Do you know Anna Olson? I don’t remember how I got hooked into her shows, but I think it was one of those suggestions that pop in the amazon page. At any rate, she is big on Canadian Food TV. As far as I can tell, the Canadian food TV is far superior to our own. I watched every single episode I could find online. Basically a full season of “Sugar“, and a full season of “Baking with Anna Olson.”  They are organized by ingredient (chocolate, blueberries, pecans),  or basic component (say, pastry cream, or pie dough), and she usually shares three recipes with increasing level of difficulty.  I like her a lot. She is the type of baker who is clearly talented, but also down to Earth. Some professional bakers make you think that unless you can find the vanilla bean harvested on the Sava region of Madagascar under a moon 100% full, please don’t bother making the recipe. Not the case with Anna. You’ll feel less constrained and even encouraged to try something a little different. Sometimes she might even have a little powdered sugar flying moment in her KitchenAid, which in my mind just makes her even more special.  Of course, that type of moment is not a rare event in the Bewitching Kitchen, quite the opposite (sigh). When I watched her show on apricots, I knew I had to try her Linzer version. I am glad I did…

(from Anna Olson)

for filling:
2 cups fresh apricot, washed and pitted
⅔ cup apricot jam
¼ cup sugar
zest of one orange

for dough:
3 hard-boiled egg yolks
1 ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
dash of vanilla extract
½ cup ground hazelnuts, lightly toasted
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water

Cook all ingredients for the filling in a big saucepan until apricots are tender. Remove from heat, puree and cool completely before using.

Push cooked egg yolks through a sieve and set aside. Cream together butter and icing sugar until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Add hazelnuts and cooked egg yolks and blend in. Sift together salt, baking powder and flour and add to butter mixture. Blend until dough comes together (it will be quite soft). Divide dough into 2 discs, wrap and chill for at least one hour, until firm.

Heat oven to 350 F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of dough to 3/4- inch thick. Using the bottom of a 10-inch removable-bottom tart pan as your template, cut out a disc of pastry. Repeat this with the second disc of pastry.

Using the tart pan bottom as a lifter, transfer the first disc of pastry to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the apricot filling over the entire surface of the dough. If the dough is very soft, I like to flash it in the freezer for 5 minutes, to make spreading the filling easier.

Using a 3/4 -inch round cutter cut decorative circles around the dough. Use a slightly smaller cutter to make a second series of smaller openings. While still on the cutting board, brush the top of the disc generously with egg wash. Place gently on top of apricot filling. Place ring of a springform pan around torte to help it hold shape while cooking.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a rich golden brown in colour. Allow to cool before cutting. If desired, sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: It was a lot of fun to make this recipe, it is a real soft though, and I decided to roll it out in between two sheets of parchment paper. Works much better for me that way. The filling is delicious, I had to hold myself back not to use it in macarons next day, it would be great added to some chocolate ganache, I think. Apricot and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

The dough is on the crumbly side as expected for a Linzer concoction. Her use of hazelnuts instead of almonds makes it quite unique and special. Everyone in the department loved this little treat, which brightened up one very summery Monday.

Make Sally happy, grab a pin!


ONE YEAR AGO: A Trio of Air-Fried Goodies

TWO YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

THREE YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip Over Cucumber Slices 

FOUR YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

SIX YEARS AGO: A Moving Odyssey

 Shrimp Moqueca








Apricots Bowl
This year has been the year of the apricot for us. We bought them at each opportunity. Now, I realize that it is the type of fruit that goes down in flavor very quickly once it is picked, so maybe the apricots we have access to are not as fantastic as those found right in California or Washington.  Still, some were spectacularly juicy and tender.  In this post I am sharing not one, not two, but three recipes using not only the fruit but – are you ready for this? – their pits! Yes, and that recipe in particular will blow your mind, I promise. Maybe you won’t be able to make it this year, as the season is over, but next year start buying apricots as early as you can, and freeze the pits. Once you get 20  or so of them, you’ll be ready to make THE most amazing ice cream of your existence.  I promise.


I found this recipe over at Mike’s blog, and made it almost immediately. Vanilla, ginger, and apricots? No need to say anything else. I am not too fond of compotes and jams, but I am so glad I tried this recipe. You should too…

Apricot Compote

(from The Iron You)

1 lb firm ripe apricots, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large skillet combine apricots, lime juice, sugar, ginger, and vanilla extract.

Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until apricots are glazed and syrupy, about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.

