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New Fall/Winter classes at Love Apple Farms

Edible Holiday Gifts: Dec 3 (sold-out), Dec 2 (just added)

Learn how to make delightful salted butter caramels, perfect madeleines, luscious chocolate truffles with armagnac prunes, New Orleans pralines, French gingerbread pain d’épice, alfajores and other delectable, edible gifts that’ll make you the toast of the town come this holidays. We’ll also show you some great packaging ideas so your gifts are as delicious outside as they are inside!

Macaron Madness Workshop: Nov 5, Dec 10 (sold-out), Dec 9 (just added), Jan 14

We keep adding new dates for this incredibly popular workshop, and they keep filling up just as soon as we add them! If you’re ever interested in learning how to make proper, dainty, delicious French macarons, this workshop is for you. Go and sign up now. If you’re still thinking about it, take a look at the photo right above this paragraph. Pretty macarons, aren’t they? And you know what? I didn’t make any of them. The students in one of the previous workshops did! How cool is that? They did it, and so could you.

This is not a demonstration class, by the way. The only way to learn how to do macarons properly is work on it yourself. You’ll be getting your hands dirty and learning how to make perfect macarons just like they do in fancy French pâtisseries. You’ll also learn how to do three types of fillings: chocolate ganache, buttercream (with and without fruits), and caramel, Once you master the technique, you can go totally crazy with your own combinations. The limit is your own imagination. Plus, you’ll leave with the macarons you’ve made in class to share with [read: show off to] your friends and family afterwards.

Pâtés, Rillettes, and Terrines: Dec 17

Many home cooks think that pâtés, rilletes, and terrines are daunting recipes best left to the professional chefs. Je vous dit contraire, I beg to differ! They are so simple to do in the home kitchen, and the results are so spectacular you might never look at another store-bought pâté again. We’ll be making the robust French country pate (pâté de campagne), a classic rillette (which we’ll make with a local, sustainably-raised rabbit in class but you could do with a chicken if preferred), plus a beautiful vegetable terrine that’ll be a great accompaniment to any meal. We’ll also make a scrumptious foie gras terrine. (Yes, foie gras. And, no, sustainably raised foie gras is not cruel. If you’re wondering about it I’ll invite a discussion in class.)

If I were on a midnight infomercial I’d tell you this class will pay for itself after three pâtés de campagne!

Pad Thai and other Thai stir-fry favorites: Nov 12 (sold-out)

You’ve always loved Pad Thai but felt too intimidated to try them at home? Come take this class with me. We’ll not only make the best Pad Thai at home, but we’ll also cover other Thai stir-fry favorites like Pad See Ewe, Pad Kee Mao, Pad Kaprow, and more. At the end of class, you’ll get to make one (or more) of these noodle dish and eat the results. So come hungry! Oh, and go ahead and throw out your take-out menu right now. You won’t need them anymore, I promise.

Thai Curries: Nov 19 (sold-out), Nov 26

If you adore Thai curries, this class is for you. Learn the ins and outs of shopping for the essential ingredients and how to make curry paste from scratch. You’ll learn how to make authentic, delicious Thai curries with the very best ingredients, at the same time demystifying the spice cabinet. Learn how to tell good store-bought pastes from bad (for a rainy day) and the best sources in the area to find what you need to make a great pot of curry from scratch. We’ll also be talking about wine pairing with curries, which is a fascinating subject in itself. At the end of the class we will sit down and enjoy the fruits curries of our labor together.

Artisan Marmalades: Jan 28

In this workshop, I’ll teach you the fundamentals of marmalade making and my unique take on it.  From start to finish, you’ll learn three different styles of marmalade: the classic, bitter, English-style made from sour oranges; a sweeter marmalade made from sweet citrus such as Mandarin or Clementine, and spice-infused marmalade. You’ll get three master recipes to work with and build your own repertoire of marmalade recipes. Plus, you’ll get to take home the marmalades we make in the class. This class is a repeat from the popular and much loved class from last marmalade season. Don’t miss it this time.

The Perfect Pie Crust (+other tarts without tops on), Feb 4


Few things are as intimidating to home bakers as pie crust can be. Take this workshop and we will together demystify the art and science of baking tender, flaky crusts. We’ll be playing with a basic pie crust, a sweet tart crust, a chocolate crust, a nut crust, and even a cheese crust. We will You will gain the confidence to experiment with different fillings and crusts, just in time for holiday baking! This is a hands-on workshop so bring your rolling pin and be ready to get down and dirty!

Check out more classes offered at Love Apple Farms here.
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More classes at Love Apple Farms this Fall

Macaron Madness Workshop – October 15 & November 5, 11am-3pm

There are two upcoming macaron workshops to add to our super popular series at the farm this Fall. (One is coming up this weekend, and there are even a couple more spaces left if you want to join us.) If you’re ever interested in learning how to make proper, dainty, delicious French macarons, this workshop is for you. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the photo right above this paragraph. They’re pretty, aren’t they? And you know what? I didn’t even make them. The students at the last workshop did! How cool is that, huh?

