Maple Apple Crumble



Crumbles are basically inverted fruit tarts. They are so easy to make and so delicious to eat. Although you can use many different fruits to make them (think peaches, pears, raspberries), the staple is usually apple. This recipe offers the perfect balance between sweetness and butter. It takes a little more than an hour to bake, but very few minutes to make.


For 6-8 people




Fruit Layer

5 apples, peeled and cubed

3 pears, peeled and cubed

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp salted butter, cut into small pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In a baking dish, mix fruit with maple syrup and cinnamon.
  3. Dot with butter.




Crumble Layer

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed


  1. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, brown sugar and salt together. Add the cubed butter and work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the dough looks crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle the dough evenly over the uncooked fruit layer.
  3. Bake for 1hour to 1h15 minutes or until golden brown.







I have been attempting (key word, attempting) to make puff pastry for the past three months now. Each time, it has been a huge failure. Either the butter melted out of the pastry while baking or the dough failed to rise or the butter snuck out of the raw flour mixture while rolling. Once, I got so fed up that I stuck balls of ruined dough into a muffin pan and baked them. They turned out tasting like croissants, but looking like muffins. Muffants, anyone?

Okay. Muffants aside, I was on a mission. Make and bake real croissants. Being stubborn came in handy because at my fourth attempt, I made it.


The 2 keys to achieving puff pastry:

  • Keep all ingredients very cold.
  • When you incorporate the butter disc into the dough, pinch the sides to lock the butter in and don’t over-roll.






1 ½ tsp granulated yeast

2 tbsp sugar

1 + 2 tbsp cup warm water


1 ½ tsp salt

2 tbsp salted butter, melted

3 cups flour, plus more for working

1 cup cold unsalted butter


1 large egg, beaten





  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the salt and the melted butter to the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of the flour, and mix until blended. Gradually add the remaining flour and beat until the dough comes together in a sticky ball.
  • On a clean, floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 40 minutes.


  • While the dough is chilling, put the remaining cup of cold butter in a Ziploc and pound with a rolling pin until flat and rectangular (1/3 of the size of the rectangular dough). Place the butter in the fridge to harden (about 40 minutes).


  • Take your dough out and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Put butter disc in the middle of the dough. Fold one side over the butter, then the other and pinch the sides so that the butter is locked in.
  • Roll it out into another rectangle and place in the fridge 30 minutes to harden.
  • Take out of fridge. On a lightly floured surface, fold the sides up like a letter again and, with the short side facing you, roll out into another 16 x 10 inch rectangle. Fold the ends up like a letter.



  • Turn dough again so the short side is facing you, and use the rolling pin to press down into a third 16 x 10 inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.


  • To form the croissants, cut the dough in half and place one half in the fridge while working with the other half. Roll out into a long but not wide strip. Using a sharp knife, cut into triangles.


  • Using both hands, roll starting at the wider side and tuck the ends together to form the crescent shape. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the croissants on the baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart, cover with a kitchen towel and set to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.



  • Preheat to 425 degrees F or 200 C. Whisk the egg and with a pastry brush, brush the shaped dough. Bake 18 minutes or until golden brown.



Optional: To freeze the croissants, after shaping them and placing them on the lined baking sheet, cover and freeze for 2 hours. Remove the pan and place the croissants in a freezer safe bag and seal. Immediately place back in the freezer. To bake, allow the croissants to thaw overnight in the fridge and then bake as directed.

Salted Caramel and Vanilla Eclairs





I rarely make éclairs because I rarely eat éclairs. And the reason I rarely eat them is because I don’t really find them good. The pastry cream is often too sweet and sticky, and the choux casing is often dry and rubbery. The only consistently good part is the icing. However, in the past few months, it’s become all the rage in Paris. Specialty shops and éclair counters are popping up literally everywhere with an array of colorful, freshly-assembled éclairs. The flavors offered are endless, only the shape remains unchanged.

This is my second attempt at éclair making. The first one was years ago and a complete fail. This time, I used a French baking blog (la cuisine de Bernard) for a step by step explanation. And it paid off.

