brandy / cake / calvados / holiday / jam / pie


Pie and butter and cake – oh my!

It’s no wonder really that I really like, uh, booze.  One of the only baby pictures I have where I’m not stuffing my face, I’m attempting to down a glass of champagne, some panicked looking hands in the background attempting to thwart my desires.  It’s actually a series of photos 1) look furtively at the coffee table 2) stealthily approach 3) attack/swig.  Apparently, parents were more interested in photos of their kids than their actual kids long before Instagram.

Every night for the next eight years or so, to counteract the champagne incident of Christmas ’83 and expand whatever braincells survived the fateful sip, my mustaschioed, leather slippered, brandy sniftered father would sit on the couch in the den, reading aloud from some hard bound volume of Dickens or Twain, (I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said he was wearing a smoking jacket).  I would graciously allow my sister to get a closer look at the pictures first in order to sneak a finger dip into Dad’s brandy glass while his attention was on her, the flavors mellowing nicely in my mouth with whatever store brand toothpaste had been on sale that month.

While my preference now is for armagnac, my younger self preferred Calvados, since it essentially tastes like apple juice that finally got it’s shit together, got a job and moved out of its parent’s orchard.   I moved on, too; around eight or nine, I started reading to myself  at night and was therefore brandy-less until college.  (I know, we fancy.)  So here are three holiday excuses to use Calvados in your kitchen – Calvatres, if you will, (yep – here all week folks) – ’cause nothing says home for the holidays like, uh, booze.

My coworkers thoroughly enjoyed dos y tres.

The Trifecta of Calvados – go!

torte in triplicate

torte in triplicate

Apple Torte (uno)


For the Crust

  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/teas salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbs calvados

For the tart

  • 7 apples
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs calvados or other apple brandy
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teas ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teas nutmeg

Combine  butter, sugar, flour, salt in food processor and pulse until sandy in consistency.  Add egg.  Pulse until just combined.  Press into 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Freeze.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Core and peel three apples into small chunks.  Saute in 1 Tbs butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1/2 teas cinnamon, 1/4 teas nutmeg for about 10 minutes.   Add calvados.  mash lightly with fork.  Spread onto pie crust and place pie crust back in freezer.

Cut remaining apples into thin slices.    Arrange in circular pattern.  Combine remaining cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle onto tart.  dot with remaining butter.  bake for 40-45 minutes or until crust browns slightly and apples are cooked through.

bread and butterBrandied Apple Butter (dos)

makes about six 8 oz jars


  • 8 lbs of apple, peeled, cored, cut into chunks (about 30-40 apples.  I like using a variety – macintosh are best, but usually some random granny smiths and galas find their way from mouldering in the fridge to the pot.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teas ground cinnamon
  • 2 teas ground ginger
  • 1 teas ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teas ground cloves
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup Calvados or other apple brandy
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat, stirring frequently.  After about 30 minutes, reduce to low and let simmer for 2.5-4 hours more, stirring periodically to make sure the bottom doesn’t stick or burn.    Mixture should be a thick, dark caramel colored and have reduced by about half.  Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.  (Caution, easily splatters and it can be hot!!  Let cool first or wear an apron and long sleeves.  Splatter burns are not sexy.)  If canning, return to stove to make sure mixture is hot before putting into sterilized jars.  Can be kept refrigerated up to one month.

Honey Ginger Cake (tres)

makes four mini loafs

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teas salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup calvados or other apple brandy
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely diced candied ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line four approx 5.75 x 3 x 3  loaf pans with parchment.  Grease well.  Sift flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg into a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat butter in saucepan over low heat until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in molasses and honey.   Mix in sugar, milk and eggs until blended.  Stir in candied ginger, if adding.
Add reserved flour mixture to batter;  mix until well blended.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.


One thought on “Calva-tres!

  1. Pingback: International Pi(e) Day | The Boozy Bakeshop

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s