Serve apricot compote with yogurt or ice cream.


to print the apricot compote recipe, click here


This was absolutely delicious, not too sweet, very simple to prepare, the flavor of lime, ginger, and vanilla playing nicely with the fruit. Great recipe!  By the way, if you don’t have coconut palm sugar, use brown sugar or honey. I don’t normally have breakfast, but must say that a small bowl of this compote served with yogurt and a sprinkle of cereal was a nice way to start a particular Saturday morning…. Big thank you to Mike for sharing his recipe!

Apricot Compote Served


We make sorbets quite often during the summer. All credit must got to Phil, as he is the one who comes up with fruit combinations and plays with the right proportions to get the best flavor.  This batch combined apricots and passion fruit. Refreshing, light, a perfect ending to a summer evening…

Apricot PF sorbet

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1.5 lb. fresh apricots
1/2 lb. passion fruit pulp
1 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 ripe banana, cut in pieces
1 Tablespoon vodka (optional, but improves consistency)

Split the apricots in half, remove the pits, and cut each half into chunks. Combine the apricot and water in a saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Place the cooked apricots to the bowl of a food processor, add the banana, then puree the mixture until completely smooth. Add the passion fruit and vodka, process briefly to combine. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar if necessary.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.


to print the sorbet recipe, click here

The sorbet will stand on its own, but a superb way to indulge in it is by pairing it with….


Noyau (also spelled in its plural form, noyaux), the amazing, one and only ice cream made with apricot pits! Sometimes also called nougat ice cream, although it’s not the most appropriate name for it. The recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs, Pastry Studio.  Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet read my little review about Gayle’s book, please take a look here, and order your copy. She is a natural teacher when it comes to all things baking.  But, anyway, her description of this ice cream, the way each summer she makes sure to prepare a batch using apricot pits carefully collected, made me crave for it.  Wondering about the taste, apparently so unique.  Well, this ice cream turned Phil into a compulsive collector of apricot pits. The moment he tasted the first spoonful, he told me we better never EVER run out of it.  Yeap, folks. That great.  So, without further ado, here it is…

Nougat Ice Cream

(from Pastry Studio)

20 apricot pits (see my comments)
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C milk
2 1/4 C heavy cream
4 egg yolks

Break open apricot pits with a hammer to remove the small almond-like kernels inside. You may want to use a cloth to keep the bits from flying. Crush the kernels with a mortar and pestle or chop into small pieces.

Place the sugar, milk, cream and kernels in a saucepan and heat right up to a good simmer but just before it boils. Cover and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes to an hour, tasting periodically to check for strength. It should taste of almond, but not bitter.

When you have the desired flavor, heat the milk mixture a bit and pour some of it into the yolks, whisking constantly to temper the mixture. Pour the yolks and cream back into the pan and cook slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a clean container and cool, stirring occasionally. Chill thoroughly.

Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze. Pour into a clean container, cover the surface of the ice cream with a piece of plastic wrap, be sure the container lid is tight and place in your freezer to firm up.


to print the noyau recipe, click here

Comments:  In case I did not make it clear enough, let me state I am absolutely in love with this ice cream! Head over hills, spoons over bowls. Make it. Save those kernels, and make it. To break the pits, we found that once frozen they broke very easily with a nutcracker, so we did not have to use a hammer.  Full disclosure: Phil broke them, I watched. But the pits freshly taken from the fruit resisted the nutcracker, so they were sent for time-out into the freezer for proper attitude adjustment.  Here is what they will look like once removed from the fruit. You can save those at room temperature for a few days, no problem.

The smell is reminiscent of almonds, with a “je ne sais quoi” in the background. That “je ne sais quoi” will be prominent in the flavor of the ice cream… I am dreaming as I type this paragraph… magic flavor indeed!

You must dice the kernels to optimize the infusion of the cream… and after simmering to develop the flavor (I did it for 45 minutes), simply strain the pits out, and freeze the base of the ice cream…   That’s all there is to it!


Gayle, thank you so much for bringing this recipe to our kitchen!  It is amazing to think that at my age I would be tasting for the first time something so delicious… a wonderful gastronomic experience indeed!


Well, I hope you enjoyed this triple post on apricots. The season is of course over, but we have about 30 pits saved in the freezer to make one more batch of this ice cream soon.  We will savor one spoonful at a time, to try and stretch this delicacy as long as possible in time…

Before I leave you, let me share a link about the “danger” of noyau, linked to the presence of trace amounts of cyanide in the stone fruit pit. As you can see, no need to avoid this delicacy….


