Pear Galette with Gingerbread Caramel

When the holiday heat is on (and pies are a pipe dream) say hello to the galette: the common pie's laid back, effortlessly attractive cousin.

'Tis the season of pie porn, and we predict your Pinterest is bursting with the fanciest of tart shells. Braided crusts, perfect cutouts, sculpted foliage that browns according to the exact rules of nature; such is the state of aspirational home cooking (and we eat it up). But when the holiday heat is on, and dessert starts to sound like a pipe dream, leave those hand-cut leaves in the gutter and say hello to the galette: the common pie's laid back, effortlessly attractive cousin. 

This humble pastry is a busy chef's secret weapon, providing a sophisticated canvas for fall flavors that can be whipped up in a fraction of the time. We like to keep a few batches of the barely-sweet tart dough in the refrigerator, ready to be unfussily filled with something sweet or savory, then dished up to the delight of guests after a short stint in the oven. Here, we pair juicy pears with the warm flavors of gingerbread, trading refined sugar for low-glycemic, caramelly coconut sugar (as we're known to do). The same dough and process can be used for any number of seasonal fillings, from apples and sage to caramelized onions, roasted squash and goat cheese. So grab a rolling pin and bid those crusty pie shells adieu, because if we're thankful for anything this year, it's a few more minutes with the people we love – especially if they can't tell the difference.

For the dough:

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)

6 Tbsp cold butter (cut into small pieces)

1 egg (beaten)

Directions: Whisk dry ingredients together. Add butter and rub into dry ingredients with clean hands until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg and fold in gently with a fork, until mixture just comes together. Knead very briefly, then shape into a flat disk and chill for at least two hours, and up to two days. Dough can also be frozen for up to one month.

This tart dough recipe was inspired by our friends at Bon Appétit, and their wonderful Fall Baking Guide.


For the gingerbread caramel:

1 cup coconut sugar

3 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp molasses 

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of cloves

2 Tbsp butter

Directions:  Combine coconut sugar, water and molasses in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. When coconut sugar granules are fully dissolved, and mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and whisk in butter and spices until smooth. Allow to cool.


For the pears:

1lb pears (sliced lengthwise, 1/8" thick) 

1 Tbsp butter (melted)

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp coconut sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out tart dough to a 14"x10" rectangle (about 1/8th inch thick). Transfer to a Silpat or parchment covered baking mat.

2. Drizzle caramel in the center of the dough, leaving a 2" border (if your caramel has set, you may need to warm it slightly to pour). Arrange pear slices on top of the caramel, overlapping each row. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

3. Working one side at a time, gently lift and fold the borders of dough over the pear filling, making sure to patch up any small tears or holes you create in the process. Gently pinch corners of dough together to secure.

4. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until pears are soft and edges are golden brown. For extra golden edges with a sweet crunch, brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp milk or water) and sprinkle with more coconut sugar before baking.

Classic Éclairs & Variations

There are some things that just make you feel like a baking badass. Éclairs are one of them, and with the right recipe, "whipping up a batch" can really be as effortless as it sounds. 

Traditional french éclairs aren't just an amazing addition to your classic recipe repertoire, but also a exceptional building block for more non-traditional desserts than you can imagine. The truth is, I rarely gather the strength to master a "classic" unless I can promptly demolish it afterwards – I just find inventing new recipes more creatively fulfilling than following old ones – so if that sounds like you too, LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY MAKE ÉCLAIRS. The creative possibilities for working with Pâte a Choux are literally endless, and you will never run out of sweet or savory things to stuff inside these delicious puffs.

Also, I know diet-consciousness isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of French pastry, but using Pâte a Choux is also a lux way to cut some calories out of your life, as the resulting puffs are relatively low in carbs and high in protein (they're basically all crust, filled with air). So yeah, do what you want with that little bit of info, like filling your puffs with a savory chicken salad. Or just screw it all and fill them with cream. Like we're about to do. Okay, let's get started!

Classic éclairs consist of three parts: Pâte a Choux, cream and a chocolate fondant topping. Here we use a simple variation on pastry cream and a classic ganache topping, to keep it simple, but we're staying true to French Pâte a Choux, because there really is only one variation in the world of American Pâte a Choux, and it involves NOT using a kitchen scale. This isn't a deal breaker (and we'll share both types of measurements), but really, it will make a world of difference in the final product. I use this cheap little Escali scale ($24.99) in my kitchen, which comes in a whole rainbow of colors, and you really should just buy one and have your world rocked. Plus, it will make famous French pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, whose recipe this is adapted from, proud of you and America in general - so do your part for our great rouge, blanc et bleu.

