(Photo by: Joe Kim | Recipe & Food Styling: Tanya Eng)
End your Sunday nights with a classic Canadian treat — maple butter tart pie.
Try your hand at this divine recipe, which takes the nationally revered butter tart and makes it even better by turning it into a whole decadent pie, subtly flavoured with our next favourite thing, maple syrup. What does that mean for your final course of the day? As large a portion as you desire and more of that sugary, buttery filling in every single bite. Oh, Canada!
1 In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and lard, and pulse to a fine crumble.
2 Add the egg and water. Process the mixture to a loose, crumbly meal.
3 Work the pastry into a 1"-thick round disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a ¼"-thick and 12"-round disc.
4 Roll the pastry around a rolling pin.
5 Unroll over a 9-½" springform pan.
6 Work the pastry into the edges of the pan, forming a loose, wavy crust. Chill for 10 minutes.
7 To blind bake the pastry shell, line the pastry with parchment paper and cover the bottom with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 350ºF; remove the parchment paper and pie weights.
8 To make the filling, whisk together the maple syrup, sugar, melted butter, eggs and vinegar in a bowl.
9 Pour the mixture into the baked shell and place the pie on a baking sheet.
10 Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour on the centre rack of the oven. The pie is done when the top is golden brown but the centre is still wobbly. Let cool before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.
(This recipe was originally featured in our October 2014 issue.)
Use fresh peaches for this delicious dessert recipe.
Our delicious crumbly topped buckle comes with a hit of sour cream for a dessert that’s peach perfect!
Fuzzy peaches are ripe for the pickin’ right now, so make the most of their juicy sweetness by baking a moist and tender coffee cake.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
2 With the mixer still running, add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sour cream and almond extract.
3 Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
4 Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
5 Butter and flour a 9" round deep-dish pie pan.
6 Pour half of the batter evenly into the pie pan and layer 2 cups of the peach slices overtop.
7 Repeat with the remaining batter and peach slices.
8 To make the streusel topping, in a small bowl, work together the butter and the flour with your fingers until a coarse meal forms. Stir in the almonds, sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the peach slices.
9 Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the buckle comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream on the side.
Serves: 8 to 10
Take a tour of this classic yet modern holiday home. Image by: Janis Nicolay
This B.C. home welcomes the festive season with glitzy gestures, natural accents and a perfectly pared-down palette that feels as fresh as a winter snowfall.
Sure, you can make like Will Ferrell in the comedy film Elf and deploy enough doodads to turn your home into a believable Santa’s workshop. Or you can do the opposite and take a restrained approach to Christmas, just like designer Stephanie Giesbrecht does. “I personally like it when holiday decorations go with your home,” says Stephanie, who runs Stephanie Jean Design in Langley, B.C., and insists seasonal styling “should flow with everyday living.”
That’s certainly the case in Danielle Hardy’s home. Even the gingerbread house, where there’s nary a flashy gumdrop in sight, and the glistening plate of glazed sour cream donuts match the monochromatic decor. The 3,000-square-foot Surrey, B.C., abode Danielle shares with her husband, Paul, and their kids, Mattias, 9, Maxim, 7, and Isla, 3, is a stunningly muted yet spirited space year-round.
No strangers to the decor world themselves (the couple owns and operates the online decal shop UrbanWalls), Danielle and Paul knew exactly which style they were looking for when they moved into the house two years ago, and they enlisted Stephanie to execute it. “We love Stephanie’s aesthetic,” says Danielle. “That light Scandinavian look is so easy to live with.”
The decade-old house boasted a nice open-concept layout but desperately needed a cosmetic overhaul. So Stephanie revived the dated brown walls and cherrywood-stained kitchen cabinetry with paint – soothing white for the walls and a splash of light grey for the cabinets – and amplified the luxe look with a hexagonal marble backsplash, white quartz countertops, gleaming hardware and brass light fixtures.
She also revamped the living room, customizing the unfinished fireplace with a shelving unit to stash bits and bobs and keep things clutter-free. The result is a house composed of chic, kick-up-your-feet rooms in white with small doses of grey, glammy gold and, that grounding staple, black. “The look is classic yet modern, but not trendy,” says Stephanie. “So the Hardys won’t tire of it.”