ONE YEAR AGO: Up Close and Personal with Kale

TWO YEARS AGOBlack Berry Cherry Sorbet

THREE YEARS AGO: Asparagus Pesto

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chocolate and Chestnut Terrine

FIVE YEARS AGO: Under the spell of lemongrass

SIX YEARS AGO: Greens + Grapefruit + Shrimp = Great Salad!


Before I urge you to go massage a kale (I admit it does sound a little naughty), let me tell you that not in a million years I would think this step to be necessary. In fact, I used to go into compulsive eye-rolling while reading recipes that call for “massaged kale”. I was not the only one, the lovely Kelly from Inspired Edibles had this to say about the process:

When I first encountered the term ‘massaged kale’ I found it not only pretentious but kind of silly too.
Had kale been elevated to such a precious status that it now required massaging?
I couldn’t just eat the stuff, I needed to pet it too?

I could not have said it better. But, surprisingly enough, she decided to give it a try, and was blown away by the outcome. You should definitely stop by her site to read about her experience.  I was skeptical, but after her endorsement, I dimmed the lights, put some music on, and fully engaged in the role of masseuse.


(slightly modified from Kelly’s Inspired Edibles)

for the salad:
1 generous bunch kale leaves, washed and torn into smaller bite-sized pieces
1 (15 oz) chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed and dried
6 fresh apricots, sliced
1/3 cup shaved almond, slightly toasted

for the spice mix:
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
pinch smoked paprika
pinch of ground cinnamon
sea salt to taste

for the Massage Oil (aka salad dressing):
2 Tbsp olive oil
juice of one lime (about 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp honey
sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste

Warm a dry skillet over medium-high heat and toss chickpeas in warmed skillet for about two minutes to remove any residual moisture. Be sure to shake the pan and/or stir the chickpeas.

Sprinkle the chickpeas with seasonings of choice. including salt and pepper.  Stir seasoned chickpeas to mix the spices. After about two minutes, drizzle a little bit of coconut or olive oil over the seasoned chickpeas and toss to combine. Keep stirring the chickpeas and adjust seasonings as desired. When the chickpeas are well saturated with flavor, remove from heat and reserve.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine salad dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Place kale pieces in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with dressing. Simply use your fingers to work the oil/dressing into the kale leaves – watch and feel the color/texture transformation. After only two minutes your kale is beautifully seasoned and softened and all set to eat. You will also find that it’s easier during the massage stage to remove any excessively hard pieces from the center rib of the kale. The leaves will fall off the rib quite easily and your fingers will be in place to feel it happen and facilitate the process.

Place massaged kale in large serving bowl, or on individual serving plates, and dress with seasoned chickpeas, fresh apricot and almonds.


to print the recipe, click here


Doesn’t that look pretty amazing?
I wish I could massage my face in the morning and have that type of improvement!


 Even though the star of this show should be the kale, I have to say I fell in love with Kelly’s skillet chickpeas. In fact, I’ve been making them this way quite often, varying the spices according to my mood. Those are better than roasted, with the added bonus of being ready in minutes, and without turning the oven on.  I had a hard time not munching on half of them before assembling the salad.


I suppose this recipe will please even hard-core kale haters.  The massage mellows down the harsh texture of kale, bringing it closer to a butter lettuce, but with a more assertive taste.  Of course, joining fresh apricots with the incredibly tasty chickpeas made this salad a complete winner!

I hope you twill try it either as we did, or using different spices and fruits.  I think fresh peaches or even strawberries could be fantastic substitutions.

Kelly, thanks again for another super creative and fun recipe!

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Berry Cherry Sorbet

TWO YEARS AGO: Asparagus Pesto

THREE YEARS AGO: Chocolate and Chestnut Terrine

FOUR YEARS AGO: Under the spell of lemongrass

FIVE YEARS AGO: Greens + Grapefruit + Shrimp = Great Salad!


As I mentioned in my previous post, I am doing a series of collaborative Valentine’s Day posts with Jamie, from Cooking in Red Socks. Go check her site for a great recipe this morning:  Cherry and Pecan Stuffed Endive… She pointed out that in cocktail parties the food served is not always user-friendly. So true!  I often find myself in serious trouble, trying to negotiate a glass of wine with a meatball that definitely needs to be cut in half or else… Her stuffed endive is classy, elegant, and perfect to enjoy while having a great conversation with your friends.  No fear of that chicken wing flying off and landing on the guest of honor. 😉

And now, it is time to share my choice of main dish, a recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. It was featured in one of my favorite food blogs, Elra’s Cooking. Her recipes have that aura that put me into a dreamy mode, they always bring together exotic spices, long-simmered, complex sauces, and her photography is simply superb! Cornish hens turn any meal into a festive occasion, so they seem perfect for a romantic meal.

