post52 // salted butterscotch apple pie


happy turkey day!! we’re gobble gobblin’ over here at my parents house in maryland. and yes, that means i’m back in the usa, home just in time for the holidays! what are you cooking today?


i’m still feeling some serious jet lag but not enough to keep me from whipping up a pie for our feast this afternoon! we’ve been making lots of tarts and quiches in culinary school but oh how i’ve missed their fatter, thicker, buttery cousin: the pie. today i got back to my roots and rolled out my all-butter pie crust to hold an apple compote, filled with salted butterscotch.


it’s been fun being back in my parent’s kitchen, especially since i’m not on a clock or graded while i’m cooking here! we’ve learned a lot about caramel sauces in my pastry classes and i decided to make a light and buttery caramel sauce, also known as butterscotch. it’s the perfect complement to the granny-smith apples, which i sautéed with butter and sugar to make a compote.


i knew i wanted a lattice pie, using thick strips of pie crust to line the top crust. i watched some handy videos like this one from molly yeh and this one from erin mcdowell to help guide my pie crimping! those two ladies are pie pros and definitely good resources for more pie recipes and techniques.




once the pie was cool, i brushed some more of the butterscotch sauce on top to give the pie a nice glaze. topped with vanilla bean ice cream, this pie is ready for the thanksgiving table!


that’s all for me pie-wise, check out the recipe below! and in this week’s other stuff:

i think i found my spirit-writer

when your former office has a bomb-@SS cookware deal for black friday weekend!!!

winter coat envy (feat. one of my favorite fashion bloggers)

salted butterscotch apple pie

serves 8, making 1 double-crust pie


pie crust

2½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter

apple compote

5 apples, washed, cored, and peeled (i used granny-smith)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 lemon

salted butterscotch sauce

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup cream

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt


flour, for dusting

1 egg



pie crust (adapted from Kate Lebo’s, Pie School)

  1. fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 3/4 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prep the following steps.
  2. in a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. drop 1-tablespoon pieces of butter into the flour and toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
  3. place your palms up and curl your fingers back to scoop up the flour and fat. rub, rub, rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. make sure you reach into the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. it should be chunky—mostly cherry-size pieces, the smaller bits resembling coarse cornmeal.
  4. take the water out of the freezer. pour it (slowly!) in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. toss to distribute the moisture. as you add a bit more water and toss, the dough will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. if it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. if the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done.
  5. gather the dough in 2 balls, one slightly larger for the bottom crust. quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. refrigerate for an 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.

apple compote

  1. cut all apples in half, and then into cubes.
  2. combine apple cubes, sugar, juice from the 1/2 lemon, and butter in a saucepan. cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, until apples are tender.
  3. take off heat and cool in fridge before using.

salted butterscotch sauce (adapted from serious eats’ easy homemade caramel sauce)

  1. put water in a pot followed by sugar and bring to a boil. stir with a fork or heat-resistant spatula until the mixture comes to a boil. once at a boil, let cook for ~10 minutes, until the sauce turns a very light amber, having reached a soft-ball candy stage.
  2. take sauce off heat and add cream, use fork or spatula to whisk well as you add the cream. throw in butter and salt and mix well. use right away or store in the refrigerator.


  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. butter your pie plate.
  2. roll out one of the pie discs for your bottom crust. when rolling, make sure your crust will completely cover the entire pie plate, and then some. transfer the crust to your pie plate and press firmly against the plate to adhere the crust.
  3. fill your crust with the apple compote and then ladle 1/2 of the butterscotch sauce on top. smooth out the top of the pie with a spoon to make an even surface.
  4. roll out your second pie disc for the lattice work. use a knife to cut thick lattice strips and layer in a criss-cross pattern.
  5. use a pair of scissors or a pairing knife to cut off excess pie dough around the edges of your pie. tuck the crust under the inner side of the pie pan, making a smooth surface for your crimping. once all tucked in, squeeze your index and thumb of one hand together and poke your other index finger into the crust to make the curved edges. it’s almost like your poking a little indentation into the pie crust.
  6. brush your pie top with egg wash and top with sugar.
  7. bake pie at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. cover with foil if the pie begins to brown too much.
  8. once out of the oven, brush pie with a bit of the extra butterscotch sauce to make shiny. top with vanilla bean ice cream!