Making éclairs is laborious—I will not hide that. The pastry cream needs to be smooth and creamy, which means not over boiling the milk and not scrambling the eggs. The choux dough needs to be light and fluffy, which translates in a lot of elbow grease. My arm still hurts as I type this blog post out. J

But ultimately, if you have the time and the will to make these delicacies at home, do it. They are hands down the best, most scrumptious dessert when well made.

By the way, you need to count two days from start to finish. According to Bernard (the chef I inspired myself from), the baked choux casing and pastry cream need to rest overnight to facilitate the assembly.




Makes 10 big éclairs or 20 small ones


Pâte à choux

(make the day before)

60 ml water

60 ml milk

55 g salted butter (if you don’t have salted butter, add a ½ tsp salt to the batter)

3 g sugar

2 eggs

70 g flour

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C or 400 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the milk, water, sugar, and salt to a simmer.
  3. Once the mixture simmers, take off heat and add in the flour all at once. Beat energetically.
  4. Return to heat and, whisking continuously, dry out the batter for a minute over medium heat.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add a little bit of the flour mixture into the eggs and whisk super-fast so as not to cook your eggs. Add a bit more and beat again. Repeat until the eggs are homogenously incorporated into the dough.
  6. Place the dough in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.
  7. Pipe out finger-long éclairs (for mini, use your pinkie as reference – for normal, use your major). Try to keep them as flat as possible because they puff up a lot!
  8. Bake for 17 minutes (for minis) and 23 minutes (for normal) or until dough is puffed and golden.




Vanilla Pastry Cream

(make the day before)

500 ml 2% milk

50 g salted butter

55 g pastry cream powder (it’s a baking specialty product you should be able to find in the baking aisle – it makes the cream super creamy)

5 egg yolks (keep the whites for Italian meringue! Yum)

100 g sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 50 g sugar and the pastry cream powder. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, mix the milk, butter, and the remaining 50 g of sugar. Boil.
  3. Take off the heat. Pour a little bit of warm milk on the eggs and whisk vigorously.
  4. Add a bit more, and beat again. Repeat until the eggs are combined with the flour.
  5. Pour mixture into saucepan and return to medium heat. Add vanilla. Whisk for 3 minutes or until your pastry cream has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Pour into a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. The wrap should touch the mixture to prevent it from drying out. Place in the fridge overnight.
  7. To use the cream, take out of fridge and whisk until smooth.
  8. Place in a piping bag fitted with a very small fluted nozzle and make 2-3 indents (directly with the nozzle into the top of each éclairs – for small éclairs, make on hole near either extremity – for normal ones, make one hole in the middle and 1 near either extremity).
  9. Pipe out the cream into each hole until you see it begin to pop out of the holes. Run your finger over any runaway cream and smooth the top.






Salted Caramel Icing

90 g sugar

100 ml water

30 g salted butter

2 tbsp crème fraiche (or sour cream)

  1. In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water on high heat.
  2. Once it begins browning, take off the heat. Add the salted butter.
  3. Place over low heat. Add the cream. Mix until smooth.
  4. Take off the heat. Carefully, dip the side of the éclairs that have the holes in them into the icing.



Honeyed Almond Tart

Hello, everyone! I’m back. Finally… I’ve been so busy with writing and editing my book that it has taken a toll on my baking. I have a whole slew of recipes to add. I’ll begin with this yummy and super simple almond tart.


I found the recipe on David Lebovitz’s website. It is extremely simple to make and incredibly delicious. I made mine without the egg (by mistake), and it was delicious and held together. In our world where everyone is allergic or intolerant to something, this dessert is great because it can easily become a vegan option (you just have to replace the butter with margarine).




Sweet Crust
½ cup almond powder
¾ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
90 g butter, chilled and cubed
2 tbsp cold water


1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF or 200ºC.
2. Line a round baking pan with parchment.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the almond powder, flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and whisk until crumbly. Pour in the water and whisk until it just comes together. Ball up and press onto the parchment.
4. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.
5. Remove from oven but it keep the oven on.


Caramelized Almond Topping
60 g salted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raw sliced almonds


1. While the dough is baking, make the topping by melting the butter, sugar, and honey in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved (1-2 minutes).

2. Remove from the heat, and add the vanilla extract and the sliced almonds. Stir until the nuts are perfectly coated with the honey caramel.