This is not a demonstration class, by the way. The only way to learn how to do macarons properly is to feel it and make it yourself. You’ll be getting your hands dirty and learning how to make perfect macarons just like they do in fancy French pâtisseries. You’ll also learn how to do three types of fillings: chocolate ganache, buttercream (with and without fruits), and caramel, Once you master the technique, you can go totally crazy with your own combinations. The limit is your own imagination! Plus, you’ll leave with the macarons you’ve made in class to share with [read: show off to] your friends and family afterwards.

Sign up here: Oct 15, Nov 5

Pies & other tarts without tops on – November 26, 11am-3pm

Few things are as intimidating to home bakers as pie crust can be. Take this workshop and we will together demystify the art and science of baking tender, flaky crusts. We’ll be playing with a basic pie crust, a sweet tart crust, a chocolate crust, a nut crust, and even a cheese crust. We will You will gain the confidence to experiment with different fillings and crusts, just in time for holiday baking! This is a hands-on workshop so bring your rolling pin and be ready to get down and dirty!

Sign-up here: Nov 26

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How to make (almost) perfect canelés using silicone molds

Note: This post is Thinglink-ed, pass your mouse over the images to find out more.

So, you heard me going on and on about how to make the perfect canelés. You got all excited and about to roll up your sleeves and head into your kitchen to play. Then you got to the part about how you’d need these precious little fluted, tin-lined, copper molds made specifically for these babies. And the part about how it’s $20 a piece. A single piece. To make a single canelé. Albeit a potentially perfect one. And you’d need 6 or 12 of them to do this properly. That’s when you stopped. The idea of selling your current or future firstborn so you could afford them didn’t appeal to you too much. I have good news for you. It is possible to make (nearly) perfect canelés using the inexpensive (ok, not so expensive) silicone molds. Read on.

This all began after a pretty spirited discussion with some friends, when they told me, in no uncertain terms, that, unlike me, they would indeed not exchange their firstborns for culinary achievements, I decided that I would give these silicone molds a try. In the spirit of research. Ok, actually, mostly to prove myself right.

I started googling around to see what others have done with silicone canelé molds. The resulting canelés I’ve seen are not so inspiring. I don’t need to name names or link links here, but I’m sure you all have seen them: oddly blond canelés with brown or black spots, with a crust so wimpy they don’t even hold the fluted shape of the pastry. If that’s all silicone molds could do I wouldn’t want anything to do with them.

After I got my hands on a couple silicone molds I began to see one reason why. Most canelé recipes supplied by the silicone mold producers just didn’t look very good. They seem to treat canelés as though they’re just another cake, suggesting baking temperature absurdly low and baking time ridiculously short. Most also suggest not coating the molds at all, or at best with only butter. That didn’t sound right. So I began treating the silicone molds with the same method I’d been successful with for my regular copper molds, resting the batter and baking at high temperature first then lower the temperature. The results turned out quite a bit better, I was able to make canelés that were crisp outside and properly custardy inside, but I still wasn’t fully happy.

Another problem with many silicone molds are the shape. Canelés baked in proper copper molds have pronounced fluted shape, but the first few I tried on silicone molds turned out oddly cylindrical, with hardly any fluted edge at all. They look so odd they might as well have been baked in popover pans or muffin tins. Part of the problem there is how flimsy some of the molds are. Most of them have very vague fluted edge to begin with. Once the batter expands in the soft molds as it bakes in the oven, there goes your hope for beautiful, characteristically fluted canelés out of those molds.

The silicone mold I ended up liking the best is the one from de Buyer. (In case you’re wondering, no, they’re not sponsoring this post. I bought it off of Amazon.) I already own a de Buyer silicone mold, for mini rectangular cakes. (That one, just for the record, I got in a swag bag from the Omnivore conference in Deauville last year.) I like the heft and the general quality of the pan I have, so I thought I’d give their canelé molds a try. The de Buyer molds turn out the nicest fluted shapes and generally the best looking canelés, so that’s the one I now recommend.

But I still had one last puzzle I wanted to solve. I already knew that the combination of beeswax and butter (or a neutral-flavor oil) was indispensable for canelés made in copper molds, but what about for silicone molds? Would they make a difference? So that was one last experiment to try.

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Canelés (Cannelés) de Bordeaux – the recipe, the madness, the method

Note: This post is Thinglink-ed, pass your mouse over the images to find out more.

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

Yes indeed there is, and it nearly drove me mad on the way to it. If you followed me on Twitter or Facebook, you couldn’t have missed the past few weeks of furious ravings, fleeting triumphs, and befuddled exasperations. Yes, I have been working on the famously fickle canelé (sometimes also spelled cannelés). And not just any canelé, mind you, but the Perfect Canelé. The one that has the perfectly, evenly baked crust the color of mahogany, perfectly, darkly caramelized but without even a hint of burnt. The one that’s crisp and shiny from just the right application of beeswax (yes, that’s what I said), contrasted with the creamy, custardy, sweetly addictive interior. The perfect canelé is what a crème brûlée wants to be when it grows up.

