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The two authors met when Bettina Schormann was executive pastry chef at the Ancaster Mill and Erin Schiestel was a high-school co-op student working in the kitchen making salads and hors d’oeuvres.Handout

The co-authors of the new cookbook Earth to Table Bakes: Everyday Recipes for Baking with Good Ingredients met in 2004 when Bettina Schormann was executive pastry chef at the Ancaster Mill, near Hamilton, and Erin Schiestel was a high-school co-op student working in the kitchen making salads and hors d’oeuvres.

Schiestel remembers watching Schormann whip up batches of sweet and savoury pie dough, homemade butter and Chantilly cream – just some of the staples that bakers like to have at their fingertips – and thinking: that’s where I want to be.

Two years later, she joined Schormann’s small pastry team and the two women have been close friends and business partners since, bonding over their passion for baking and their love of the pure precision of it.

It was during their eight years together at the Ancaster Mill that the two women also started developing the 100 recipes included in this book, savoury treats such as a Spring Onion and Roasted Mushroom Tart, and sweet ones such as the Classic Bread Bar Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote.

“A good baker is two things: patient and organized,” says Schormann, co-owner of three Earth to Table: Bread Bar restaurants in Hamilton and Guelph (where Schiestel is head baker/pastry chef). “We both love the rules, science and structure of the baking world. And if there is one thing we have learned, you can’t rush the process.”

Schiestel agrees. “You have to give yourself enough time to execute and prepare accordingly. Many steps [in baking recipes] take time,” she says. “My advice to new bakers? Read the recipe from start to finish before you start, have all the ingredients lined up and then let the process unfold as it should.”

The cookbook is divided into six categories: cookies, bars/squares, scones/muffins/biscuits, doughnuts/puffs and pies/tarts. There is also a section where they tailor treats to suit the seasons. In the spring, they suggest Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Croissants. In summer, Crème Brulé Pudding with Macerated Berries. In fall, Pumpkin Pudding Jars and in winter, a Beet and Feta Quiche.

“The genesis of the book was based on things we like to eat,” Schormann says. “Erin is great at anything sweet. She’s a whiz with coconut cream pie, sour cream-glazed doughnuts and layered cakes. I’m drawn to anything with a puff pastry and a salty tang. What we brought to the book, we hope, was our melded strengths: one sweet and one savoury. Which, by the way, is a good analogy for our personalities.”

Earth to Table Bakes is divided into six categories: cookies, bars/squares, scones/muffins/biscuits, doughnuts/puffs and pies/tarts.Handout

Spring Onion and Roasted Mushroom Tart

Makes one 9 by 13-inch tart

½ cup full-fat ricotta cheese

2 large egg yolks, divided

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

¼ cup full-fat sour cream

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided

1 pound (450 grams) mixed mushrooms, such as button, shiitake, and cremini, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, divided

¼ cup unsalted butter, divided

2 bunches spring onions, ends trimmed

1 pound (450 grams) store-bought puff pastry

4 ounces (115 grams) aged cheddar, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a baking sheet

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the ricotta until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Pulse to combine. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Fold in the sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet over high heat, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the mushrooms. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and 2 teaspoons of the thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook until the mushrooms are tender and slightly crisp, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Cut the white parts of the onion into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal. Slice enough of the green parts to measure 1 cup. Discard the remaining green parts. In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and the remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Be sure not to stir the onions too much so they retain their shape. Remove from the heat and let cool in the skillet.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the puff pastry into 9-by-13 inch rectangle. Using a ruler and a paring knife, trim the dough to 8 by 12 inches. Use a pastry brush to sweep off any excess flour. Transfer the dough to the greased baking sheet. Using a ruler and a paring knife, score the dough by running the knife around the perimeter of the pastry, ¼ inch from the edge, cutting only halfway through the dough. Use a pastry brush to cover the edges of the dough, outside the score mark, with the egg wash.

Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the pastry, make sure to leave the border bare. Scatter half of the mushrooms over the ricotta. Lay the cheddar slices over the mushrooms. Gently combine the remaining mushrooms with the onions and scatter them over the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with a side salad or bowl of soup.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Before serving, reheat in a 350 F oven for 10 minutes.

Excerpted from Earth to Table Bakes by Bettina Schormann and Erin Schiestel. Copyright ©2021 Bettina Schormann and Erin Schiestel. Photography ©2021 Maya Visnyei Photography. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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