Tag Archives: Fall

Frenchie and Apple Brownies

23 Nov

I’m not going to hide it.

I’m currently planning the last details of a big Thanksgiving meal and feast – busy week ahead.

But I am also finishing up the last crumbs of a second apple brownie square – and in my humble opinion, it disappeared way too quickly.

You know, when you wet your finger to make the last crumbs on the plate stick to it.

Yes, it would be a crime to leave crumbs on the plate.

I’d even consider it a waste!

Oui, oui!

Lately, the oven has seen pesto croutons, dense and moist coconut almond cakes, caramelized roasted fall vegetables with herbs and olive oil and so much more.

A busy oven as well.

But if my oven could talk – oh the things it would confess! – I am pretty sure it would say the brownies are an all-time favorite.

Call them apple squares or apple blondies.

I like to think of them as apple brownies without chocolate.

Perfect in the morning. Perfect as a snack. Perfect on your Thanksgiving table.

And let’s not pretend this recipe was foolproof after the first attempt.

Of course, I had to test and make several batches!

Pour essayer, pour goûter.

Oh the joys of fall cooking!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Spiced Apple and Brown Butter Brownies

makes a 9 x 9-inch ( 23 x 23 cm) pan – about 16 squares

6 Tbsp butter (85 g), plus more for the dish

⅓ cup (40 g) tapioca flour/starch


½ cup (70 g) brown rice flour


⅓ cup (35 g) almond flour


1.5 Tbsp coconut flour


1 teaspoon cinnamon


¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


¼ teaspoon ground cardamom


⅛ teaspoon ground star anise


½ teaspoon baking powder


½ teaspoon sea salt


⅛ teaspoon baking soda


⅓ cup (110 g) honey


¼ cup (25 g) dark Muscovado sugar


1 egg


⅔ cup (70 g) pecans, roughly chopped


2 medium organic Golden Delicious apples, cored and roughly cubed (use 1.5 apple if they are on the larger side)


Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).


In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook it over medium heat until it starts to bubble, brown and smell like hazelnuts. Scrape the bottom of the pan and pour the brown butter in a bowl. Set aside.


In a medium bowl, mix and whisk together the tapioca, brown rice, almond and coconut flours with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda. Set aside.


In a big bowl, whisk together the honey, Muscovado sugar and the egg until smooth. Add the brown butter and continue mixing until well combined.


Add the flours and spices mix to the wet ingredients and fold with a spatula until you get a smooth batter.


Add the chopped pecans, the apple cubes. Stir until combined.


Generously butter the baking dish. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.


Wait for the apple brownies to cool and cut into 16 squares.

Frenchie and the Wait for Fall

24 Oct

A new region and new weather patterns.

Et l’automne ?

As I dream of red and orange twirling leaves, the trees haven’t changed here – still proudly displaying their bright summer green.

It does not look like fall but it tastes like it.

Apples, pumpkins and squash on the markets.

Vivid fall colors mixed with a summer background.

Les belles pommes !

And with apples come the pleasures of spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking.

During rainy and dark afternoons when it’s better to stay inside.

Cutting, peeling and coring apples.

Dipping a finger in the vanilla sugar container.

Stewing pears and apples in a pan to create wonders and treats.

Or during bright and shiny mornings.

Putting the final touches to a belle tarte aux pommes for a friend’s party.

And this is what I wanted to share with you.

A tart that I like to eat during the week as I browse and sort all of the Tahiti pictures.

A quinoa and hazelnut crust.

A slice of fall in my mouth as I reminisce about the trip.

Apple Tart with Grand Marnier and Rose Water

makes a 9-inch tart

for the gluten-free crust

3/4 cup (90 g) of quinoa flour

1/2 cup (60 g) of hazelnut flour

1/3 cup (60 g) + 3 Tbsp of brown rice flour

1/3 cup (40 g) of tapioca flour

2/3 cup (80 g) of powdered sugar

1.5 teaspoon of guar gum

a pinch of sea salt

optional: 1 Tbsp of vanilla sugar

8 Tbsp (115 g) of cold butter – cut in small cubes

1 egg + 1 Tbsp of water

Sift the 4 flours and the sugar together over a big bowl and combine them with the guar gum and sea salt.

