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September 29, 2016

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

This is one of those fancy looking desserts that is actually very easy.  It is just a simple chocolate cream pie that I made in a Rectangle Tart Pan (available in my store, here).  I updated it for Fall by adding brown sugar to the whipped cream and chopped caramel corn on top.  I would've used toffee, had I had it... but we were being resourceful!   I used store-bought pie crust, but next time I might do a graham cracker crust for more of that salty/sweet crumbly texture.  Emma and I had a great time after school one afternoon and made this together.  I piped half and she piped the other half... in case you are nervous about the piping, now you can see that a 4-year-old can do it : )

Products Used : 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

Pastry Crust :
store bought, or this recipe
or graham cracker crust

Chocolate Filling : 

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 1/2 cups of milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of butter

Topping :
2 cups of heavy cream
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste...
caramel corn
or toffee

Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

For the chocolate filling, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.  Whisk in milk.  Cook over medium-high, stirring constantly.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until it is bubbly and thick.  In a separate large bowl, whisk egg yolks together.  Add a small amount of the chocolate mixture to the eggs and stir.  Stirring constantly, continue to add small amounts of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks until completely combined.  Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat just until it begins to boil.  Stir in vanilla and butter until smooth.  Pour into the crust.  Chill in the refrigerator.

Beat together cream, brown sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Pipe on the top of the chocolate layer with the Starburst Tip.   Chop caramel corn or toffee pieces and sprinkle on top.

I used a store bought pie crust and pressed it into the form.  I used my pie weights (thanks, Granny!) while it baked to keep it from bubbling up and losing shape.

I poured the chocolate filling (basically thick pudding) in to the shell when it was cool.

I loved the Brown Sugar Whipped Cream.  We put in extra Vanilla Bean Paste so it had so much warm flavor.

See somebody licking the whisk in the background while I'm filling the pastry bag?

I like to use the 18" disposable pastry bags for whipped cream since it is usually a large quantity.  This is the starburst tip that looks very fancy : )

This is what it looks like to have a mouth full of whipped cream straight from the piping bag.


More licking, also typical.

You can see Emma's half in this one!  She's getting it down : )

See all of the vanilla beans and brown sugar?

Chopped up the Caramel Corn with a knife.  It added great texture and crunch.

Can't wait to do a pumpkin tart in this for Thanksgiving!

September 27, 2016


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September 24, 2016

Spiced Apple Pie | Fall Favorite Desserts

I haven't always been a fan of apple pie.  In fact, my first real apple pie moment wasn't until last year when I made this Apple Cranberry Crisp made with orange juice and zest along with cinnamon and nutmeg.  For me, the addition of the orange made everything work together so perfectly and it added a new dimension of flavor.  While baking, my house smelled like hot mulled cider - typically simmered with orange peel.  

With that recipe in mind, I created this classic Apple Pie recipe that is also laced with orange zest and juice.   You might remember I featured my "How to Make a Pretty Pie" tutorial and recipe last year before Thanksgiving.  We used that recipe and technique when making this pie - Emma helped me make and roll it out (which is so easy to make, by the way) even with the additional extra pair of hands and toes that seem to be becoming her favorite cooking utensil. 

If you've never made a pie before, it can seem daunting.  But, you really should try it.  It is so satisfying to make something so pretty, so comforting and so classic.  And the good thing about pies is the more rustic looking the better...

Apple Pie

New! Printable Recipes, here.

2 pounds Granny Smith apples
2 pounds Braeburn apples
1/2 orange, zested
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons of butter
My Easy Pie Crust Recipe
1 egg for egg wash

In the photos, I used my Natural Linen Tea towel (2 for $24) that are a new addition to my store for Fall.  I had a rush for orders on them last week when I first posted the photo, but will be restocked to ship more by October 4th.  You can go ahead and place an order now to make sure you get your name on a pair in this shipment.

Here are the dry ingredients for the pie dough mixed with the butter in my mini food processor - I had to make it in two batches - which worked great because I needed two crusts for a top and bottom. 

Again, the recipe is here :  "How to Make a Pretty Pie" tutorial and recipe

And here it has come together after the addition of cold water.

I found a great new use for the parchment sheets (that I carry in my online store, here).  You know how you are usually supposed to chill the dough before rolling out and baking?  The reason for that is so when the pie bakes, the butter is still cold and puffs up in the hot oven, creating a flaking crust.

Well, instead of refrigerating, then rolling, we rolled the just processed dough out onto the parchment sheet (while it was still nice and soft), then refrigerated it. 

I rolled both pieces of dough out, then stacked them on top of each other on a baking sheet to chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. 

Here is my mix of Braeburn & Granny Smith apples.  Plus 1 orange.

I hate peeling apples (and potatoes and carrots, for that matter) so I don't.  You can if you want, but I think by the time they bake in the pie, it doesn't really matter.  I like to slice them really thin so they stack nicely to create a tall layered pie.  When the thin pieces are stacked, they make each piece sturdy so it doesn't fall apart when you slice it.

Zest the orange, then juice.

Here are the apples tossed with the zest, juice, flour, sugar and spices.

After I took the dough out from the refrigerator, I rolled each piece a little more with the rolling pin to make it easier to manage, then flipped it and put it in the bottom.   Pile the apples in, then dot them with the butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Top with the 2nd crust and crimp the edges.  Again, instructions for my crimping method are here : "How to Make a Pretty Pie" tutorial and recipe

I put 6 slits in the top using a small knife.  While I pinch the edges, Emma put her own tiny little pinches on the top crust.