post50 // pumpkin spice french toast


happy happy halloween!!! i hope you aren’t still hungover from celebrating this past weekend buttttt if you are, i have the perfect thing to mop up any ghoulish liquor left in your tummy!

french toast. after making homemade brioche in class last week and eyeing a beautiful brioche feuilletée — a brioche loaf treated like a puff pastry at the end, giving it one turn of flaky dough — at le cordon bleu’s cafe, i knew french toast would be on my agenda for the week. i’m in france anyways, french toast is a must!*

but how could i forget halloween! i wanted to make a themed recipe, celebrating all the pumpkins i could find.

that was until i couldn’t find any pumpkins.


my neighborhood is a calm one relative to the rest of paris. it’s full of families and grocery shops, little bistros and schools. upon deciding to make a pumpkin-flavored french toast, i visited all my neighborhood markets and grocery stores in search for either a full pumpkin to roast or pumpkin puree.


i walked into seven different grocery stores and no one carried pumpkins or puree. what was this! at home, grocery stores essentially turned into pumpkin parties in october. (see trader joe’s pumpkin o’s that i usually buy in bulk this time of year.)

weary from aisle searching, i walked down the street in hopes of finding the winning grocery store. instead, i saw starbucks.


starbucks, the home of the infamous psl: pumpkin spice latte. could i? yes! i entered the coffeeshop and immediately googled (using starbucks’ free wifi 🙌**) the ingredients in their pumpkin spice latte: milk, espresso, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin purée! it was decided. i was to make my #basic, american-themed french toast with the most basic of pumpkinites.

given that my working recipe for a classic brioche french toast already called for milk, i substituted the milk for psl. in went the eggs to the batter, and a bit more of nutmeg, cinnamon, and then cardamom to round out the flavor.


this is one of the simplest recipes you can make. just cut your slices of brioche (regular sandwich bread works too!) and dredge in the batter. transfer directly to a hot frying pan and cook until brown and colored on each side. serve with a thick pad of butter and maple syrup. dunzo.


the pumpkin flavoring is subtle with a nice kick from the bit of espresso. it may sound odd but given that the psl consists of majority milk, it works great for working into a french toast batter.

if you’re not feeling adventurous enough for the psl mix, i’ve made notes below on how you can adapt this recipe for a simple french toast or using the pumpkin puree. (if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on it!)


aaaand in this week’s other stuff:

for anyone who is a big fan of cards, check out yellow daisy paper co. their covers are incredible!!

discovered this gem of a cafe last week.

wanna be a ceo one day? some required reading.

happy halloween and long live pumpkin spice!!!

*for those wondering, french toast is actually called pain perdu in french, meaning lost bread.

**this is not an #ad but wouldn’t it be lovely if i was getting paid! ha

pumpkin spice french toast

serves 6


6 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups pumpkin spice latte, chilled (or whole milk + 1/4 cup pumpkin puree)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

salted butter

brioche loaf (regular sandwich bread works too!), sliced to 1cm thickness

good maple syrup


frying pan


bowl for dreding


  1. preheat oven to 200 degrees, fahrenheit.
  2. mix pumpkin spice latte, 6 eggs, and spices together. place in a wide-rimmed bowl or rectangular pan that will be easy to dunk your brioche slices into.
  3. heat a frying pan to medium-high. add a pad of butter to your pan and let cook until butter browns and foams.
  4. dunk brioche slices into your dredging batter. transfer immediately to hot frying pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until well colored. once cooked through, put slices in an oven-safe pan and keep warm in oven as you continue to work.
  5. serve warm on hot plates with lots of butter and maple syrup. bon appétit!

post49 // french wine, explained


hey hey! happy tuesday! the past couple weekends have been a crazy whirlwind of adventures for me sandwiched between days and nights spent cake making and fish gutting during the week. i know it’s only tuesday but i hope you’ll have a glass of wine tonight after hearing my learnings from the most informative wine tour there ever was…


a significant wine program is offered at Le Cordon Bleu, where students learn about wine and food pairings as well French wine, it’s history, how it’s made, how it tastes. though i’m not enrolled in their wine program, the department offers a wine tour of the loire valley each trimester. they didn’t have to ask me twice to join! along with some friends from my cuisine and pastry program, and my mom who was in paris visiting at the time, we set out at the crack of dawn for the two hour trip south of paris.