Valentine Day Cornish Hens

(adapted from Elra’s Cooking)
2 (3 lbs) cornish hens
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic, minced
24 dried apricot
¼ cup golden raisins
2 cinnamon sticks
1 whole star anise
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cumin
1-2 tbsp orange flower water (I omitted, could not find it)
¼-½ tsp saffron threads, soaked in 2 tbsp hot water
½ cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley
a handful of slivered almonds
Heat oven to 375 F.

Saute shallot over medium heat until translucent, add minced garlic, dried apricot, raisins, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ground ginger, ground cumin, saffron water, and the chicken.  Stir to mix the ingredients, season with salt and pepper. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the stove off, add the parsley, mix, and let this mixture cool completely.
Clean, and cut the hens into quarters. Pat dry with paper towels. Arrange them neatly on an oven proof ceramic dish. Pour the apricot-spice mixture directly on the hens, turning to coat each of the pieces with this mixture, then arrange them back with the skin side up. Transfer to the oven, and bake for 1 hour.  About 10 minutes before the hens are done, scatter slivered almonds on top, and continue to roast until the skin is brown and the meat cooked thoroughly.  If you want, increase the heat slightly at the end to brown the skin, but make sure the liquid won’t dry too much.   

Serve hot, with steamed rice or couscous.


to print the recipe, click here


ApricotsThe apricot sauce is luscious, smells absolutely amazing!

plated1 Dinner is served!  Tender pieces of cornish hen, a sweet and spicy sauce, plain couscous to soak it all up…

And, to brighten up the palate, a simple salad with fresh spinach, grape tomatoes, and black walnuts, with a delicate dressing of creme fraiche…

Spinach Salad

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the dressing:
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 medium shallot, very finely minced
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

for the salad:
fresh baby spinach leaves
grape tomatoes, cut in half
black walnuts
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl whisk together the shallots, vinegar, creme fraiche, Dijon mustard and salt.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make a creamy dressing.  Reserve.

Toast the black walnuts lightly.  Assemble the salad, and drizzle the prepared vinaigrette on top. Adjust seasoning with more salt if needed, and freshly ground pepper.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  This was a super-delicious meal, the apricots soak the sauce and develop a hint of spice to marry their natural sweetness. Make sure you remove the star anise and the cinnamon stick before serving the dish, you don’t want to have the favorite person in your universe to break a tooth right in the middle of a romantic dinner. That would pretty much spoil the mood. 😉

A double thank you is in order: Elra, thanks for bringing this recipe to my attention, and Jamie, thanks for playing with me on this Valentine’s week…


Stay tuned for the final act of our romantic meal… dessert coming up tomorrow!


Every year I must prepare myself mentally for a cruel fate ahead: the end of the summer. Goodbye shorts and t-shirts, goodbye laying in the sun, goodbye golf (well, that could be a good thing for my fellow players). This year summer took too long to arrive and never got hot enough for my taste. I can only hope that winter will be equally wimpy. But, back to what matters, a recipe to put our ice cream maker to good use before storing it away.  Another production of my beloved husband, this sorbet was quite likely my favorite.


(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 lb. fresh apricots
1 lb. fresh raspberries
1 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 ripe banana, cut in pieces

Split the apricots in half, remove the pits, and cut each half into chunks. Combine the apricot and water in a saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Place the cooked apricots to the bowl of a food processor, add the raspberries and the banana, then puree the mixture until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar if necessary.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I shall hereby nominate my beloved husband the Master Sorbet Maker in our home.  He comes up with one great recipe after another, never afraid to improvise.

You’d think that a kitchen renovation could prevent him from coming up with this type of concoction, but far from that. If you paid attention to my last In My Kitchen post, you may have noticed the ice cream machine sitting at the counter during our chaotic hellnovation.   😉

A final note:  this is a very special blog post for me, as tomorrow we will be flying back home to our new kitchen!  Looking back,  I  can hardly believe I kept the Bewitching Kitchen going through it all…  It was a bit of a challenge, but here I am, almost crossing the finish line.


ONE YEAR AGO: Marcela’s Salpicon

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Kebabs

THREE YEARS AGO: Fondant au Chocolat

FOUR YEARS AGO: Got Spinach? Have a salad!