Banana Pie Baked Upside-Down in Caramel

Banana Pie Baked Upside-Down in Caramel

Banana Pie or Banana Tarte Tatin?

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What is a tarte tatin?

A tarte tatin is a pie that is made upside down. Most people think the term tarte tatin refers only to a French apple pie, as this is the most famous version of a tarte tatin. However, you can make a tarte tatin with any fruit. You can even make a savory version with vegetables. See for instance my recipes for a Belgian Endive Pie and a Tomato Tarte Tatin.

A tarte tatin usually starts by caramelizing your featured fruit or vegetable in a little butter and sugar in a pan. Next you roll out dough on to…

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Swiss Chard Pie with Parsley and Cheese

Swiss Chard Pie with Parsley and Cheese

What is a Swiss Chard Pie?

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It’s a pie in the same sense that pizzas, quiches and other similar savory dishes can be considered a pie.  It starts with a layer of dough on the bottom, then is topped with a mixture of Swiss chard, parsley, onions and cheese, and finally is baked in the oven until golden brown.

What Inspired this Unique Dish?

I have Georgian and Belgian cuisines to thank for inspiring me to make this super delicious combination.  When I say Georgia, I mean the Causcasus country, not the US state.

Georgian inspiration

Last spring I had th…

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How to Make Authentic Speculoos Cookies

How to Make Authentic Speculoos Cookies

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Seasonal Traditions Help Mark Time
My family has several recipes that help us celebrate the passage of seasons and holidays.  We feel bound by tradition to make theses dishes each year.  For instance, we prepare Speculoos cookies for Thanksgiving and St. Nicholas Day.  Below are other seasonal traditions in our home:

In the winter, we prepare French Onion Soup and Belgian Beef Carbonnade.  In Belgium and France, French Onion Soup often helps celebrate the New Year.  It’s perfect in the middle of winter after a night of celebration.  The soup is served in the wee hours…

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English Toffee Made at Home

English Toffee Made at Home

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What’s the Difference between English Toffee and Almond Roca?
English toffee and Almond Roca are pretty much the same thing.  While English toffee describes a hardened caramel topped with chopped nuts and chocolate, Almond Roca refers to a brand name for the same treat.

Brown & Haley Co. from Tacoma, Washington has been making  Almond Roca since 1914. In the United States, Almond Roca has become synonymous for English toffee.  Almost everyone grew up eating toffee wrapped in gold foil out of their instantly-recognizable pink tins.   In our home, we offered either Almo…

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Traditional Matzo Kugel for Passover

Traditional Matzo Kugel for Passover

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What is Matzo Kugel?
Matzo Kugel is a pudding made often during the Passover holiday.  Although most people eat a sweet version of Matzo Kugel, prepared with fruit, eggs and nuts, they can also eat a savory version featuring vegetables.

 
Why do we eat Matzo during Passover?
During the eight days of Passover, observers should avoid eating five types of grains which rise:  wheat, rye, spelt, barley and oat.  The only exception allowed during Passover is eating one of these grains in the form of an unleavened flatbread, today known as matzo, matza or matzah.

Ok,…

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Bumbleberry Pie – Mixed Berries and Apple

Bumbleberry Pie – Mixed Berries and Apple

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What is Bumbleberry Pie?
At first I thought Bumbleberry Pie was a sweet baked good featuring bumbleberries.  Little did I know that a Bumbleberry Pie is actually a pie made with mixed berries (usually three types of berries), and sometimes includes apple or rhubarb.

My brother asked me to make a raspberry pie for his birthday.  He then added if raspberry was not possible, he’d like a blackberry or apple pie instead.

Fresh raspberries and blackberries can be expensive at this time of the year (springtime), even in California where tasty berries grown locally o…

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Heart-healthy Cinnamon-baked Pears

Heart-healthy Cinnamon-baked Pears

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Is there such a thing as a heart-healthy dessert?
Surprisingly there is. Sweets and treats need not always focus on large contents of sugar. If you choose the ingredients carefully, you can prepare healthy desserts for your entire family.

Ingredients with high fat content, such as heavy dollops of cream and butter, contain saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol levels in the body. High cholesterol can lead to heart diseases, kidney problems, and many other diseases caused generally by having a bad diet.

 
Popular media influence on our diet
While popul…

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Authentic Greek Pasticcio (Pastitsio)

Authentic Greek Pasticcio (Pastitsio)

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What makes this Pasticcio Recipe Authentic?
Greek restaurants all over the world prepare Pasticcio (also known as Pastitsio or Pastichio).  Not surprisingly, families and taverns all over Greece also make it.  Most families follow a recipe passed on to them by a dear family member and then adjusted over time to satisfy personal taste.