first stop: Vincent Carême Winery in vernou-sur-brenne

if the entrance to this wine cellar wasn’t enchanting enough, margaux, the winery owner’s oversized dachshund was. margaux accompanied us on our morning visit through the Carême vineyards and well into our wine tasting there. the region we visited within the loire valley was known for it’s sparkling white wines, and specifically vouvray at the Carême vineyards. vouvray wine is made from the chenin blanc grape. it can be produced into both sparkling and still wines, my favorite from our tasting being their sparkling vouvray.


wondering how they get such great sparkling wine? here are some reasons:
  1. fermentation. the actual sparklization (i made up a word today!) of the wine occurs because it has been carbonated — in Carême’s case by an extra fermentation. this fermentation happens as sugar ferments into alcohol. most interesting to the Caréme wines though was that they don’t add additional sugars to their wine. none! instead, the natural sugars from their grapes do the work, leaving a wine that is wholly organic. it’s great for avoiding hangovers too, bye excess sugar!
  2. soil. if i learned one thing on this tour, it was that soil matters. with both vineyard visits, letting the soil do it’s own thing was of the most importance. for the Carême winery, they hand-pick all their grapes, limiting as much machinery as possible used from grape to bottle. this way, they can ensure they snag all their grapes in entirety, and don’t damage the vineyard with machines trudging through.
  3. weather. as the past year has been a cool one, Carême and other vouvray producers in the area will shift to making more dry and sparkling wines for production. if the weather had been hotter and more humid, there would be more sweeter, dessert-type wines. the weather in this region is highly variable so you take great risk being a wine producer here!


second stop: La Cave restaurant in montlouis-sur-loire

a great place to rest your legs and visit when in the loire valley. the restaurant offers delicious french fare, accompanied of course by wine from the region. make sure you get their meringue for dessert! it’s unmatched in lemony flavor, and size. and fyi, cave doesn’t mean cave in french, it mean’s cellar!


third stop: Domaine de la Taille aux Loups with Mr. Jacky Blot in montlouis-sur-loire

just a quick drive from la cave sits domaine de la taille aux loups, the vineyards of jacky blot. that’s my mom and i outside his home and tasting room!

jacky took us on a ride through his nearly 5000-acer vineyard property and boy did we learn something. unlike the Carême vineyard, Jacky hadn’t yet picked his grapes. this meant that we actually got to go into his fields and see the grapes just as they were about to be picked (he ended up picking them a week later!).

jacky explained to us one of the most important stages of the grapes for his production: noble rot. i’d never heard of the stage myself but for this specific vineyard, acheiving noble rot is necessary in producing their wines. to get a grape to noble rot, the grape must be highly ripe and have taken on a grey layer of fungus on the outside skin. yes, fungus sounds gross but i promise it makes a damn good wine!

here jacky shows the inside of a noble rot — yes, he sacrificed a grape for us! — and you can see it resembles a raisin in the middle. for this reason, the noble rot grapes can produce highly concentrated sweet wines. yum!

there’s a very small time frame between when the grape takes on noble rot and then develops grey rot, a damaging form of the rot that will ruin the grape for production. as you can see in the image of the grape bundle above, some of those grapes have taken on grey rot and shriveled, thus unable to use in production. as we visited, jacky mentioned how he’s been checking the weather like crazy, figuring out which exact day to pick his grapes.


if you hadn’t deducted already, my title is a bit misleading as i couldn’t possibly explain all of french wine to you. that would take a very long book and decades of research! but, i did learn an enormous amount about wine and grape production and i hope you enjoyed the knowledge bit too. below you can find the two wine producers’ information and their profiles on they both have tasting rooms where you can drop in and visit but you might have to do some extra sweet-talking if you want to get into their vineyards 😉

and in this week’s other stuff!!!

  • best. leather bags. ever. get you one! (they ship internationally and through etsy)
  • if you’ve got a knack or interest in politics, sign up for my brother rob’s weekly newsletter! starting five supplies you with all the know-how to keep up with today’s state of politics

that’s all folks! xx

Vincent Carême Winery 1 rue du haut clos 37210 Vernou sur Brenne
Domaine de la Taille aux Loups  8, rue des Aîtres – Husseau 37 270 Montlouis sur Loire