Christmas Recipes

Christmas Recipes
Christmas Recipes

Italian Recipes

Italian Recipes
Italian Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes
Dessert Recipes

Pomegranate-Mixed Berry Pie

I like to be honest with you. You are my friends, right? I can admit if I made this delicious pie twice. In 3 days. Not entirely for me. I’m not that selfish.

Honey Girl Organics Giveaway Winners

I'm excited to announce the 3 winners of the Honey Girl Organics Giveaway! I want to thank Mark and Honey Girl Organics for their generosity in offering gifts for three winners! Thank you to everyone that participated.

The three winners are:

Felice from All That's Left are the Crumbs

Farrah from Farrahs' Food Adventures  and

Jeannette from The Whimsical Cupcake

Congratulations ladies! You will LOVE these products! :)

Orecchie Di Elefante-Baking with My Chef Hubby

Five years ago in March, my husband Fabrizio said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t go into labor the grand opening week of the restaurant.” We were joyfully expecting the birth of our second child and the opening of our first restaurant.

Psomi Spitiko–Really Easy Greek Bread

You have to try this easy Greek yeast bread. Yes, I just typed those words: easy Greek yeast bread. I didn’t use my bread machine. I didn’t knead until my arms were about to fall off. I put this together in little over an hour.

Sweet Tea Icebox Tart

Ever since I visited North Carolina a few summers ago on a family road trip, I’ve fallen in love with the states in the South. Of course, I live in the South. But it’s really not “the South” here. We don’t drink Sweet Tea and eat fried green tomatoes.

Bacon, Asparagus, and Asiago Quiche–French Fridays with Dorie

I’m a little late. I’m usually on time or early for every thing. Usually. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration.

Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone that participated in this fun giveaway! It was such a treat to offer Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers as my last giveaway prize! It's a gorgeous book filled with chocolate recipes for one or two people:)!


Usha’s Apple Cake

I am constantly searching for unique apple desserts. It’s been a hobby of mine for many years. I’ve been reading this lovely book by Jessica Theroux, Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. It’s one of the many beautiful books in my ever-growing pile of cookbooks I try to read.

Chocolate Caramel-Swirled Peanut Giants and a Small Batch Baking Giveaway!

It’s been too long. I just realized how long I haven’t baked with CHOCOLATE! What was I thinking?!?
Chocolate brings happiness to so many people. Chocolate makes grumpy people a little less grumpy. Chocolate makes my world go round. Does chocolate make your world go round?Smile

Gabby’s Victoria Sandwich Cake

What is it about sprinkles that makes them so appealing? When I see sprinkles, or as the Brits call them, hundreds and thousands,  I spontaneously break out into a HUGE smile! Smile

Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake and Mother’s Day

Last week I entered the building that I recently feared the most with a slight stride in my step. Clutching an armful of new magazines that entertained me while I was resting after my surgery; I knew someone else could enjoy them in the waiting room of The Cancer Institute.

The Southern Cakes Cookbook Giveaway Winner is...

Thank you to everyone for participating in this great giveaway! I especially loved all my international friends that said "hello" in their native language:)

The winner of the giveaway is:

Sharon (@rusthawk)

CONGRATULATIONS Sharon! Please email me your address at cakeduchess @ !:)

I will be having another FUN giveaway coming up really soon!! Come back to check it out!

Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting and a Southern Cakes Giveaway!

I realize that some of you are a little like me. You can just never have enough cooking and baking books. I recently came across this gem of a book, Southern Cakes, by Nancie McDermott.

Apple Tarte Tatin–Vintage Recipe Swap

I wish I had a big and bountiful apple tree in my yard. I would be the happiest girl in the world. Instead of a bountiful apple tree, I have an amazing mango tree! I’m not complaining; I LOVE my mangos.

But let’s stick to the topic…APPLES! I was really excited when I saw this month’s Vintage Recipe Swap was a caramel apple recipe! Apples and caramel are a heavenly match!Smile
I realized I never posted my apple tarte tatin recipe. You've seen my Pear Tarte Tatin and my Banana Cranberry Tarte Tatin;  It was time to share the apple tarte tatin deliciousness!

What I love the most about a tarte tatin is that it does not have to be perfect. It is not a fussy or pretentious dessert, even though the name may imply otherwise. You don’t have to deal with beautiful piping or smooth ganache. It is a simple and rustic dessert. The crust may crumble a little. The apples may move around when you flip it. And it is ALL GOOD! Totally fine! You still will have a successful and exquisite dessert! Isn’t that good news?Smile

My brother had invited us over for a barbecue tonight. I always come through with a dessert for the kids. I’ve never arrived without one. appletarte2
And my sister-in-law would have been upset with me if I didn’t share an apple dessert. She saw I made the Salted Caramel Apple Pie a few weeks ago and was not happy that she didn’t get a try. I had to make it up with her somehow. This Apple Tarte Tatin was my peace offering!!

