#68, Apple Tart with Hazelnut Brown Sugar Topping

“This tart is a nice alternative to apple pie, and it makes a great dessert for a dinner party, especially if served with vanilla ice cream and perhaps some caramel sauce.”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/idq2G.l



I am feeling homesick – for France. As I look at the photo above, I am thinking of all the apple trees at Chezbonneau that need pruning and the chestnut tree not far away from the kitchen window.

Wanna see a picture of our apple orchard? Sure you do.

 This photo is from our first summer at Chezbonneau, 12 years ago. 

Back to business. What about that tart?

LEARNING: Crust – filling – topping. I knew the crust would be the hardest part for me. Making great pie crusts represents an area in need of much learning and practice. I am still afraid and hesitant every time it comes time to making a pie for this reason. And, as it turns out, I hit a bump — getting the dough off of the table and into the pan without breaking it.

Feels “oopsy” to me. You know, like something “oops” is about to happen.

In the end, I managed, but not without tearing the freshly rolled out dough. Luckily, this recipe is very, very, pliable and forgiving.

At this point, it looks promising.

Time to stop complaining and worrying. It DID turn our great and I’m happy about this tart for a couple of reasons.


REASON #1: See that beautiful crust? You wouldn’t know that it was a very patched-up pie. I am considering making this my GO-TO-RECIPE for pie crusts. Could you use this crust for other things like a quiche? Yep. Just leave out the two table spoons of sugar (which I wasn’t supposed to put in anyway — but it was an accident).


REASON #2: This recipe is headed in the direction of my original inspiration for baking – somewhere between French and American pastry making. This is not a typical French or American apple tart. Actually, I would probably get a “you’re a foreigner” look for saying “tart”instead of “pie”. But I am sure that both French and American folk would reach for a second piece of this. Everyone in our family did.

#29, Cranberry Orange Bread

A Thanksgiving tradition in some families.


The two stars of this show.

Before we get started, have you ever wondered why “banana bread, zucchini bread, etc.” are called breads and not cakes? I’ve been asking myself that question, especially after having a bite of this festive jewel. Oh… Here’s the answer.

Why didn’t I wait until Thanksgiving to bake this? It’s not even Halloween yet. For very practical reasons: 1) I had all the ingredients handy, 2) I needed something easy to do and ALL of these “bread” recipes are SO EASY to make and 3) THEY ARE SO GOOD!!!!, 4) It’s never too early to dream about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Where’s my coffee?

DETOURS? None that I know of. At least not a big deal. I did end up with a tad bit extra orange juice and a bit of pulp in the mixture due to my zesting technique (or lack thereof). I held my orange over the batter trying to let the zest fall directly in but my orange was very soft and kind of squished all to pieces and into the mixture. LUCKY ME/WE!  …….. Yeah. Why not? Why not have orange pulp as part of the recipe? Why not call for fresh squeezed oranges in the recipe? The Magnolia book sticks to very traditional, late 20th century, easy-in-the kitchen recipes for the most part. The Magnolia bakers really do present a kind of classic Americana.

This classic piece of Americana with classic American fruits of oranges and cranberries is headed for a Kiwi I know.