Duchess Bake Shop Pie Class Part 1: Pie Dough

Hello everyone,

In Edmonton, we have a very chique and popular bakery called Duchess Bake Shop. BuzzFeed named Duchess as one of the top 23 bakeries around the world you need to visit (and we all know how BuzzFeed is THE WORD when it comes to everything!)

Additionally, our super-hip selfie Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ate there once.

Anyways, the bakery is just incredible. During a visit, you will find it packed with patrons, usually lining up to buy their amazing macarons. However, my favourite thing that they make is the pie.

Duchess Bake Shop recently opened up a new portion of the business dedicated to baking classes, Duchess Provisions. You can take all different types of baking classes including how to make their delectable macarons, but my friend Micheline and I managed to score two spots in their pie making class!

We were very excited to learn the secret to Duchess’ fabulous pies. And the class did not disappoint.

The class was taught by owner Giselle and her long-time employee Sherilynn. Giselle talked about how her co-owner Jake is this incredible pasty chef, but when she first met him he didn’t know how to make a pie. The home-trained Giselle is the pie expert. The two of them put their skills together to create the most popular bakery In town.

Pies are just my cup of tea. They are rustic, less fussy and more forgiving then a lot of other types of baking. Although you can definitely take some steps to make your pies top notch, they are pretty hard to screw up.

We started out by making a classic apple pie (pictured.) We used the hard and less sweet Granny Smith apples, which Micheline peeled and I sliced. We let the apples sit and get juicy, but not too runny. Micheline rolled out our pre-made dough. A nice trick they showed us was to fold the rolled out dough in half before sliding the pie plate under it and spreading it across the plate. It made this whole task much easier.

After adding the filling and making the top, we brushed the surface with an egg-white and cream mixture, then sprinkled with white sugar. The egg whites help make the pie crust nice and shiny while the cream helps it to brown. It’s amazing how nicely it works!

They put our apple pies in their impressive row of ovens and as the class moved on, we were treated to the aroma of half a dozen apple pies baking at once.

The dough was pre-made for us when we did our pies to speed up the class, however we made some fresh dough to take home. This will be today’s recipe.

Now I typically just use Tenderflake for my pie crusts, so I was curious to see how Duchess makes their crust. I was amazed that their recipe was even easier then Tenderflake.

Giselle explained to us that pie crust is really fat, flour and water. The most important part is to select the fat. She said you can use animal fat, like that of chicken, which will make the crust flavourful, but far too greasy. She said you can use butter, which has a lot of flavour but makes the crust a little heavier. Shortening gives you a very light and flakey crust, but offers no flavour. She said her preferred method is to use ½ butter ½ shortening.

We made our crust and each took a little bit home. I still have mine in my freezer, as pie crust freezes just great.


  • Make in advance and freeze if you have to.
  • You can make it in a stand mixer with the proper attachment, or use a pastry cutter and knead by hand.
  • If you are doing it by hand, cut your butter into very small pieces as this will make the whole thing much easier.

OTHER PIE TIPS FROM THE CLASS (pay attention, these tips are gold!!)

  • To get the dough on the pan, fold rolled dough in half before sliding the pan underneath
  • Once dough is placed in pan, use a kitchen knife to cut dough around the perimeter of the pie pan, leaving about 1 inch overhand.
  • When sealing the pie, fold excess dough underneath so it just comes over the edge of the pie pan.
  • Before baking, brush pie with an egg white – cream mixture, and sprinkle with white sugar.

Our pie class was so fun and interesting. Stay tuned for my next post where I will share my favourite Duchess pie recipe with you – sour cherry cream pie.
Thanks to Giselle for allowing me to share her recipe with you!

Bon appetit,


Click here to view other posts in this series:
Duchess Bake Shop Pie Class Part 2: Sour Cream Cherry Pie

Click here to view PDF Duchess Pie Dough Recipe:
Duchess Pie Dough

Good news! Giselle has released a Duchess Bake Shop cookbook feature some of the best recipes from the bakery. Click here for more information.


Duchess Bake Shop
Easy Mixer Pie Dough

Makes 3 x 9 – inch pie shells
or 1 covered or lattice-top pie plus extra pie shell.


