The first American pioneer housewives used to bake a pie for every meal of the week. Settlers could not finish a meal without their pie. In the winter when it was very difficult or impossible to find fruits they used to bake pies with potatoes. As they discovered pumpkins and sweet potatoes that where so sweet, they created pies made with these vegetables. Here is my version. Enjoy!

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: 30 min
Make 2-9″ pies

1Lb.10.5 oz. (750g.) Pumpkin purée (1 #2-1/2 can) minus 2 cups
2 cups drained sweet potatoes or yams
¼ cup pastry flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups brown sugar (if you like it very sweet add more sugar and taste the batter)
5 eggs
2-½ cups milk or heavy cream
2x9” pie shell

Preheat the oven at 450F and put a baking tray on the bottom shelf in the oven. Place the pumpkin and the sweet potato in the bowl of a mixer with a whip attachment. Sift together flour, spices and salt. Add the flour mixture and the sugar to the to the pumpkin. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs and mix in. Scrape down the side of the bowl. On low speed, add gradually the milk. Mix until evenly blend. Let it rest 30 minutes before using. Re-mix and fill two pie shells. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes, lower to 350F and bake until the sides are set but the middle is still a little giggly. Take them out of the oven.

You can use cans of sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Waiting 30 minutes before baking allows the pumpkin to absorb the liquids and makes a smoother filling that is less likely to separate after baking. You can leave pieces of sweet potatoes to add a little texture. Do not over-bake the top of the pie will be cracked.

Tasty Tuesdays — Sweet Potato Casserole with Pumpkin Seed Topping

Being French, Thanksgiving is very exotic for me. It is an important part of American history and very foreign to my French origin. But a few years ago I had the privilege to share my first Thanksgiving meal with my best friend. He served a classic Thanksgiving feast, which included a sweet potato casserole. To my French taste buds, it tasted more of a dessert than a side dish. So I decided to create my own version. Sweet potatoes are not a staple in France; and adding marshmallow topping is really unknown there! To balance the sweetness of the sweet potatoes I mixed in sour cream, and to make it more of a side dish than a dessert I put a very lightly sweet streusel topping. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin
Preparation: 20 min
Cooking: 30 min (1h ½ for baking the sweet potatoes)
10 to 12 adult portions

Ingredients :SweetPotatoCasserole2
6 Lbs. Sweet potatoes
5 Tbsp. Butter melted
1 ½ cup (12oz.) sour cream (or crème fraiche, or half and half)
4 egg yolks
Salt and pepper to taste
Topping : Pumpkin seeds topping
½ cup(2 ½ oz.) all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Ground anis seeds
¼ tsp. Salt
5 Tbsp. Soft butter
1 cup pumpkin seeds (or nuts)

Preparation :
Preheat the oven to 400F. Poke sweet potatoes with a knife in several places. Place them on a baking sheet and bake turning once until they are tender, around 45 min to 1 ½ hours depending on the size. Remove from the oven, cut them in half to cool before scooping the flesh out. While the potatoes are baking, grease 13 by 9 inch baking dish.  Combine flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add the butter and mix until crumbly. Add the seeds to the mixture. Set it aside. Blend half sweet potatoes. Add melted butter, egg yolks, salt, pepper and cream, and blend 20 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with the potato chunks and combine gently. Pour the mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and baking until topping is brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tips and info :
You can add any spices you like, but be careful not to over-spice the sweet potatoes–you will lose their flavor. You can also use herbs like thyme or rosemary instead of spices. Taste the sweet potatoes and add sugar if you like the casserole sweeter.
Sweet potato and yam are two different vegetables. Yams, grown in Africa and Asia, are a starchy root that can grow up to 100 pounds! Sweet potatoes are more nutrient-rich. They are grown mostly in North Carolina, which produces 40% of the national supply. It is the official vegetable of North Carolina. You can eat the whole plant, not just the tubers. The leaves, shoots and stems, which are similar to spinach, are also edible.

Baker’s Blog — Baked Apple Tart

A baked fruit tart is an unbaked tart shell filled with a layer of fresh fruit and a little sugar and then baked. Many types of fruits may be used. You can used peaches, plums, pears, apricots, cherries and of course apples. A number of variations are possible to create a wide range of tarts. For example, pastry cream or frangipane (almond cream) can be spread on the bottom of the shell or simpler, apple sauce and cookie crumbs will contribute to the texture and the flavor of your tart. Cookie crumbs, crushed nuts or seeds, or cream of wheat will absorb the juices of the fruits and leave the crust crunchy. Just use your imagination!

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Basic apple tart:
Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: around 45 min
Makes 8 to 12 slices

1Lb.12oz. Firm flavorful cooking apples (Granny Smith, Pippin, Rome, Stayman..)
10” (25cm) unbaked tart shell
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. of sugar
3 Tbsp. of farina or almond powder
Apricot glaze as needed

Preheat the oven to 400F/425F. Peel, core and cut the apples into thin slices. You should have about 1Lb. 6oz. apple slices. Dock the bottom of the tart shell. Sprinkle with farina, then with sugar. Arrange the apple slices in the tart shell. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the apples. Bake until the pastry is browned and the apples are tender,around 30 to 45 mintes. Cool. Brush the apples and the top of the apples with the glaze.

Apple custard tart:
Reduce the apples to 1Lb.4oz. Reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup. Assemble and bake as in the basic recipe. When about half done, carefully pour the following custard mixture and continue baking until set 15 to 20 minutes.

½ cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
1/3-cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients together.

