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A lemon tart is a wonderful thing, and not as finicky as it seems. I made these with the kids’ cooking club earlier this year, and they turned out beautifully! Shallow tart pans with removable bottoms are traditional, but not necessary – the pâte brisée, a sweet, shortbread-like crust – is pressed in instead of rolling, so you can use any similar-sized baking pan or dish. If you have smaller ones, you can divide the pastry and filling between them and make smaller tarts.

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My friend Allison, who lives up the hill, has a few apple trees in her front yard that produce an astonishing number of apples. There are a few varieties – some larger eating apples, some medium – not quite crabapples, but not full-size either – and some tiny red crabapples that are perfect for jellies. She always lets me pick some, and they’re so great for baking with. I love a good apple cake, and thought I had made them all until I started noticing people make Ruthie’s apple cake, from the cookbook Friday Night Dinners by Bonnie Stern, during Rosh Hashanah. It’s a spectacular cake, loaded with chunks of apples and walnuts. I instantly adored it – not only the taste of it, but its rugged good looks.

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Friends!! Here it is – the Nanaimo Bar Cake. I’ve been thinking about it ever since discovering Deirdre’s epic multi-tiered creation at Sweet Relief Bakery in Calgary (I put it on the 25 Best Things to Eat list in Avenue Magazine back in 2020!) and finally decided to attempt a more streamlined version at home. It turned out wonderfully-I love cakes this size, and recipes that make two, so you can give one away or tuck it into the freezer for another day. These will freeze beautifully. Enjoy!!

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I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I’m a lazy pie maker. I don’t strive for perfection, or elaborately styled tops (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but more ease – of both assembly and eating. I do get a lot of satisfaction out of a proper crimped double crust pie, but I make galettes more often. Because they’re not as deep they bake more quickly and are easier to eat out of hand, which makes them ideal breakfast pastries and perfect for afternoon snacking.

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I’ve been getting a lot of requests for this pavlova recipe – it’s one I’ve been making for years, and I often teach it in classes and use it as a base recipe for other pavlovas, but this is my go-to, with lemon curd made out of the egg yolks you’ll have left after you make the meringue. It’s perfect – you need something sweet-tart to go with the crunchy-chewy-marshmallowy meringue and creamy-sweet whipped cream. Pavlova truly is the ultimate dessert. This makes a relatively small one, but you could scale it up – I often double the recipe (6 egg whites + 1 1/2 cups sugar) to make a larger pavlova, or two, or one large and a bunch of small ones, or just straight-up meringues. It’s a very versatile formula. And if you’re at all nervous about the meringue turning out, or if it doesn’t look perfect (who cares though!), you could bash it up and layer it in glasses or a trifleContinue reading

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I make a lot of galettes – which sound fancy, but are really free form pies you assemble and bake on a sheet without needing to trim or crimp – and in the fall and winter, they’re often apple ones. Sometimes, I spread some jam onto the bottom of the crust before I pile on the apples, but a couple weeks ago I had a jar of mincemeat on the counter and inspiration struck. It turned out to be a very good idea. I adore mincemeat – a thick sort of preserve of fresh and dried fruits, citrus, brown sugar, booze (if you want it) and spices you can simmer on the stovetop until your house smells fantastic (it only takes 20 minutes, really) or buy in the jar without shame. (The smell of a jar of Robertson’s all-fruit mincemeat reminds me so much of my grandma, I nearly tear up when I take off the lid.) You don’t need suet (which is beef fat)Continue reading

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I’ve made two blackberry-plum friands in the past three days, and eaten 1 3/4 of them myself, with a spoon, straight out of the baking dish. A friand is a dense, chewy almond cake, this version studded with juicy fruit, from Ottolenghi’s Simple- I had it out for a virtual book club, and when I got home from picking up a farmers’ market box (from the Bridgeland Farmers’ Market), which had plums and blackberries bigger than my thumb in it, I took it as a sign.

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Late summer is the best time for baked fruit desserts like cobblers and crisps, but one of my favourites is the lesser-known pandowdy – sort of a cross between a crisp and a pie, with a pastry lid on top, but none underneath. It’s infinitely easier to assemble than pie, with no need to stress over removing a clean slice, and let’s face it – the golden top is the best part of the pastry anyway. Best yet, you can streamline the process by using frozen puff. I made a video earlier this summer as part of the Redpath Baking School summer session.

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It’s that time- Saskatoons are ready for picking on shrubs along my street, at the dog park and along the riverbank… as always, I find myself rooting around for an empty coffee cup or other vessel to fill as I walk. I rarely manage to pick enough for pie, but almost always find enough for a batch of tarts-these are simple, made by simmering berries, sugar and cornstarch and spooning the mixture into pre-baked tart shells. Blueberries work just as well if you want to combine the two, or in case you don’t have access to saskatoons wherever you are.

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