I’m going to share with you what my sister-in-law Cara had to say about it tonight at dinner,  “This is insanely good. CRAZY good. This part….this part right here of the crust that’s sticking to the dish. THAT’s the best part.” I nodded my head in agreement as I was eating my first bite. We served everyone a piece and we were enjoying our slices.

We both were staring intently at the gorgeous and caramel coated apples that were glistening in the soft light of her dining room. There were a few sweet pieces of apples stumbling over each other on the plate. Would we dare reach for the last pieces? Cara then said to me passionately, “You have to move the dish away from me or I’ll eat the rest of it.” I swiftly slid the dish across the left side of the table and pushed the dish far away from her erach. She giggled and thanked me. Then she looked kind of mad.

I ate another piece of crust she had her eye on. Buttery and full of sticky caramel goodness. I knew it was getting her upset. Cara then said, “You HAVE to take the rest of this home with you. Please don’t leave it or I’ll eat the rest of it.” I smiled and said, “No problem. Do you forgive me now?”

She smiled and said, “I do forgive you and this is better than any other apple dessert you’ve made. Seriously. It’s better than any of them. Except the salted caramel apple pie because I didn’t get to taste it and I don’t know for sure.”Winking smile

I used my pastry recipe for this tarte. It is the perfect texture. My mom noted that the dough didn’t get soggy and held well with the caramel (It’s not easy to get a compliment out of my momWinking smile. I have to stop talking about it because I will then go into the kitchen and eat the rest of this insanely amazing tarte tatin. I really hope you will give it a try and please don’t hesitate to use a ready made puff pastry dough with it…it will be just fine!Smile

This could happen:
*When you flip your tarte, the fruit may slide around. That is no problem. Reassemble them. No one will know!

Apple Tarte Tatin

For the pastry

1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 tablespoon lard (or shortening)
3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling
4-5 medium apples (I used Granny Smith) peeled, cored and quartered
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Pastry Directions:
In a food processor, add the flour, salt, sugar and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and the lard (or shortening), and pulse until there are coarse crumbs. Add the water to the dough mixture a tablespoon at a time until when you pinch the dough, it sticks together. Take the dough out of the processor and form into a disc. Leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

When you are ready to roll out, roll it out to about a 1/8-1/4 thickness and it should be about 11 inches in diameter for a 10 inch skillet. (I used an 8-inch cast iron skillet).I like to roll the dough out either between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Preparing the apples:
Preheat the oven to 415 F.

Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples in quarters. Add the apples in medium sized bowl with 1/4 cup of sugar,  and lemon juice.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a cast iron or ovenproof skillet. With a pastry brush, brush the sides of the skillet with some of the melted butter. Add the 1 cup of remaining sugar and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat. It will turn golden brown and start to caramelize. As soon as it changes color, remove from the heat. Drain the apples and arrange the apples in a concentric pattern over the caramel mixture. *I started to lay the apple around the caramel the wrong way. After I took the photo I burned my fingers flipping them over.Smile)
Make sure you lay the cut side of the apples facing up. Sprinkle the cinnamon and ginger over the apples.
Return the pan to the stove top and cook over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you keep the temperature at medium high, letting the sugar boil and caramelize. The high heat will help the sugar caramelize and the apples to cook a little. Take care as it the caramel may splatter a little. You really can't mess this up. Gently toss the apples around so they get nicely coated. You want it to reduce until the you have a thick buttery caramel sauce. This syrup will be very hot, so don't be tempted to touch it for a taste.
Now it is time to lay the pastry over the top. Quickly and carefully tuck the pastry down right into the edges. I used a thin knife to tuck in the edges. Cut four 1/4 " steam holes in the center.
Bake for about 25-35 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. You could bake over a cookie sheet in case you don't want to mess up your oven with caramel drippings.

Run a knife along the edges of the cast iron to make sure that none of the puff pastry edges are sticking to the pan. Next, place a large plate or serving platter on top of the cast iron and, using two giant pot holders, invert quickly and carefully because the skillet weighs a ton and is burning hot. You will feel the skillet become lighter and know that it has inverted correctly. Life the cast iron and  don't worry if any of the apples moved around or if some stuck to the pan. You could carefully remove them if they stuck to pan and reassemble. If they moved when you flipped the skillet, just simply place them the way they were before in the tarte.

Serve warm. It is even amazing at room temperature. Enjoy!

Please stop by Burwell’s General Store and see what the other members of the group created this month. Smile

See. I had to do it. I had to write this recipe out while there is still a slice left tempting me in the kitchen. Sorry I’m sort of rushing here. I have to go. I must have one more bite of the irrisistible crust. Or one more bite of a caramelized apple. I would share with you if I could!SmileApple desserts are my downfall!

Thank you for stopping by!! Hope you have a GREAT beginning of the week.