640 g (4 cups) all purpose flour
226 g (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, in ½ inch cubes
200 g (1 cup) cold vegetable shortening, in ½ inch cubes
1 tsp salt
242 g (1 cup) ice water


  • You will need a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
  • Alternatively, use a pastry cutter to do by hand


  1. Place the flour, butter, shortening, and salt into a stand mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the fats are in small chunks and the mixture looks a bit dry. This should only take 10-15 seconds. If you overmix you run the risk of turning your mixture into a dough, and then you’ll have a difficult time incorporating all the water in the next step.
  2. Add the ice water all at once and mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Some small lumps of fat should remain in the dough.
  3. Shape the dough into three balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minute, making sure the dough is fully chilled before rolling out. At this point the dough can be frozen. Let it thaw completely before using it , but when you roll it out, be sure it’s still cold.


Pie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, or in the freezer for up to six months.


Freezer Friendly Meals

Hello everyone,

I apologize for the lack of recipes lately. John and I have been renovating our house over the last couple of months and my kitchen situation has not been conducive to cooking. I have a stove that is sometimes plugged in, a refrigerator that migrates around the floor, a sink in the basement, several cardboard boxes of kitchen utensils in a spare bedroom, and construction supplies all over. However, thanks to the magic of the microwave,  re-heating is a different story!

As a result, I have been borrowing my mom’s kitchen to do some batch cooking. Typically, I will emerge with a crock-pot meal and several containers full of something to freeze.

So for today’s edition, I thought I would go through my archives and share some of my favourite batch cooking/freezer friendly recipes that I have posted in the past.

Here are my 5 favourite freezable posts:

  1. Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup
  2. Vegetarian Chili
  3. Mexican Chorizo Sausage and Black Bean Soup
  4. Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
  5. Lesco – Hungarian Pepper Stew

The good news, is that thanks to the hard work of my husband, my kitchen should be up and running very soon. Once I get organized and hit my cooking groove again, stay tuned for some new recipes!

Bon appetit,


Moroccan Style Ground Turkey with Chickpeas

Hello everyone,

I gotta say I love the flavours of Moroccan cooking. Cumin, cinnamon and turmeric are such a nice combination.

I had some ground turkey and wanted to make some sort of quick and healthy skillet dish. With a little googling for ideas combined with what I had in the fridge and pantry, this is the dish I came up with.

I figure if a dish can satisfy all three criteria of quick, healthy and delicious, then you’re doing okay in life. I must say, this skillet dish does indeed satisfy all three of those criteria!

So satisfy your hunger without feeling guilty!

Bon appetit,


Click here for printable Word version of recipe:


Moroccan Style Ground Turkey with Chickpeas
Serves 4-5


1 cup couscous

1 lb ground turkey
1 large onion. Sliced
4 carrots, sliced
1 small orange fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp cinnamon
Red pepper flakes to taste
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup raisins
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro to garnish


  1. In large skillet, heat oil. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Brown turkey until cooked. Set aside turkey.
  2. Cook onions for about 2 minutes. Add garlic, carrots and sweet potatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes, until they start to soften.
  3. Add chickpeas and stir.
  4. Add spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, red pepper flakes) and stir for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add turkey and stir. Add chicken broth, raisins, tomato paste, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve on couscous.


Boil 1.5 cups water. With ¼ tsp salt, pour over couscous. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Leftover Ham Skillet

img_1036Hello everyone,

John and I made a marvellous discovery … next to the roasted chicken, Safeway sells cooked ham. With the delicious maple scent overpowering the chicken it was sitting next too, John and I had to grab one for dinner.

It was a pretty big hunk of meat, too much for two people, so I took the leftover ham, wrapped it in foil and threw it in a freezer.

A couple weeks later, I needed a quick dinner. So with my precious ham in mind, I pre-cooked some barley the night before in preparation for a quick skillet dish the next day.

Inspired by what I had hanging around in my fridge, sweet potatoes, peas, barley ham and cheddar cheese came together in a quick and delicious dish.

So next time you have some leftover ham, this is a great way to use it up for a quick and delicious dinner.