Lastly, a few ideas for variations, to help get the juices flowing once you've mastered the foundation:

  • Fill with Two-Step Banana Pudding and drizzle with Salted Caramel for banoffee eclairs 
  • Purée berries of your choosing, strain to remove seeds, then fold into cream mixture for an incredible fruit filling
  • Pipe Pâte a Choux in small rounds instead of éclairs. After baking, cut in half, fill with a scoop of ice cream, and drizzle with hot fudge

Classic French Éclairs 

For the Pâte a Choux

125 grams (½ cup) whole milk

125 grams (½ cup plus 2½ teaspoons) water

110 grams (7 ½ tablespoons) French butter, such as Président

5 grams (1 teaspoon) granulated coconut flower nectar

2 grams (¼ teaspoon) sea salt

140 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) pastry flour, sifted

220 grams whole eggs (about 4-5 extra large), plus more as needed

1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk for egg wash


1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a sheet pan with parchment (or use a Silpat). 

2. Combine milk, water, butter, granulated coconut flower nectar and salt in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk ingredients until fully combined and mixture has come to a boil.

3. Remove from heat, then in one addition, add the pastry flour and whisk vigorously until fully combined.

4. Return to medium heat, and with a wooden spoon or spatula, stir until mixture pulls away from sides and forms a ball.

5. Remove from heat and carefully deposit dough in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn speed to medium, then gradually add egg yolks, one by one, until each is fully incorporated. Stop the mixer, scape down the sides, then give it one last mixing to make sure every last bit of egg is blended in.

6. Spoon about half of the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip (kitchen hack: a heavy duty plastic freezer bag with about 1/4 inch snipped from the corner can work in a pinch). Pipe about 10-12 5-inch éclairs onto the sheet, leaving at least an inch between each one. Lightly Brush with egg wash. 

7. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 F and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely. Repeat with remaining Pâte a Choux, or pop in the fridge or freezer for later.


For the filling

1/3 cup cream

1 cup milk  

1/2 cup granulated coconut flower nectar

2 tbsp cornstarch

3 egg yolks

3 tbsp butter

Pinch of salt


1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a blender, and blend until very smooth.

2. Pour blender contents into a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, cook, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened (it will be lumpy at first, then cohesive).

3. Remove from heat, add butter, and whisk constantly until butter is fully melted and mixture is smooth and shiny. Cream should be as thick as pudding, but not as thick as greek yogurt, so if it needs thinning add some more milk or cream, a few tablespoons at a time.


For the ganache

One 2.5oz chocolate bar (your choice!)

1/3 cup cream


1. Chop chocolate into small chunks and place in medium, heatproof bowl.

2. Heat cream until steaming, over the stove or in the microwave.

3. Pour cream over chocolate. Allow to sit, undisturbed, for about 10 minutes, to allow chocolate to melt. 

4. Whisk milk and chocolate until fully combined.


To assemble:

The easiest way to fill an eclair is to cut in half, spoon in filling and drizzle with ganache. But if you want to try the more advanced (and less messy) version, fit a pastry bag with a narrow circular tip then fill bag with cream. On one side of each éclair, poke a small hole, then insert pastry tip and squeeze in cream until full. Dip filled éclairs halfway into warm ganache, face down, then tilt upwards so extra ganache drizzles back into the bowl. Place éclair on baking sheet and allow ganache to cool and set. Enjoy!



Refined Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie

Refined sugar sneaks into homemade pumpkin pie through sweetened condensed milk – a standard ingredient in most recipes, but an unnecessary one. This simple swap solves your sugar conundrum while preserving your pie's texture and flavor (and you thought you had enough to be thankful for).

Oh, pumpkin pie: Easy enough for a toddler to make; tasty enough for a toddler to eat; and sweet enough for a toddler to fly off the freaking roof until they violently deteriorate to a shrieking mess on your living room floor. But is it asking too much to hope for a pie that's still easy to make, but can also keep sugar crashes at bay?

Nah. Here's why (and how to tackle it):

The majority of pumpkin pies are made with sweetened condensed milk - a delightfully gooey combination of evaporated milk and sugar that lends a silky texture and a caramelly flavor to your pie filling, as well as supports thickening during the baking process. The most popular pie recipes in America, like this one, gain their sweetness purely from sweetened condensed milk, while others call for both sweetened condensed milk and refined sugar (like the classic Libby's recipe). It can feel impossible to remove refined sugar from pumpkin pie for this reason - because how the heck are you supposed to extract the sugar from the can?

The answer is actually pretty easy: Just use evaporated milk in replacement of sweetened condensed milk, then handle the sweetening yourself. In a very non-scientific nutshell, sweetened condensed milk is close to 50% sugar. Without the added sugar, evaporated and condensed milk are essentially the same thing, which means you can rejigger your pie as follows: For every cup of sweetened condensed milk, replace 50% of the milk with granulated coconut flower nectar. So for instance, if your recipe calls for one 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk, add one scant cup of evaporated milk (7oz), and one scant cup of granulated coconut flower nectar (7oz).*

We've shared our favorite pumpkin pie recipe below, adapted from the insanely simple recipe shared by California Farms organic evaporated milk - but you can use the above ratio in any pumpkin pie recipe you love. Here, we pour our filling into a pre-baked shell (because we think it's good insurance against a soggy crust), but if your recipe calls for unbaked, go right ahead - there are many ways to bake a pie, we're just here to take the refined sugar out of it. Happy baking! 