3. Scrape the mixture onto the baked crust. Spread evenly.

4. Bake for 12 minutes until the whole tart is golden.

5. Let cool before slicing.



The Best Scones Ever

The Best Scones Ever |

Let me start by saying that this isn’t my recipe but it is so incredible it deserves to be shared. This is by far the best scone recipe I have ever made. The scones were the perfect texture (flaky, melt-in-your-mouth) and taste (not too sweet). So thank you Julia Moskin for sharing this recipe in the New York Times. This is one that will be made over and over and over and over…I think you get the point.

The Best Scones Ever |


The Best Scones Ever (Recipe by Julia Moskin “Master Recipe for Biscuits and Scones”):

Makes 8-10 Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed

2 eggs, divided

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup raisins (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the butter and using your fingers break it into the flour until the butter is pea-sized. If you have a pastry cutter, you can of course use that.
  4. Form a well in the center of your dry ingredients. Whisk 1 egg into the heavy cream and pour into the well you formed in your dry ingredients.
  5. Using your hands, mix the dough until it’s shaggy.
  6. Add the raisins and mix into the dough.
  7. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough a few times until the ingredients just come together. This dough will seem dry and may fall apart on you. That’s totally normal. DO NOT ADD LIQUID. It will weigh the dough down and you will lose the incredible texture. Pat the dough into a 1 inch thick rectangle. I like using a rolling pin so that the top stays relatively smooth.
  8. Using a sharp knife cut the dough in half lengthwise and then slice into 8-10 even rectangles. Using a spatula or your knife, carefully slide the scones onto your prepared baking sheet.
  9. Whisk the last egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.
  10. Bake for 22 minutes until light and golden, rotating halfway through your baking time. Allow to cool on the baking sheet and enjoy warm or room temperature within 24 hours (they get hard after that).

Honey & Almond Cigars

After years of buying them already made, I attempted to make my very own crispy, honey cigars. To facilitate my endeavor, I bought a fryer. I’ve been deep-frying way too many things since, but I digress. This oriental delicacy takes a long time to make (around 1h30 from start to finish), but it’s worth every single minute.


I’ve always found oriental desserts a tad bit too sweet, so I lessened the sugar content in the stuffing and made a honey syrup instead of using pure honey. The result is PERFECT!



Makes 24

For the almond stuffing

250 g almond meal

40 g icing sugar

1 egg white

40 g vegetable oil



  1. Mix all ingredients except the water.
  2. Gradually add 1tbsp of water at a time so that the mixture forms a dry paste (like play dough). See picture below.


  1. With clean hands, roll out long ovals and set on a plate.





For the shell

Phyllo dough (1 pack should be enough to make 24 cigars)


Vegetable oil


  1. Place your phyllo dough on a clean surface and divide in 4 if dealing with rounds. Cut into long triangles if dealing with rectangular sheets. Keep the sheets you’re not working with covered underneath a kitchen towel. The thin dough dries out extremely quickly.
  2. Place one of the oval almond mixtures on the large top of the triangles.
  3. Moisten the edges of the dough with water (use a brush if possible so you don’t need to dry your hands after each rolling).
  4. Roll like the pictures below. You begin by folding the larger edges horizontally then rolling it out vertically.




  1. Place on a plate lined with parchment paper so that it doesn’t stick.
  2. Repeat for all 24.
  3. Line a baking sheet with disposable towel paper.
  4. Heat oil in a fryer or in a large saucepan and fry the cigars (5 at a time is best so that you don’t overcrowd your pan), until golden brown.
  5. Let cool on towel paper so that it absorbs some of the oil.



For the honey syrup

1 cup liquid honey

½ cup water

2 tbsp orange blossom water (optional)


  1. In a saucepan, heat the honey, water and orange blossom water. If you do not use the orange blossom water, add 2 tbsp of normal water.
  2. Simmer for about five minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. In batches, carefully drop each fried cigar into the mixture and roll it around until well-covered.
  5. With kitchen tongs, scoop it out and place it on the parchment paper to come to room temperature.