Bon appetit,


Click here for printable Word version of recipe:


Leftover Ham Skillet



Leftover ham, cut into bite sized pieces
2-3 cups cooked barley, pearl or pot
1 small onion, sliced
1 small orange fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced
6-8 mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup frozen peas
Grated cheddar cheese, between ½ to 1 cup


  1. Heat oil in a large pan on medium-high
  2. Sauté onions for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, garlic and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until sweet potatoes are nearly cooked.
  5. Add ham and peas and cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add barely and cook until barley is heated.
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Cover and cook until cheese is melted.

Jamie Oliver’s Rainbow Salad with Tarragon Dressing

img_2369Hello everyone,

Often, my friend Jackie comes over for dinner, and when she asks what she can bring, my answer is usually wine or salad, depending on my stock of wine or salad.

Whereas I am typically stuck in a salad rut (lettuce/spinach, tomato, cucumber, avocado and dressing) Jackie always brings something different and creative. Last time was no exception.

She found a Jamie Oliver recipe for a fresh, colourful salad, featuring greens, beets, zucchini and carrot, all chopped in a food processor. The dressing is made with fresh tarragon and greek yogurt, a little bit creamy but not too rich.

Given all the beautiful colours in the salad, and the fact that it was delicious, I thought that this week I would share this Jamie Oliver salad recipe with you!

Thanks to Jackie for a great salad and a lovely evening!

Bon appetit,


Click here for the printable Word version of recipe:


Rainbow Salad with Tarragon Dressing
By Jamie Oliver


1/2 fresh red chile
1 clove garlic
A small bunch of fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

To make the salad dressing add all ingredients together into a blender. Whiz until combined. Have a taste – you want the salt and acid to be slightly over the top, so adjust if needed and whiz again. Pour into small pitcher and take to table.

For the salad:
1 large zucchini
2-3 carrots
2 fresh red or golden beets
1 cup of sprouted alfalfa or pea shoots

Wash and trim the zucchini and carrots. Quickly peel the beets. Using the course grater attachment, grate the vegetables one at a time, all in a food processor. Tip out onto a platter or salad bowl so it looks like a rainbow and scatter pea shoots over the top. Dress at the last minute when about to eat.

Best of 2016

Hello everyone,

Happy new year to all! To celebrate, I have assembled a list of my favourite posts of 2016. Some make the list because they have an interesting story, and others because they are simply an awesome recipe. Enjoy the tasty memories!

  1. splitEurope Part 5: Croatia and Pasticada

For our honeymoon, John and I visited Europe and traveled to Barcelona, Italy and Croatia. I did 5 posts in this series and had a hard time picking a favourite. But in the end, the leg in Croatia will always hold a special place in my heart, and therefore top spot on this list!

  1. buffalo-chicken-pizzaJohn’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza

No best of list could be complete without one of John’s recipes. This buffalo chicken pizza is a household favourite and a crowd pleaser everytime. Be sure to use John’s Buffalo Sauce Recipe (one of my favs from 2015) for this pizza and other buffalo sauce needs.


  1. photo-4Best Brownie Recipe Ever

Brownies are beautiful, brownies are fine
I love brownies I eat them all the time
I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch
If I had a hundred brownies I’d eat them all at once!

After much experimenting and tweaking, this is the brownie recipe I have come up with! .



  1. img_20160129_184605Dill Pickle Soup

If you’ve never tried dill pickle soup, the whole concept may sound crazy to you. If you’ve tried it before, you will clearly understand why it makes my best of 2016 list. Give this one a chance!





  1. img_0583Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Another recipe that I think I have perfected. I have been making this recipe for years, and it warms my soul every time I eat it! So spicy and delicious.



  1. photo-2Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

This is just a damn good soup. Hearty, meaty, carb-y, vegetable-y and a killer broth to boot. Try it out, you’ll see!




Wishing you a fantastically fun and food-filled 2017,


Eggnog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

eggnog-cheesecakeHello everyone,

I’m sure everyone is busy planning for the holiday season; Christmas parties , battling traffic, staying warm, decorating trees, Christmas shopping survival strategies, and of course bountiful festive meals. I’m here to help with that last one.