Drop the butter cubes in the bowl and working slowly with your fingers, rub the butter with the flour mix until sandy, soft and well absorbed. It should be lumpy and should look like breadcrumbs.

Crack the egg in a small bowl and add the cold water to it. Whisk for a few seconds with a fork to combine the water and egg.

Dig a well in the center of the big bowl and pour the egg/water in the center.

Mix delicately with your hands in a circular motion until the dough forms a ball. Do not knead it too much.

Flatten the ball, cover and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 1 hour. If chilled overnight, remember to remove it from the fridge and wait at least 45 minutes before rolling it.

for the filling

3 apples – choose between sweet baking apples or tart apples depending what you prefer. I tend to mix both because I enjoy the taste very much.

2 Tbsp of Grand Marnier

2 Tbsp of rose water (if you are sensitive to the taste of rose water use only 1 to 1.5 Tbsp)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon + an extra dash for sprinkling

a dash of grated nutmeg

2 Tbsp of brown sugar

the juice of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp of apple sauce – use your favorite recipe for apple sauce. Apple butter works well here too.

blonde cane sugar for sprinkling

While the dough is resting in the fridge and before you blind bake it, whisk in a big bowl the Grand Marnier, rose water, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and lemon juice.

Slice the apple thinly. If using a mandoline, use 3 mm/1/8″. Mix the apple slices in the bowl with the juice and make sure they are well coated.

Let the apples marinate in the bowl for 30 minutes. Use a spoon to coat them again with the juices at the bottom of the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

Roll out the dough to fill a 9-inch tart pan (22-23 cm). I use some of the tapioca flour to roll the dough. Line the dough with the pan, press in the corners, and trim it without any overhang.

With a fork, make small holes at the bottom over the entire surface. Cover the dough with parchment paper, drop weights on it (another smaller oven-proof dish, or dry garbanzo beans) and blind bake the crust for 10 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, remove the parchment paper and the weights, and bake for another 8 minutes.

When done, lower the oven temperature to 350 °F (180 °C).

Coat the bottom of the crust with the apple sauce or apple butter. Arrange the apple slices tightly on the crust. Keep their juices in the bowl and pour it all over the apples in the tart.

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Let the tart cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Frenchie and a New Season

26 Sep

The transition is smooth.

Warm during the day. Colder mornings and evenings.

Green leaves still shimmering in the sun.

But here and there, naked branches displaying richly inventive shapes in the sky.

Oui, c’est l’automne !

The colorful autumn patchwork slowly fighting to settle in front of our eyes.

It’s still too early though.

However, it’s not too early to open the windows wide open in the morning to let that bluish colder breeze invade the rooms of the apartment and create growing undulating waves with the bed sheets.

A colder breeze dominated by the yellowish light coming from behind the translucent clouds.

With the changing colors, it almost looks like the foliage gets thicker.


The last whispers of summer stretching and running wild through the Farmers’ Market.

But the produce of summer are now gone to unveil colorful squash varieties and apples.

The happy farmer standing in the sun trying to sell his beautiful apples only wears a t-shirt.

But the farmer working in the shadow already realized he would need to wear his sweater until the end of the day.

The first sweater of the season.

Pulling one over your head almost feel like an invasion – something you had forgotten about.

And then, it all comes back – the growing happiness of wearing and embracing a sweater.

With the apples, I’ll make a tart.

Maybe a clafoutis too.

And with the rhubarb from the garden, there will be goat cheese tartines. A sweet and salty ideal lunch.

Gift bags of tomatoes and basil for friends – the garden is over-producing.

Everyone likes tomatoes!

I know this is going to be a good fall season.

I can already predict it.

Ideas, plans, projects blooming within.

Visitors coming, trips planned, meals and recipes ideas in mind.

October will take me back home to France as well as Istanbul for a quick side trip.

Readers who have been to Istanbul, please feel free to share your recommendations, tips and suggestions.

I am all the more excited for my first time in Turkey.

Like a big detour in the middle of my French vacation. Landing in a different world.

Happy fall!

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