 
What is Pasticcio?
Those unfamiliar with Pasticcio may wonder what is this romantic-sounding dish.  The easiest way to describe it would be as a Greek version of lasagna bolognese.   This is not entirely fair as a comparison.

I…

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Quick Puff Pastry Dough

Quick Puff Pastry Dough

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How do you make a Quick Puff Pastry Dough?
What do you do when you want to make Puff Pastry Dough (pâte feuilletée) but don’t want to go through all the effort?  Puff Pastry Dough is ideal for appetizers, quiches, and light desserts.   It’s even on its own with a little flavored sugar drizzled on top.  This is how I use up all the leftover bits of dough.

To make a genuine Puff Pastry Dough, knead some cold butter into rectangular slabs of dough.  Fold the slabs over themselves several times.  It’s not terribly difficult but does take a certain amount of patience and rep…

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Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

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What recipe makes my Pumpkin Bread a Fall Favorite?
 
My Faithful Pumpkin Bread Recipe
By now you know that I love pumpkin.  Making food with pumpkin is how I connect best with the season of autumn.   Every year tradition calls me to make pumpkin bread at least once.  My kids love it and are always asking me to make it.

I’ve been using the same faithful recipe for almost 30 years. Of course, I’ve tried other recipes, such as one calling for cream cheese to give the pumpkin bread more of a cheesecake finish. Another recipe suggested chopping up and dropping in som…

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Belgian Beef Carbonnade (Belgian Beef Stew)

Belgian Beef Carbonnade (Belgian Beef Stew)

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Belgian Beef Carbonnade Made Easy
Belgian Beef Carbonnade is known by many names:  Flemish Carbonnade, Belgian Beef Stew, Beef and Beer Stew, are among the most common.
How to Make Beef Carbonnade
Although recipes for Belgian Beef Carbonnade generally include beef and beer, there are many variations.  Some families spread mustard on bread and add it to the pot for thickness and to reduce the sweetness of this dish.
Many use dark abbey beer to give a deeper flavor.  Depending on the beer used it may also add sweetness.  I prefer a blond Abbey (light ale) beer instead since i…

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Gingersnap Pecan Crust

What Makes This Crust So Delicious With Pumpkin Pie?
For several years I have made this delicious Gingersnap Pecan Crust with pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  It is easy to make and is so yummy!  As pecans are rare in Belgium, this Gingersnap Pecan Crust can become pricely to make here.  However, if you can afford it or live where pecans are more abundant (In the South in the United States), try it.  You will not be disappointed.

If you are looking for other ideas for pie crust for pumpkin pie, see my recipe for Speculoos Pie Crust.  For those looking for a more classic crust, try my Pastry C…

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Speculoos Pie Crust

Speculoos Pie Crust

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What are Speculoos Cookies?
Origin of the Name
If you are wondering what the heck are Speculoos, they are a traditional Belgian and Dutch spice cookie eaten all year round yet primarily made for Saint Nicholas day (6 December in Belgium and 5 December in the Netherlands) and the winter holidays.

In some Anglo-Saxon countries, these traditional cookies are known as Biscoff.   Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, they refer to these cookies as Speculaas.   In Germany, where these cookies also have deep roots, they are known as Spekulatius.  Many countries in Europe and the Ame…

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Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Why is this Sweet Potato Casserole Chunky and Juicy?
Most sweet potato casseroles at Thanksgiving are overly sweet with marshmallows and candied pecans and blended into smooth puree.  My Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole leaves the sweet potato, carrots and fruit in chunks, allowing each ingredient’s true flavor to shine.  Very little sugar is added to this casserole, making it more healthy for you to eat.  A naturally light version of this traditional dish should be welcome at your Thanksgiving dinner table to help your guests enjoy their food without feeling guilty or overly stuffed.

The …

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Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Risotto

How do you make the Yummiest Pumpkin Risotto?
In the middle of pumpkin season I’m always on the lookout for new ways to include pumpkin in recipes.   A couple days ago I was having a friend over for a mid-week dinner and wanted to make something special without too much fuss.  I had been thinking of preparing Asian-inspired vegan pumpkin dumplings yet in the end opted for developing a new recipe for Pumpkin Risotto.

Risotto is a dish best made immediately before serving, which makes it a little complicated when entertaining guests.  I prefer not being busy in the kitchen when the guests ar…

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