Refined Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 1/2 cups pumpkin

1 cup granulated coconut flower nectar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup evaporated milk

1 prepared 9" pie shell


For the pie shell: Prepare pastry dough from Honeycrisp Apple Tart. Instead of a tart pan, use a 9" pie pan, trimming excess dough from the edges and baking with parchment and pie weights as directed.

For the pie:

1. Preheat oven to 425º F. Combine pumpkin, eggs, sugar, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add evaporated milk, stir well to combine.

3. Pour mixture into a baked pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350º F and continue baking for 30 minutes, or until skewer inserted in middle of pie comes out clean. If pie crust is browning too aggressively, a ring of baking foil with stop the browning while allowing your filling to continue to cook.


*Important caveat: Pie is forgiving; confectionary is not. This alternative for sweetened condensed milk works great for pumpkin pie, but we're not sure what would happen in something like fudge or toffee. If you try it, let us know how it went in the comments!

Honeycrisp Apple Tart

Crisp fall apples pair with a lemony yogurt cream in this simple to make but sophisticated to behold pastry. Highbrow enough for a dinner party, but chill enough for brunch, this tart owes its brightness to in meyer lemon, and its depth to cinnamon and the caramel undertones of coconut flower nectar.

I'll never understand why people get so intimidated by tarts. They might look like a thousand bucks, but even some of the prettiest ones are nothing other than the dessert world's take on pizza: Make a crust, throw some stuff on it, delight almost everyone. In fact, the word "tart" is so ambiguously open to interpretation that even wikipedia admits there are "no sharp distinctions" between tarts and pies, flans or even quiches. All of this is to basically say that, look, if you make something that has pastry crust on the bottom (again, just the bottom - whether that crust covers the sides and top are open to interpretation), you have successfully made a tart. Seriously.

Think of this recipe as a kind of tart 101: We're going to get pretty detailed on the pastry, but keep the filling is as easy as they come. Because once you master the crust, you've also formed your foundation for an endless flow of creativity, from apple pies to homemade pop tarts to savory quiches filled with caramelized onions and gruyere. 

Here, we use Siggi's yogurt and honeycrisp apples to keep our pastry cream thick and our filling seasonal, but you can swap the Siggis for plain greek yogurt, and any type of apple for the honeycrisps. A meyer lemon brings brightness to the filling, and its juice keeps the apple slices from going brown, but again, using a regular lemon is fine. Like I mentioned, when it comes to tarts, fillings can be pretty flexible. 

Honeycrisp Apple Tart

For the tart:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp granulated coconut flower nectar (optional)

1 cup butter, very cold and cut into small cubes

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp ice water


For the yogurt pastry cream:

1 1/2 cups Icelandic or greek yogurt 

1/3 cup granulated coconut flower nectar

1 tbsp meyer lemon peel

1 tsp vanilla


For the apples:

2 large honeycrisp apples

3 tbsp butter

Juice of one meyer lemon

1/3 cup granulated coconut flower nectar

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt


1. For the tart: Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter cubes, and with a food processor, pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until butter is in small pieces, about the size of peas. The point here is to work quickly so the butter doesn't become overly soft or melt, so if you start to notice the butter pieces getting too squishy as you work (which happens more regularly when you use your hands), just pop the whole mixing bowl in the freezer for five minutes, then resume. 

When flour mixture is ready, gently fold in the ice water using a fork or spatula. Don't overmix; when the dough forms a loose but very flaky ball, it's ready. Using your hands, form a flat ball with the dough, then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

To make your tart shell, preheat the over to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Grease and flour an 11 inch tart pan and set aside. Lightly flour a countertop surface, then place chilled dough on top of the floured surface and dust a little more flour on top. Using a rolling pin, evenly roll your dough to a 1/4 inch thick circle, pausing regularly to flip your dough and lightly re-flour the surfaces of both the countertop and the dough. Center the rolled dough over your tart pan, then ensure there are no air gaps between the dough and your pan by gently pressing dough to the bottom and sides. Trim excess dough from the edges.

Using a fork, poke the dough every two inches or so to allow steam to escape when it bakes. You can place your tart pan in the oven just like this for a puffier crust, or line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked beans to produce a denser one. 

Bake tart in oven for 25 minutes. If you're using the pie weight method, remove tart after twenty minutes, carefully remove the parchment paper and weights, then return to the oven for 5 more minutes. When tart is golden brown, remove from over and cool.

2. For the pastry cream: Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk very thoroughly. Thank God for the simpleness of this step after that tart shell.

3. For the apples: Slice apples into very thin slices, about 1/5th of an inch. Place lemon juice, butter, cinnamon, salt and coconut sugar in a large saute pan, and cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture is transparent. Add sliced apples and cook until apples have softened, but before they turn to mush - about 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

4. To assemble: Spread pastry cream evenly inside tart shell. Beginning at one edge of the tart, vertically place a slice of apple on top of the pastry cream, then working in a circle, add another apple slice, slightly overlapping the former. When you've made a complete circle, begin that process again, overlapping your first circular row of apples by about an inch. Continue until you reach the center of the tart. Eat immediately or refrigerate.