Baked Yeast Doughnuts

Baked Yeast Doughnuts |

Did you know that there are actually two different types of doughnuts in America? I didn’t and when I found out, I realized why I didn’t like doughnuts. They were always too cakey for me. But then I discovered yeast doughnuts which are a lot like beignets, which I love. I mean fried dough! Seriously, what’s not to like? But fried cake? No thanks. Of course, I refuse to let my husband do any frying in the house, so I can’t go around frying doughnuts when I’ve said no frying (husband speaking: yes she can.) So I looked online for a version that’s baked. These are super yummy (despite not being fried) and will definitely satisfy a doughnut craving. You can either glaze them with my chocolate & coffee glaze (see picture above) or coat them in melted butter and cinnamon-sugar (see picture below of doughnut holes). Enjoy!

Baked Yeast Doughnuts |




Baked Yeast Doughnuts 

(from Baked Doughnuts Recipe by

Makes 12-18 doughnuts


1 1/3 cup warm milk (95 -105˚F), divided

2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast

2 tbsp butter, melted

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

5 cups all-purpose flour (or more as needed)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract


Chocolate & Coffee Glaze (adapted from Satiny Chocolate Glaze):

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp corn syrup

2 tbsp strong-brewed espresso


Cinnamon-Sugar topping (scale up as needed):

3 tbsp butter, melted (or more if needed)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon



  1.  In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, place 1/3 cup milk and the yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until the mixture starts to bubble.
  2. Add the remaining milk, melted butter, sugar and eggs. Stir with a fork.
  3. Add the flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. If your dough is too dry, add a little milk, if it’s too wet add a little flour (1 tbsp at a time).
  4. Place your dough on a floured surface and knead it a few times with floured hands. It will probably be a little sticky. Grease a bowl and place your ball of dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm place until doubled.
  5. After it has risen, punch the dough down and roll it out on a floured surface into 1/2 inch thick layer.
  6. Cut out your doughnuts using a doughnut cutter, or two different size round cookie cutters (I used an apple corer to make the centers but I’m now the proud owner of a doughnut cutter :)).
  7. Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes if you’re baking them (which I highly recommend you do) on two baking sheets covered in a silpat or parchment paper. Cover with a clean cloth or towel and allow to rise 45 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375˚F. When the doughnuts have risen again, bake for 8-10 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and then glaze as desired!

Chocolate & Coffee Glaze:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate, butter and corn syrup. Melt over medium heat.
  2. Once melted, stir in the coffee.
  3. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes and glaze your doughnuts.

Cinnamon – Sugar Topping :

  1. Place the melted butter in a small bowl.
  2. In a separate small small, place your cinnamon and sugar,
  3. Dip both sides of the doughnut in the butter and then toss with cinnamon sugar.

Blueberries and Cream Scones

I have just gotten back from a mini-honeymoon (i.e. vacation without the children) on Martha’s Vineyard. Growing up in New York and attending school in Providence should’ve brought me to the island sooner, but it didn’t. Very unfortunately.

It was the perfect holiday, active enough to burn off the calories of our foodie adventure, and quiet with just the right amount of music and excitement.




We stayed at the Hob Knob, a quaint boutique hotel in the heart of Edgartown, with the loveliest and most courteous service, and the sweetest courtyard where they serve farm-fresh breakfasts that feature the absolute best scones. But before I share Maggie White’s secret recipe, I will tell you a little bit about my New England adventure.


photo (1)


My husband and I love food, really fresh straight from the sea-and-garden food, and that is exactly what we had.

First stop, Larsen’s in Menemsha, where we were encountered a jumbo lobster with a mammoth claw the size of his body fished right off the coast. It’s a small fish market where orders are taken slowly, oysters are chucked right in front of you, and you choose your own lobster. You wait for your order sitting on a tackle box or an old wooden wheel, with the wind blowing in your face and the sun burning away the last wisps of city air. Quite the experience for my impatient husband. I had to remind him that, for once, we weren’t in any rush. The experience and freshness of the lobster was worth the wait.

Next memorable stop was Detente, a little restaurant in Edgartown. I am a new convert of peaches in savory dishes. I join many a fan- just google peach salad and Detente and the list of posts and comments on it will make you wish you could slip just a bite of the fresh peaches covered in melted Taleggio and sprinkled with white truffle oil inside your mouth.