Make an egg wash by beating 1 egg with a fork.  Brush the top crust with the egg, then generously sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, then cover with foil, reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes.

I served this pie on a Sunday night after Braised Short Ribs for dinner... oh, did our house smell good.

As I mentioned in the previous post about our Sunday Night Suppers, as the air gets cooler I love to fix things that simmer on the stove or in the oven all day (like these Short Ribs).   What are some of your favorite feel good Sunday Night Meals?  I'm making my to-make list for Fall and I'd love to know your favorites.  

September 22, 2016

Welcome Autumn Collection

Welcome, Autumn.  Finally, what we yearn for all year long.  The first dewy, crisp mornings that require a jacket for an early walk.  Golden autumn sunlight through the trees while the first leaves are fluttering down on the way to the store.  Warm soups for family dinners, with bubbling apple crisp for dessert.  Those dreamy chilly evenings on the back porch under a blanket with hot tea.  I'm so ready and so thankful that Autumn is here.

Classic Sunburst Wreath, $30

I first spotted this wreath at the Verrill Farm Stand when we lived in Concord, Massachusetts.  I instantly loved it.  It felt classic and welcoming, but a little primitive and country.  There aren't many farmhouses in New England without one.

Gold Leaf Frames & Creamy Mat Boards

After receiving so many requests for these frames (and needing to buy more for my own home...) I decided to track them down and carry them in the store.  They've worked in every room I've use them and always add an element of sophistication.  They aren't too ornate, but definitely feel more classic than contemporary.  I use them with a creamy photo mat, I've also added to the store.

Shop Frames, here
Solid Wood Frame with black edges and gold leaf front.
8"x10" frame + 8"x10" mat, for 5"x7" prints
11"x14" fram + 11"x14" mat, for 8"x10" prints
Botanical Prints : The frames are pictured here with my Fall Botanical Collection $4-6/print, found here.  
Creamy Photo Mats : The creamy white mats are available here.

Warm Velvet Ribbon

This ribbon is so luscious.  The colors are warm and perfect for this season right through the holidays.  I've been tying it on baked goods, around bottles of wine and anything else that needs a little warmth or dressing up.  
1/4" velvet ribbon x 25 yards, $12 

Indigo Stripe Potholder & Oven Mitt

Sold separately.

You know I love seasonal accents, but sometimes I just need something classic and season-less when it comes to things like potholders.  I love elements like this for my kitchen that feel utilitarian and simple, yet beautifully designed.


Indigo Stripe Apron

This is another kitchen classic that coordinates with the Oven Mitts and Potholders.  Utilitarian and beautiful design get me every time.


Fluted Tart Pan, Rectangle, $24

I've coveted this shape of tart pan for so long.  It seems that anything made in it looks more chic and elegant.  Here, I've made a simple puff pastry (frozen) topped with sliced apples and brie.  It was so simple and yummy - and looked fabulous because it was made in this long elegant pan.

I also made a salted chocolate & caramel tart with brown sugar whipped cream and toffee crumbles... so. good.  I'll be sharing later.

I received our 9" Round Tart pan as a wedding gift and have used it countless times - truly an essential in my kitchen.  I use it for savory quiches, chocolate cream tarts and this caramel pecan tart.  Anything made in this tart pan turns out elegant and beautiful.
I'm planning to make an apple and cranberry crisp this weekend - I'll be sure to share.

Willow Serving Baskets, $32

These have been around for a while and are still so popular.  I use mine all of the time to turn very ordinary elements into something special looking.  They are great for transforming cheese and cracker appetizers to a company worthy display.

Olive Meena Print Napkins, Set of 4, $32

These warm toned block print napkins will be on our table every night this fall.  They also go perfectly with my Spode Woodland china pattern : )

Autumn Candles are back in every size - 6", 12" & 18" tapers.  It is the simplest way to update your home for Autumn.

Shop all candles, here.

Brown & White, $16-18 for set of 3

The Brown & White Ceramic containers are back, too.  Last year I planted paperwhite bulbs for friends and gave them as hotess gifts.  They also make great centerpieces and vessels for anything from potted herbs to clementines.

Small Set of 3, $16
Medium Set of 2, $14
Square Set of 3, $28.50

My Everyday Candles, $24

I had a batch of my Everyday Candles poured into brown & white containers - the perfect transition to autumn.

Cozy Wraps

I'm entering an different realm here and a little out of my normal zone here on the blog : )

I'm not much of a style expert when it comes to trends, as I usually stick with simple classics.  I bought this new leather bag (Madewell) and it will be my daily companion for a couple of years.

The other essential that I will also ways have with me is a cozy wrap.  Because my outfits are pretty basic, I always have a wrap to change it up.  Last year my friend had this particular herringbone wrap and I was in love, so I tracked it down.  I also loved it because they were super affordable.  I bought several versions because I always need a varied supply : )

Deep Charcoal Herringbone, $32
Fawn Tan Herringbone, $32
Plaid Brown Blanket Scarf, $32 

This huge and heavy wrap could even be used as a throw over a side chair or a runner down the table - I've done both!

Plaid Camel, Cranberry & Brown Scarf, $18

This scarf has a touch of reddish cranberry/raspberry along with camel, brown and cream.  It looks great with my light blue chambray shirts.
And, for some restocks of the Classic Home Collection :

The LePens and Tablets have been restocked : )
And the very popular Grocery Tablets.
The Wheat Bundles are back from last year - so great for adding a natural element on your mantle or down the center of your table.
Finally, the Softest Throws Collection has been completely restocked, too.

Happy Autumn, Friends : )

Browse the entire Welcome, Autumn Collection, here >

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