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Divine desserts

New Sonoma bakery Crisp created these hard cider and calvados apple pies.

KENT PORTER/PD
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 at 2:12 p.m.

If you want to make a splash on Thanksgiving day, don't show up to the annual potluck with the same old store-bought pumpkin pie and a canister of whipped cream.

Facts

DESSERTS & MORE

What: Crisp Bakeshop, a bakery and sandwich shop serving coffee drinks and morning pastries, pizza and sandwiches for lunch, cakes and pies, cookies and bread.
Where: 720 W. Napa St., Sonoma
Hours: Open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for Sunday, when it closes at 2 p.m.
Phone: 933-9999 or www.crispbakeshop.com.

Instead, bring a yummy homemade dessert that will stand out from the crowd and showcase all the delicious fruits of autumn, like crisp, fall apples and succulent pears.

“Everybody's coming to the potluck with Aunt Betsy's casserole and a store-bought pie,” said Moaya Scheiman, co-owner of Crisp Bakeshop in Sonoma with his wife, Andrea Koweek. “We're offering something different.”

Along with an array of seasonal cakes for the holidays, Crisp is baking up batches of easy, free-form galettes made in the autumnal flavors of sweet potato and marshmallow, pear and hazelnut.

Galettes are ideal for home cooks struggling to survive during the busy holiday season because the free-form crust is easier to shape than a regular pie crust.

“Galettes are easy to transport,” Koweek said. “And you don't have to worry about leaving a pie plate behind.”

For the holidays, the shop is also offering apple pies made with hard cider and Calvados, an apple brandy from France.

“With the hard cider, it's almost like adding vinegar, which brings the sweetness up,” Scheiman said. “And the Calvados gives it a deep, rich taste and an adult flavor.”

The couple expects Crisp to be extremely busy this week, with a raft of customers stopping by today to pick up their orders. But the bakeshop will close on Thanksgiving so that the couple can host their own potluck dinner at the storefront.

“We're doing a pop-up potluck for orphans,” Scheiman said. “There will be about 10 workers and friends who don't have families close by.”

Scheiman plans to start a new tradition this year by serving an authentic “turducken” from Louisiana. For the uninitiated, that's a turkey stuffed with a duck that's stuffed with a chicken. Each meat has a layer of seafood jambalaya around it.

Meanwhile, each guest is going to bring a favorite Thanksgiving dish from his or her own family.

At his daughter's request, Scheiman will make wild rice and corn dressing. Meanwhile, Koweek's tradition demands some kind of bread stuffing and the traditional sweet potatoes and marshmallow casserole.

“We're both New Yorkers, and both Jewish, but our Thanksgiving table is completely different,” Scheiman said. “Thanksgiving is the one holiday that we celebrate. Every other holiday we work.”

Since Crisp Bakeshop opened last April, the couple have been working hard to create a new identity for the artisan, small-batch bakery. Before opening, they gutted the storefront and completely renovated it.

“In urban patois, crisp means fresh and clean,” Scheiman said. “We wanted it to be urban and Wine Country at the same time.”

Koweek, who graduated in the pastry program at the California Culinary Academy of San Francisco, brings a broad range of experience to the bakery.

In Sonoma, she managed Ramekins cooking school and ran the catering program for The Girl & the Fig. In Napa, she cooked at a bed-and-breakfast and served as chef Thomas Keller's personal assistant.

Scheiman, who has lived all over the world as a journalist and filmmaker, was the chef/owner of Tamal, a Latin American wine bar in San Francisco. He brings a restaurant chef's perspective to the bakeshop.

“Bars and bakeries are recession-proof, because we're giving people affordable luxuries,” he said. “You can get a slice of heaven, some caffeine and chocolate for under $10.”

Along with a wide array of morning pastries, the bakeshop offers multi-grain country breads, brioches, baguettes, slider and hamburger buns, plus a tasty Sake-Nori roll used in a “secret sandwich” (not listed on the menu) made with cold-smoked salmon.

Along with the pies and galettes, the bakeshop is offering mini-cakes and full-size layer cakes in seasonal flavors like Apple Butterscotch and Chocolate Pecan Bourbon for the holiday season.

“Baking is flour and water and sugar and butter and chocolate and love,” Scheiman said. “There's nothing more simple than that.”

The following recipes are from Andrea Koweek and Moaya Scheiman of Crisp Bakeshop, who recommend the J Pear Liqueur from J Vineyards and Winery.

Pear and Hazelnut Frangipane Galette

Makes 4 galettes

For pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

4 ounces butter, at room temperature

4 ounces Philadelphia brand cream cheese

1 large egg

For filling:

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup hazelnut meal

4 ounces cold butter, cubed

2 eggs

4 ripe pears

1/3 cup pear liqueur

Juice from 1 lemon

Egg wash made from 1 egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon of milk

Raw coarse sugar

For pastry: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in the egg until combined. Add dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.

Turn out onto a floured surface and form into 4 round disks. Refrigerate for one hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each disk to an 8 inch rounds

For filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the sugar and hazelnut meal. Add the butter until combined. Add in eggs one at a time until creamy.

Peel, core and slice pears and soak in pear liqueur and lemon juice. Spread a thick layer of the hazelnut filling over each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border. Layer the pear slices over the hazelnut filling.

Fold the dough up and around the filling to form an attractive crust. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Place on a parchment lined sheet pan, coated with non-stick baking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and fully baked.

Rustic Hard Cider and Calvado Apple Pie

Makes 1 9-inch pie

For pie crust:

6 tablespoons vegetable shortening

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon salt

½ cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water

For filling:

6 Braeburn apples

3t ablespoons butter

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ cup hard apple cider

1 tablespoon Calvados

Egg wash made from 1 egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon of milk

Raw coarse sugar

For crust: Put butter and shortening in freezer. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Pulse briefly to combine. Scatter the cold butter and shortening over flour. Pulse the food processor about 10 times until the mixture is crumbly and there are pea sized pieces of butter. Add ½ cup of ice water and pulse until the dough is just coming together. Add the additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if necessary. (The dough should be moist enough that is just comes together when you squeeze it.)

Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter. Knead briefly and form into two disks. oRefrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Roll one of the pie dough disks to a 12-inch circle. Form into a 9-inch pie pan with the extra dough overhanging the sides of the pan. Freeze while making the filling. Save the remaining disk for another pie.

For filling: Peel, core, and cut apples into thick slices. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg to the pan and cook until bubbling. Add the hard cider and Calvados. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the apple slices to the pan. Cook until apples are softened and remove the pan from the heat.

Fill the crust with apple mixture. Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 350 for about 45 minutes.

You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com

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