And the last really amazing dining experience was on our way to the airport, in Tisbury, a restaurant called State Road where when you think garden fresh, this is its definition. The lettuce and peas still snapped underneath a coating of milky ricotta and champagne vinegar. My husband went for the BLT with a fried-green tomato. Incredible as well.

Aside from our plane being delayed on the way out to accommodate President Obama’s arrival, it was a beautiful mini-holiday. But even that was painless since we didn’t have children to feed or put down for a nap.




Yields 10

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup white sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, melted


2 tbsp minced candied ginger (optional)

½ cup dried strawberries, blueberries, apricots, or cranberries (recipe follows)


1 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Stir in the butter, ginger, and dried fruit.
  4. Whisk in the heavy cream until the batter is just moist enough to hold together. Don’t over mix it.
  5. Pile 2 tablespoons of dough in a little mound, leaving enough room for scones to rise while cooking without touching each other.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until bottoms are just golden.
  7. Slip the parchment paper off of the baking sheet so that the scones do not continue to brown.




Dried berry recipe

Yield 1/2 cup dried fruit


1 cup fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 150 F or 65 C
  2. Heat a pan filled with water on the stovetop until boiling. Drop all your berries in and poach for 30 seconds. This step will help them not become paper thin when drying in the oven.
  3.  Place them on a baking sheet, try not to overlap them. Bake for 10 hours.



Pistachio & Almond Financiers

Legend has it that financiers (which literally means, people in finance) were created in 1890 by a French baker to satisfy bankers’ sweet tooth without them sullying their hands and suits.




These golden cakes are perfect finger food. They are usually made in tiny rectangular molds but I only had a mini-muffin tin (which worked out fine).

Recipes vary. Some call for the egg whites to be beaten until they become stiff, then folded into the batter. In the recipe I based mine on (from Aran Goyoaga’s Small Plates & Sweet Treats), I just incorporated the egg whites into the batter. It saves you a little time and the result makes for a slightly chewier cookie.

I’m not sure which recipe I favor. I suggest you try making them both ways and see which consistency suits you best.

The beauty of the following recipe is the browned butter. It gives the financiers a nutty aroma that only enhances the flavor of the ground pistachios and almonds in the batter.




Makes 30 mini muffins


Financiers batter

125 g butter

90 g brown sugar

40 g salted pistachios, shelled

40 g almonds, blanched

50 g all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour

4 egg whites


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C and coat a baking pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter until the milk solids begin to brown (about 5-7 minutes). Then strain your mixture directly into your mixing bowl and let cool while you prepare the next ingredients.
  3. Place the pistachios, almonds, and sugar in a food processor, and pulse until finely ground.
  4. Add those to the lukewarm butter and mix. Whisk in the flour.
  5. Add the egg whites, beating the preparation so that the egg whites don’t curdle.
  6. Fill the mini-cavities of your pan 2/3 full with the batter and bake for 12 minutes or until golden and puffed up.




Perfect size for tiny mouths…


gabi financiers



Crepes. As much a part of French culture as the Eiffel Tower. The wonderful thing about these ultra-thin treats is that you can make them savory, sweet, tangy, zesty, whatever your heart desires…They are as glorious a backdrop as pasta.




They are a kitchen staple in my husband’s family, just like pancakes are in mine. Especially around this time of year to celebrate the end of Passover. Tomorrow night, they will drip with honey and jam to remind us of the year’s sweetness.

And after tomorrow, they will drip with maple syrup as an extra scrumptious breakfast.


Makes two dozen crepes


  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl. If the mixture doesn’t run off the spoon as in the picture below, then add some more milk.
  2. Let the mixture rest for at least 1 hour before using it.
  3. Oil a flat frying pan with kitchen paper dipped in oil or melted butter, then heat it over med-high heat.
  4. Give the batter a quick whisk, then ladle it into your pan, swirling it around so that it coats the bottom of your pan in a nice round circle.
  5. When it begins bubbling, flip it over with a flat spatula. Cook another minute, and slide off your pan and into a plate.
  6. Repeat.



Enjoy this sweet moment in life…


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