“Danielle and I didn’t want the tree to look too pristine and perfectly thought out,” says designer Stephanie Giesbrecht, who happily confesses that she’s not an over-decorator. Mini lights and larger frosted vintage-style globe bulbs add layers, interest and sparkle. Wreath by Floralista Flower studio.
Presents? you shouldn’t have! These gifts look almost too pretty to open. a sprig of pine adorning one package reinforces the home’s natural scheme. “Colourful wrapping would have felt out of place in this setting,” says homeowner Danielle Hardy.
This delightful kitchen is the family’s favourite hangout. Can you blame them? The wooden table is warm and welcoming (a slick white version would have made the room feel too cold). A door to the right leads to the pantry and is covered with a chalkboard decal for family reminders and holiday greetings.
Danielle and her three-year-old daughter, Isla, enjoy a sweet moment on the feather-filled sofa, which is extra deep for max coziness. “It’s upholstered in outdoor-friendly fabric so it’s easy to clean, which is great for a young family,” says Danielle.
Tangerines in a flower-shaped bowl deliver a small dose of colour that doesn’t overwhelm.
An array of irresistible sweets displayed on milk glass cake stands and white dishware matches the house’s monochromic motif.
Danielle is drawn to gift wrap with minimal modern prints because it speaks to her background in graphic design.
Mattias (left) and maxim play a round of Jenga, a game that the whole family, young and old, can enjoy!
Sometimes the nicest countertop displays are the simplest. here, treats set on staggered cake stands offer edible eye candy next to a tray of refreshments.
Isla’s white play kitchen is as chic as her parents’ (even without the quartz countertops and marble-tiled backsplash). the removable noel decal can be switched out when the season is over. The wee charlie Brown-esque tree is adorned with whimsical ornaments that represent the treats that a little girl’s daydreams are made of: donuts, ice cream and cake.
The niche above the living room’s fireplace mantel serves as a spot for leaning lighthearted artwork, which shows off Stephanie’s relaxed design approach.
With a palette that recalls marshmallows, meringue and pristine snowy fields, this interior is the ideal backdrop for Stephanie’s holiday decor style. “We didn’t want it to look stereotypical, so we banished the bright reds,” says Danielle, who loved Stephanie’s original design so much she hired her for the seasonal decorating.
Stephanie layered in earthy seasonal elements with subtle festive spirit. Rather than weighing down the Christmas tree with a glut of ornaments, for instance, she employed two styles of string lights (one bearing big bulbs and the other bearing small ones) for spare but brightly lit branches that quietly dazzle. Elsewhere, snippets of nature – like the grand garland draped over a mantel – look like they’ve been foraged from the forest. Danielle is thrilled with the subtle seasonal makeover, which serves as proof that over-the-top Christmas decor (à la Buddy the elf) doesn’t define holiday style, and that opting for a pared-back approach certainly doesn’t make you a grinch.
Stephanie Giesbrecht's Serene Christmas must-haves
1 Natural greenery I love using wreaths, garlands and vases of greenery like cedar and eucalyptus throughout the home. They look great and offer amazing scents.
2 Lots of Candles Whether lined up along your dining and coffee tables, placed in lanterns by the fireplace or even tucked into small votives beside the kitchen sink, candles always add a welcoming cozy glow.
3 Ample ribbon Stock up on a variety of ribbons to finish gifts, embellish wreaths, tie onto garlands and incorporate into your Christmas tree decor.
4 White lights Whether used on the interior or exterior, white lights are my favourite. I especially love all the classic vintage-looking bulbs available.
5 Exterior planters Carry your Christmas decor outside by filling empty urns with pine and cedar boughs.
6 Glass cloches Highlight a special ornament or even a sweet gingerbread house by placing it in a bell jar.
7 Planted paperwhites I love fresh flowers, and having a bowl of potted paperwhites is an inexpensive way to keep live blooms around throughout the season.
8 Pretty platters Have trays on hand so you’re ready to entertain at a moment’s notice.
Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.