Tag Archives: Thanksgiving Desserts

Francois Payard’s Apple Honey Cake

Now that we’ve set our clocks back an hour for daylight savings time, the holiday season begins. Grocer coolers are filled to the top with turkeys and foil roasting pans have found their way to the end of every aisle. Candy canes and Christmas themed M&M’s have been artfully placed at check-out counters and sweet-themed dessert posts have taken over Instagram.

As 2020 thankfully nears the end of it’s life-cycle, planning for fall and winter holidays is in full swing. Family dinners, office cocktail parties, elegant soiree’s and casual gatherings all require a stunning dessert. Set this little beauty next to the  traditional pumpkin pie and watch it disappear. 

We are delighted to kick off our holiday recipe segments with chef Francois Payard’s ambrosial Apple Honey Cake recipe.

Chef Payard's Apple Honey Cake

  • Difficulty: Moderate
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(6 servings) 

Chef Payard's Apple Honey CakeBatter

  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (60 grams) slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (50 grams) confectioners¹ sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (54 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams honey)
  • ¼ cup (58 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split 

Apple Filling

  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) (142 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3 medium (510 grams) Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1Ž4-inch dice
  • ½  cup (168 grams) honey
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) Calvados or apple jack 


  • One premade 91Ž2-inch tart shell 


  • ¼ cup (84 grams) honey


  1. Make the batter: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the butter until it begins to brown and has a nutty fragrance, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Put the slivered almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Transfer the ground almonds to a medium bowl. Sift the confectioners¹ sugar over the almonds. Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and gently whisk to combine.
  4. Combine the egg whites, honey, cooled browned butter, and cream in another medium bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean (reserve the pod for another use) into the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. Set aside.
  5. Make the apple filling: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until it is golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the diced apples and honey and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until the apples are slightly softened. Add the Calvados to the skillet, carefully light it with a match, and cook until the flame dies. Drain the apples in a strainer set over a bowl, reserving 1Ž/4 cup of the liquid. Stir the reserved liquid back into the diced apples.
  6. Pour the apple mixture into the tart shell and spread it into an even layer. Scrape the financier batter over the apples, covering them completely.
  7. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the tart on a wire rack.
  8. Glaze the tart: Put the honey in a heatproof glass measure and microwave on high for 10 to 15 seconds, until hot. (Or, heat in a small saucepan.) Brush the honey over the top of the hot tart. Cool the tart completely before serving.

Francois Payard

A gracious thank you to chef Payard for the above recipe.

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Dazzling Holiday Desserts: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Sauce

slow-cookr-sticky-toffee-pumpkin-cakeFinish your holiday feast with the grand finale of all desserts – a moist, pumpkin cake base, studded with chocolate chips and topped with a sticky caramel sauce. It all comes together in your slow cooker, saving time, effort and oven space. Scoop baked cake into individual ramekins and top with whipped cream for a fancy, single-serving of indulgence.

This week, McCormick Kitchens sent a few recipes our way to share with our readers. They understand that planning a perfectly timed Thanksgiving feast brimming with the nostalgic flavors and aromas of the season can be challenging. This year, the McCormick Kitchens have developed wow-worthy recipes that put the slow cooker to work, making everything from homemade cranberry sauce to sausage sage stuffing and mouth-watering apple cobbler. Our Thanksgiving menu has just been expanded.

“Many classic Thanksgiving dishes are even better when prepared in a slow cooker – it gives desserts an ooey gooey texture and allows flavors to fully develop in sides and sauces,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “Instead of using canned cranberry sauce, let fresh cranberries, cinnamon, bay leaves and an orange slowly simmer in the slow cooker. Four hours later you’ll have an impressive, sweet-tart sauce to serve with the turkey and spread on leftover sandwiches.”

Stay tuned this holiday season as we share McCormick Kitchen’s delicious slow cooker recipes.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Sauce

Serves: 16
slow-cooker-sticky-toffee-pumpkin-cake-with-caramel-saucePumpkin Cake
  • 1 package (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice


  1. Spray inside of 6-quart slow cooker with no stick cooking spray. For the Cake, mix all ingredients in large bowl. Pour into greased slow cooker. Place clean, dry hand towel over slow cooker and cover with lid.
  2. Cook 3 1/2 hours on LOW or until cake is almost set.
  3. Meanwhile, for the Caramel Sauce, cook and stir all ingredients in small saucepan on medium-high heat 5 minutes or until sauce is smooth.
  4. Carefully remove slow cooker insert and place on wire rack. Pour 1/2 of the Caramel Sauce over the cake. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes to cool slightly. Serve cake with remaining sauce, and ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

This delicious recipe was sent to Your Home with Karie Engels to share with our readers, by McCormick. For more Thanksgiving tips and recipes, visit McCormick.com. Also, check them out on Pinterest and Facebook.

Photo Credit:  Julie Gransee / Lovely Little Kitchen.

Francois Payard’s Chocolate Pecan Tart

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is traditionally the day I bake for the holiday dessert table. The aroma wafting through the kitchen is intoxicating and keeping all foods intact for guests arriving Thursday, is a bit of a chore with two teenagers in the house.

Pies, small decorative cookies and cakes are dessert menu staples, and this year Pecan Pie with a twist is new on the list. The addition of chocolate gives it a rich, decadent flavor and our guests will love it. I know yours will too.

Chocolate Pecan Tart

  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Yield: 10 servings

Chocolate Pecan Tart Chef PayardSpecial Equipment: 9 inch flat tart tin, mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, piping bag, sauce pot

For the Tart:

Take some sugar dough (See Base Recipes) and roll it to ¼ inch thick. Take the tart ring and line the bottom and the sides. Trim the sides to make it even and clean and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.  Store in fridge till ready to use.


  • 25 g     flour (1/4 cup )
  • 220 g   eggs (8 oz) 4 eggs
  • 340 g   corn syrup (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
  • 150 g   brown sugar (5 ½ oz) ¾ c.
  • Pinch of salt
  • 180 g   melted butter (6 ½ oz) 1 stick + 5Tbs.

Place the flour, eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the mixture on medium speed until well combined. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture.

* Filling can be made up to 2 days in advance, just be sure to whisk well to combine.

Candied Pecans:

  •             60 g     water (1/4 cup)
  •             60 g     sugar (1/3c)
  •             125 g   whole pecan halves (1½ cup)

Boil the water and the sugar together to make a simple syrup (See Base Recipes). Place the pecans in a bowl and toss with the syrup. Place on a sheet pan and bake for five minute segments in an oven set at 350F or until the pecans are candied and golden brown.


            ½ cup Chocolate Chips

Place candied pecans and the chocolate chips into the tart shell. Pour the pecan mix onto the nut mixture, about ¾ full. Pour the pecan mix in the tart to fill and bake for about 30 min in an oven set at 350 F. The tart shell should have a golden color and the filling should be still soft in the middle. Remove the tart from the oven and set it aside to cool. Serve warm with ice cream.

Francois PayardA gracious thank you to chef Payard for the above recipe.

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