantage. In addition to buying a large basket of berries, we bought more peaches and strawberries. After putting our kids to bed, my wife and I set out to make three diffe...

    Sourdough Boule (Bouchon)


    Most of the sourdough breads in the Bouchon Bakery book use a small quantity of liquid levain, but this recipe calls for a significant amount. This resulted in a loaf with an unmistakable flavour. Read on to find out why the first loaf was a disaster, and how I learned from m...

    Brown Butter Peach Tourte


    Our love affair with peaches continues: for a dinner we hosted on Friday night, I flipped through a Dorie Greenspan book and found a tart that I could make during the week.

    Peach Shortcakes


    Just can’t get enough… peaches, that is. This week, we probably purchased our fifth 3L basket of the season. Besides eating them out of hand, we’ve made pie, BBQ sauce, salsas, smoothies, ice pops, added them to tomato soup, and now this week, shortcakes.

    Brandied Cherries


    After returning from our cottage vacation in July, I really hoped that local sweet cherries would still be available. The farmer’s markets didn’t have any, but the supermarket still did, so I bought five pounds worth, with the intention of preserving them in liquor.

    Roasted Rhubarb Jam


    Our two weeks vacationing at cottages were split by a brief trip back to Toronto, where we spent a night hosting our out-of-town friends before they returned home. Using more of the rhubarb we brought back from Magnificent Hill, we made a quick syrup that evening, and enjoyed...

    Vegan Gluten-Free Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp


    We’re spending two weeks at two cottages this summer, in the Haliburton region. Yesterday afternoon, we passed a wonderful afternoon at Magnificent Hill, meeting farm animals, collecting chicken eggs, picking raspberries, and enjoying the outdoors. With the bounty we harveste...

    Sour Cherry Pie with Almond Crumble


    The passing of strawberry season marks the beginning of cherry season. At the farmer’s market this weekend, we picked up two baskets of sour cherries intending to turn them into jam. But the extremely hot weather deterred us from that canning project, and a last minute call f...

    Pain Rustique (Bouchon)


    Over the past two weeks, I’ve built up a liquid levain (wet sourdough starter) again and went back to the bread recipes in Bouchon Bakery. The first few loaves I made with this starter were a rustic white bread that had great chew, and a mild sour flavour.

    Royal au Chocolat (Trianon)


    This entremet of chocolate and hazelnut was impressive to behold, and, with its contrasting layers of flavour and texture, equally delightful to taste. There were a number of individual components to make and chill, but the end result was definitely worth it.

    Rhubarb Tart


    Most sweet recipes for rhubarb usually pair the stalks with strawberry, so it’s noteworthy to me when I see a recipe using the plant on its own. As you would expect from the Bouchon Bakery book, this tart wasn’t simple but, boy, did it deliver on taste.

    Fudge Cookie and Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches


    Sometimes kids surprise you, like when my son asked for ice cream sandwiches for his birthday instead of a cake. We obliged, of course, and I made an incredibly rich and delicious treat, enjoyed by both young and old.

    Twelve-Layer Flourless Chocolate Dobos Torte


    A cake with twelve layers sounds impressive, and this chocolate and cream tower really does make a stunning presentation. I originally made this cake as a dessert for the second night of Passover, but liked it so much, that I made it again a week later.

    Orange “Butter” Cake


    I’ve made at least four other flourless, orange cakes for Passover but I’m always on the lookout for new ones. As published, this cake isn’t KLP (kosher l’pesach), but with a few adjustments, and a trial run, we made two cakes very successfully for this year’s festival dinners.

    Cashew Crisp Chocolates


    In thinking about desserts for Passover this year, we wanted to be able to make some things ahead of time. Way back in April 2008, I spent a week making treats which I brought to Florida. I decided to make chocolates again as part of this year’s dessert selection.

    The Ultimate Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies


    Occasionally, my son and I do baking projects together, especially when the finished product is something he wants to eat. Such was the case this weekend, when he and I worked together to make this chocolate chunk cookie.

    Pear-Walnut Upside-Down Cake


    The idea of using ground walnuts, as well as caramelizing pears in an upside-down cake were instant draws for me when I saw this recipe in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. Unfortunately, the cake was a letdown.

    Old-Fashioned Lemon Bundt Cake


    Sometimes life hands you lemons, and sometimes you just forget you already had some, and you buy some more. That was the motivation behind this week’s lemon cake.

    Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins


    This line got my attention: “sweet but not sugary, packed with whole grains but not dense, and reasonably rich in fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats”. It’s from a recent article in the NY Times about a healthy muffin recipe. I gave it a try and was pleased ...

    Corn Bread (BBA)


    For a dinner my wife hosted for her grad students, we made a vegetarian chili and wanted cornbread to go with it. The version in Bread Baker’s Apprentice is one I’ve made a few times before, but have never written about. It’s easy to make, and is full of corn flavour.

    Chocolate Pudding with Caramel Crisped Rice Cereal


    For a spur-of-the-moment dinner for guests on Saturday night, I wanted to have a make-ahead sweet course to leave time for the other dishes. This pudding was easy to make, and the two garnishes really elevated the dessert.

    Chocolate Phantasmagoria


    There’s no sweet ingredient more beloved by my wife than chocolate. So, naturally, I knew a chocolate cake would make her (Valentine’s) day. I pulled out one of Marcel Desaulniers’ books, Death By Chocolate and found just the right dessert.

    Chewy Chocolate Cookies


    As parents of a junior kindergarten student, we’re now part of the school community. An email announcing a bake sale arrived in our inboxes a few weeks ago, and Dr. S and I had a spirited discussion about what I should make. In the end, a chocolate-based cookie won out.

    Almond Sweet Soup (杏仁糊)


    We celebrated Chinese New Year this weekend, ahead of the actual lunar New Year’s Day on February 8. As part of our meal, I wanted to try my hand at a tong sui (糖水), a Cantonese style of dessert, in particular, an almond sweet soup.

    Fougasse (Cook’s Illustrated)


    I learned a lot about baking bread from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and that book is where I first encountered fougasse. I don’t think I’ve made it since a class at George Brown. But when the most recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated landed in our mailbox, I ...

    Miso Sourdough Bread


    As someone who purposefully looks to try new recipes on a constant basis, I couldn’t resist making a bread that featured miso as a star ingredient. While it may not be a true sourdough, the bread definitely had a distinctive taste.