You see this beautiful cake I made in this wonderful picture I took? After days of painstaking trial and error, I finally got this recipe just right. I slaved over the oven for hours and hours as I crafted this cheesecake masterpiece for my beloved family, and my culinary genius became apparent to all. They fawned over both my inner and outer beauty as they feasted on the fruits of my labour, then all agreed how impressive of a baker and human being I am, and unanimously elected me their benevolent overlord.

Ok I lied. I totally lied. I had NOTHING to do with this recipe, apart from the fact that I helped eat it and it was awesome. The part about the fawning and benevolent leader stuff is a lie too. The recipe is by some lady named Diane on food.com and my dear friend Micheline was the one who slaved over the oven to bring this magnificent cheesecake to a family gathering.

It really is a win-win for me … a post in which I didn’t do any actual cooking and a crazy good cheese cake I got to help eat!

After having a piece of this cheesecake, I decided it would be a hit at any holiday party, so thought I would share it with you in case you need some help with dessert planning for an upcoming festive gathering.


  1. Use room temperature ingredients
  2. Mix well until ingredients have just combined and are smooth, do not over-mix: air bubbles cause cracks!
  3. Always use a spring-form pan
  4. Be sure to evenly grease your spring-form pan
  5. Leave the cake in the oven with the door open for an hour after baking
  6. Remember to chill 6-8 hours before serving
  7. For this particular cheesecake, decorate with whipped cream right before serving, or whipped cream will fall flat.


Click here for the original post by Rose Bakes

Special thanks to Micheline (who possesses both great inner and outer beauty) for finding the recipe, making the cheesecake, taking the pictures, and sharing this great dessert experience with me. All I did was write a couple of paragraphs and put my name on the whole thing!

Sometimes, the fox lucks out and gets to eat whatever it is the little red hen is baking.

Your Benevolent Overlord,


Click here for the printable MS Word version of recipe:


Eggnog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
By Diane

Total Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes


For the Crust

12 ounces gingersnaps, crushed to fine crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp salted butter, melted

For the Filling

32 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups eggnog
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp rum extract
1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Start by preheating your oven to 325°F and then making the crust. I used my blender to crush the gingersnaps, then poured them into a bowl and added the sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix it all up until the crust is all soaked with butter!Pour the crushed cookies into a 10″ spring-form pan and up the sides at least an inch.
  2. in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until very light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Next you’ll need to add in the eggnog and mix until smooth. After that, add the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. And yes… mix again until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour mixture into your crust and bake it for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and crack the oven door. Leave the cheesecake there for another hour. After that, you can move it to a cooling rack to come to room temp or cover it and move it directly to the fridge.
  5. Cool and chill for 6-8 hours before serving.


Christmas Baking: Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

img_20161127_133824Hello everyone,

Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. There are even Christmas decorations in stores before Halloween these days! As November comes to a close, it seems that everyone has already started getting ready for Christmas. Something about Christmas planning in November seems wrong to me but I confess, I’m totally guilty of this early Christmas trend. I have already completed about 90% of my Christmas shopping, and today just finished my annual Christmas baking.

This is the 11th year my cousin Lori and I have done Christmas baking together. She brought to my attention that we have been doing this for over 1/3 of our lives. Freaky or impressive? As time goes by this fraction will only get larger and larger.

This year we made 5 different varieties of cookies for a total 418 cookies. We accomplished this feat in 4.5 hours, a time period that included clean up, putting our cookies into tins, and a lunch break. We credit this unusually quick pace to the fact that this was the first time in as long as we could remember that neither one of us was either sick or hungover.

We have baked today’s recipe, chocolate mint cookies, for 10 out of the 11 years, so it has become a classic for us. The mint flavour and the colourful M&Ms make it a great Christmas cookie. Additionally, it is an easy and forgiving recipe, one you can whip up pretty quickly with no stress.

Hopefully this recipe reaches you before you start your Christmas baking this year! Definitely a good cookie for Christmas!