No, I wasn’t inventing a new recipe for it. And I surely didn’t invent the pastry itself. The Bordelais did it ages ago. Though how exactly it came about is still subject to debate. In fact even the name, and how many n’s precisely in the correct spelling is subject to passionate debate. I could recount the whole story, but I know you could google just as well as I do. So why don’t you just go read it yourself over at Wikipedia?

If you’re looking for a canelé recipe, the interweb is littered with them. Blogs have done it. Chow made a video about a search for one. The Chowhounds got a madness-inducing yet oddly mesmerizing thread on it. So did the discussion forum eGullet. Paula Wolfert, who could be called the goddess of the canéles herself, has a SIX-page recipe on it in her fabulous book The Cooking of Southwest France. She also generously published a truncated version of it on her website. My personal God of All Things Pastry Pierre Hermé has no fewer than three recipes published in his various books, including one made of chocolate (in his chocolate book with another one of my favorite authors Dorie Greenspan.) You could even watch a French (French-Canadian?) pastry chef make the canelés on YouTube. Though frankly judging from the results at the end of the video I wouldn’t recommend it.

The problem is, not one, none of it, worked for me reliably and perfectly. Not even when I followed each to the letter. Canelés are famously tricky to make, but it’s not until I tried that I realized how befuddling they truly were. All the recipes are deceptively simple, and not even that different from one another. Basically a sort of custard made of scalded milk, eggs, sugar, flour, and flavored with vanilla and rum, which is then bake in special tin-lined copper molds made specifically for the pastry.

One rather odd recipe, originally attributed to Michel Roux then later to Nick Malgieri, calls for condensed milk and milk powder, which made me suspect that it’d been created during a rather lean time in France, the war perhaps? Living now in time of abundance, I prefer fresh and less processed ingredients. I gave it a try anyway, just for the sake of research. It turns out pretty canelés, though strangely cakey rather than properly custardy. I also didn’t particularly like the flavor, so that was the end of that. Now I need to figure out what to do with all this non-fat milk powder I have left over!

The problem I had with the rest of the recipes was not so much the flavor. How could you go wrong with milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and especially the rum? But it’s in the consistency of the baking. I had the darnest time trying to produce the “perfect” canelés every time. The problems are also not recipe specific. I’ve had the same “soufflé” problem, for example, on pretty much all the recipes I tried – that’s when the batter expands too much during baking that it rises up and out of the molds, only to collapse into a royal mess the oven.

So I began to focus more on the method rather than the recipe. I tried changing the eggs to equal amount in yolks only, but found the results too eggy to my taste. Belinda, the pastry chef at Manresa cautioned me not to whisk the batter, despite what most recipes said. That made a huge difference, I now stir, and very gently. By accident I also discovered that even the age of the eggs made a difference. In the end, I settled on a slight adaptation of the ingredient proportions in one of Pierre Hermé’s published recipe, but tweaked the process rather heavily, borrowing from Paula Wolfert’s sage advice and also from that maddening Chowhound thread.

Perhaps the toughest part to work on was the heat. I found that baking at a very long period at a very high temperature produced canelés that were so burnt the crust was practically carbonized. Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing with different variables, producing canelés in all shades of a rainbow, making so many befuddling mistakes it drove me to the brink of insanity. But I stuck with it. Whether it was stubbornness or madness, I stuck with it. And you know what, I got it. Finally. Allow me a minute to bask in my own personal glory. C’est moi qui l’ai fait!

I’m going to try and explain my method to you the best I could. And let me warn you I’ll be wordy. This is going to be my Pad Thai for Beginners tutorial all over again. And just like the Pad Thai recipe, I hope that this canelé recipe will prove to be useful to just as many of you.

So, are you ready to give it a try? I hope I haven’t scared you off from making canelés all together. Really, please don’t. As you could see success is entirely possible! Just do it!

Let’s begin with a few important things you need to keep in mind in your quest for the perfect canalé.

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Lizzie’s Persimmon Pudding

Every fall, I wait with baited breath for the arrival of the gorgeous, bright orange persimmons at the farmers market. Persimmons are my absolute favorite fruit. I love them crisp and sweet, like the slightly squat Fuyu. I love them meltingly soft and luscious, like the acorn-shaped Hachiya we’ll use in this recipe. I even love them practically mummified, like the preserved Hoshigaki. I love them so much my childhood nickname was Persimmon. (No, you’re not allowed to call me that, not unless you’ve known me since I was five.)

A few years ago, my dear friend Liz Haskell sent me a surprised package just before Christmas. I opened it to find a not-so-pretty steamed pudding. You know, one of those dark, dark brown, sodden-looking things. Not exactly appetizing stuff, but I knew she was a great cook so I tried it. One bite into the dense yet super tender pudding and I was in love! It tasted like a sticky toffee pudding took a Hachiya persimmon on a honeymoon and made sweet, sweet love to it. Yes, that good.

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