pumpkin pie, mascarpone, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

Happy Holidays all you wonderful people out there!! May you be surrounded by loved ones and good cheer this year, not to mention insanely delicious foods as far as the eye can see:) This creme fraiche swirled pumpkin sweet potato pie should be one of those foods, and it’s soooo purty! I like to serve it with fresh whipped cream and a spoonful of bananas foster from our previous parfait recipe. Stupid delicious and a bit of a different spin on pumpkin pie.

  • 1 recipe of your favorite 9 inch pie crust, or buy from the store
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted or canned pumpkin puree (you can also substitute other squashes like kabocha or butternut)
  • 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons packed finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 package creme fraiche (~3 1/2 ounces) or sour cream, as dollops in pie
  • fresh whipped cream
  • bananas foster recipe

~ Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

~ In a heavy bottomed pan, mix together pumpkin/squash, sweet potato purees, maple syrup, sugar, spices and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently for ~ 5 minutes. Cook 10-15 minutes stirring continuously until mixture becomes thick and glossy.

~ Place pie crust in pie pan so it’s ready and waiting.

~ In a large pyrex, whisk together eggs, half and half and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the hot squash mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour custard through a medium-fine mesh sieve into the prepared pie crust.

~ Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then decrease the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 35 more minutes or more depending on the wetness of your squash mixture. The outer edges should be set and puffed up while the middle should be a bit wiggly like jello. When we made this with fresh roasted quash versus canned pumpkin it took 10 minutes longer so adjust accordingly based on your mixture but remove from oven when the middle still jiggles as a bit as it will continue to cook once removed.

~ Remove from oven and plop small dollops of creme fraiche or sour cream into the hot pie. Swirl dollops with a knife or wooden skewer.

~ Cool at room temperature for 3 hours then refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream and bananas foster.

ENJOY and Happy Holidays!!!

Happy holidays everyone!!! We have so much to celebrate around here and so many celebrations going on! We just had the most incredible baby shower on the planet thrown by my wonderful friends Secia and Emily. You’ve seen some of Secia’s food skills on this blog many times before (as well as her face/body on occasion!) and today’s post features a caramel apple pie to DIE for beautifully made by the talented Emily. I’m so lucky to have these special women in my life. Though I’ve never posted a photo of myself on this blog here’s a big ‘ol pregnant photo of me and my super pumped baby daddy as well as a snap of Emily’s beautiful babe stacked on top of her future friend. So fun! Oh and we had baby doll corn hole which is exactly what it sounds like, chucking baby dolls across the yard. I highly recommend this for ANY reason, it was so hysterical!!



 Ahhhh:) Okay, okay onto the promised caramel apple pie. Believe me, I understand, apple pie is serious business and this one is THE business. Pouring the caramel through the lattice makes the top crust like crispy caramelized sugar. Totally brilliant and gorgeous! Seriously, this pie is just the most beautiful and impressive look pie on the planet so bring this to your holiday party and be a straight up baller;)

apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

  • 1 recipe of your favorite 9 inch double pie crust, one for bottom crust and one for lattice (or buy that baby from the store)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 Tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced evenly

~ Preheat oven to 425 degrees

~ Melt butter in heavy bottom sauce pan and stir in flour until a bit of a paste forms. Stir in sugars, spices and water and bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer until the mixture caramelizes and reduces slightly. Try you best not to take the whole pot of crazy delicious caramel to the face (maybe the fact that it’s scalding hot will help, sadly it didn’t for me!)

~ Place crust in bottom of pie pan and fill it with the apples. Make sure there are enough apples to mound slightly. Cover with the lattice and pinch the crust edges. Slowly and carefully pour the caramel mixture evenly through the lattice.

~ Bake 15 minutes at 425 then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35-45 minutes until apples are soft.


apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

Hiya everybody! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving! We ate and ate and ate and ate and, well, you get the idea. I think I was hurting for days afterward so it was time for some restorative winter food dinners. This recipe is an absolute favorite of mine so full of delicious, healthy goodies and super easy to boot!

I’ve been on a real cool weather foods bender these days. Living in a climate that doesn’t really have any kind of winter, I relish in the cool nights of the desert and love making some hearty, warming foods. I’m a huge soup person but my husband, not so much. Though soups and stews are the ultimate warming comforts foods in my life, I try to make some other non-soup dishes that celebrate the cooler season and are pretty healthy. This recipe fits the bill. It’s simple and doesn’t make a lot of dishes. One quick tip: Don’t skip making the maple chili pepitas (pumpkin seeds)! They are AWESOME and transformative in the dish (and also as I shovel them in my mouth by the fistful!). The flavor of the pepitas once they’re in the mix is slightly subtle but turns a simple skillet fry into a culinary masterpiece. Oh, and it’s stupid easy, did I mention that? Yep, stupid easy.

This pretty little number may make an appearance at our Christmas (or maybe hanukkah) table. Definitely an easy, healthy, impressive holiday dish!

squash, kale, vegan, holiday, christmas, thanksgiving, recipe, dinner, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier


  • 1 cup raw unsalted pepitas/pumpkin seeds (if you can only find roasted cut roasting time down to 5 minutes)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more depending on your taste)


  • 1 small butternut squash, cubed (you can also use kabocha squash, equally delicious!)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 large bunch lacinato (dinosaur) kale, stemmed and torn into bites
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees with oven rack in the middle. Toss together pepitas, maple syrup, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, several cranks of ground sea salt and chili powder until evenly coated. Spread evenly on parchment lined baking dish and roast for 10 minutes or so until fragrant. Remove from oven and cool completely before breaking them up.

~ In a very large skillet (or divided among two skillets if need be), combine squash, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, a few cranks of salt, shallots, garlic and rosemary. Cover and steam over high heat until the squash is softened and water evaporates, about 10 minutes.

~ Uncover skillet and cook stirring frequently until squash browns nicely, about 7-10 more minutes. Add kale and cook a few minutes longer until wilted.

~ Plate and top generously with pepitas.


squash, kale, vegan, holiday, christmas, thanksgiving, recipe, dinner, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier



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