Om nom nom nom,


Click here for the printable Word version of recipe:


Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 40 cookies

2 and 2 / 3 cups flour
1 / 2 tsp baking soda
1 / 4 tsp salt
1 / 2 cup cocoa powder
3 / 4 cup brown sugar
2 / 3 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
3 large eggs
1 tsp mint extract
1 and 3 / 4 cup mint chocolate chips – try splitting with mint M&Ms


  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda , salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars. Add eggs and mint. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add flour mixture and chocolate chips. Mix on low speed until just combined, alternatively with a spoon by hand.
  5. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 and 1 / 2 inches apart. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes at 350.



Cheesy Squash and Barley Bake


Hello everyone,

I decided one day that barley goes really nicely with melted cheese. Given that it’s fall and squash is in season, I thought it would be a nice idea to create a dish with squash and barley and cheese all together as one happy family!

This recipe is basically mac n’ cheese where the macaroni is replaced with high-fibre healthy goodness ie. squash, barley and red kidney beans. So at least you can feel a little less guilty when chowing down on the cheesy goodness.


  1. Freeze dish before baking if you want to eat it at a later date
  2. Try dividing into two smaller portions, one for the night of and one for later.
  3. Makes a great meal on its own, or a side dish.

Give this comfort dish a shot next time you want something warm and wholesome. You’d be surprised how satisfying all these healthy ingredients can be when you mix them with cheese!


Bon appetit,


Click here for printable Word version of recipe:


Cheesy Squash and Kidney Bean Bake

Serves 6


1 medium buttercup or butternut squash, cubed
1 can red kidney beans
2 cups cooked barley


2 tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
½ cup ricotta – substitute for more grated cheese
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup for sauce, 1 cup for topping)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs


  1. Cook barley in advance
  2. Prepare squash. Peel, remove guts and seeds, and cut into bite sized pieces. Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, cook until onions soften. Add garlic and thyme. Add the flour, mix well and then stir in milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer sauce until it thickens. Add 1 cup grated cheese and ricotta.
  5. Combine the squash, kidney beans, barley, and cheese sauce. Mix well and transfer to a casserole dish or baking pan. Sprinkle the top with remaining grated cheese, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  6. At 350 F, bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 15 minutes.

Alternatively, you can make the dish and freeze before baking. I split the recipe in two, eating one and baking one portion the same day, and freezing the second for dinner at a later date.


Halloween, Jack-o-Lanterns and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

roasted-pumpkin-seedsHello everyone,

Like many Canadian families, we often carve a pumpkin or two for Halloween. Growing up, my dad always made sure that none of the pumpkin seeds made their way into the garbage. My brother and I would carefully pick each and every seed out of the pumpkin, sometimes grabbing handfuls, and other times painstakingly removing seeds trapped in the cobweb of pumpkin guts.

Our efforts would always pay off, as we would be rewarded with delicious roasted pumpkin seeds! My dad would marinade them overnight and then roast them in the oven the next day, a memorable Halloween treat.

I decided to keep this tradition going. When John and I carved up our pumpkins, we made sure that each and every precious seed was removed.

I always find that every pumpkin is different when it comes to seed production. Sometimes you will get a pumpkin that is practically barren, and other times you will strike gold with a pumpkin exploding with seeds! Last year we had one of each … it’s always a good idea to hedge your bet with a second pumpkin.

Roasting the seeds is really easy. Soak overnight in salty water, drain and dry, toss in olive oil and then roast in the oven at 300 degrees F for about 40 minutes.

If you’re carving pumpkins anyways this Halloween, try roasting some seeds. Who knows, maybe it will become a tradition for you too!

Bon appetit,


Click here for printable Word version of recipe:


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Fresh Pumpkin Seeds, right out of the pumpkin
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
Olive Oil


  • Seasoning salt
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Additional Salt


  1. Remove pumpkin seeds from pumpkin. Rinse and clean pumpkin seeds.
  2. Soak pumpkin seeds overnight in a solution consisting of 1 cup of water to 1 tsp salt
  3. Drain and let seeds dry for a few hours.
  4. Toss seeds with olive oil and seasoning of choice – careful not to over salt.
  5. On a baking sheet, bake seeds at 300 for 25 minutes

Please note: I usually soak my seeds overnight but this isn’t necessary. You can roast them the day of, just rinse, season and toss in some olive oil.