This tart can be made with plums, pears, apricots, cherries or peaches according to the season. You can switch the farina for ground to powder almonds, pistachios or other nuts. You can spread applesauce on top of the farina and sugar on the bottom of the tart shell. It will help to hold the apple slices.

Tasty Tuesdays — Roasted Parsnip and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem artichokes are also called ‘Sunchokes,’ ‘sunroots,’ and ‘topinambour.’ The name does not have anything to do with Jerusalem. The Italian for Sunflower is Girasole, so the original name would have been Girasole Artichoke. They resemble sunflowers with small flower heads. Sunchokes are native to North America and were first cultivated by the Native Americans.
Like the cranberries that we used in the relish last week, I chose again to use an ingredient native to North America to celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of this month. This soup will make a healthy and light appetizer.

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: 1 hour
12 people

3 Lbs. parsnip peeled and cut into large pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Lb. Jerusalem artichokes
3 medium shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ cup dry apple cider
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
4 cups vegetarian chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Heavy cream for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle the parsnip pieces with olive oil.  Place the parsnips on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, until browned. Transfer in a big pot. Meanwhile, peel and dice the artichokes. Place them in the pot with the parsnips. Coat a frying pan with olive oil a sauté the chopped shallots. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cider and cook the mixture for 3 minutes. Add this mixture, the tarragon and the stock to the pot. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until the soup is very creamy. Adjust the consistency by adding water to the soup and re-heat. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a swirl of heavy cream.

Tips and info:
Jerusalem artichokes are also called ‘Sunchokes’, ‘sunroots’, and ‘topinambour’. The name does not have anything to do with Jerusalem. The Italian for Sunflower is Girasole and so the original name would have been Girasole Artichoke. They resemble sunflowers with small flower heads.  Sunchokes are native to North America and were first cultivated by the Native Americans.  A French explorer Samuel de Champlain found them being grown at Cape Cod in 1605. Sunchoke tubers store the carbohydrate inulin (not to be confused with insulin) instead of starch. Inulin is a zero calorie saccharine, which does not undergo metabolism inside the human body, and thereby; makes this tuber an ideal sweetener in diabetics and dietetics. They are available early spring and late fall (October and November). They are very easy to grow but store and transport poorly. So it is rare to see them in supermarkets.  Once they are stored, the inulin is converted to fructose and the tubers develop a much sweeter taste.
If you cannot find Jerusalem artichokes you can replace it with 4 to 6 fresh apples.

Tasty Tuesdays — Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spiced Caramel Sauce

Did you know some people say that bread pudding is as old as bread itself? People created bread pudding in order to avoid wasting stale bread. You can compare bread pudding today to French toast. They are both made with a custard, which is a mixture of eggs, milk and cream, and either salt or sugar depending of if you want a savory bread pudding or a sweet one. I chose to create a sweet version with a lot of different spices. But I encourage you to follow your inspiration and try to create your own version. Enjoy!

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 30 min
Cooking time: 20 min
24 medium muffin size puddings

1 to 1 ½ Lb. pumpkin bread cut into ½ “ cubes
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
5 large eggs
2-½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cup whole milk
1 ½ tsp. allspice (or cinnamon)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the cubed bread into a big mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree. Add the milk, cream and spices. Pour the custard onto the bread. Push the bread in the custard to soak it well. Add the pumpkin seeds and mix to coat evenly. Spray the ramequins with oil or butter. Bake until a knife comes out almost clean.



1cup heavy cream
½ cup apple juice
1 star anise
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Combine all the ingredients but the sugar, water and vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain into a clean pot and put over low heat. To make the caramel, combine the sugar, water and vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cook without stirring until deep amber color. Slowly whisk the cream mixture until smooth.

Tips and info: You can use any type of bread you like. You can also create your own spice mix. You can use toasted pecans instead of pumpkin seeds. You can add 1 Tbsp. of kosher salt to the sauce for a salted caramel sauce.
Food historians trace the history of bread pudding to the early 11th and 12th centuries, as frugal cooks looked for ways to use stale, leftover bread instead of letting it go to waste. In 13th century England, bread pudding was known as “poor man’s pudding,” as it was a popular dish with the lower classes.
In addition to bread pudding, cooks also used stale bread to make stuffing, thickeners and edible serving containers. Although the Romans did use eggs as binding agents in various recipes, custard was not invented until the Middle Ages; so early bread puddings were probably made simply from milk, stale bread, fat and perhaps a sweetener. The Romans were not the only one to make bread puddings. Ancient versions of bread pudding include Om Ali, an Egyptian dessert made from bread, milk or cream, raisins and almonds; Eish es Serny, a Middle Eastern dish made from dried bread, sugar, honey syrup, rosewater and caramel; and Shahi Tukra, an Indian dish made from bread, ghee, saffron, sugar, rosewater and almonds. Bread puddings have remained popular throughout the ages and elaborate versions are now served in upscale restaurants in New York City.

Baker’s Blog — Fresh Fruit Tart

Did you know that a tart is not just a pie without a top crust? They are usually very thin (less than 1 inch thick), and often very colorful because of a pattern of carefully arrange fruits. Tart pans are shallow and straight-sided. The sides are often fluted and false bottoms are easiest to use because tarts are usually removed from the pan before serving. They can be rectangular or square, not only round. The shell can be baked first–”blind-baked”–or it can be baked with the fruits.
Recipe by Isabelle Lapin
Preparation: 40 minTart3
Cooking: 20 to 30 min
Makes 1x10” tart (25cm.)

10-12 oz. pate brisée or short dough
1-½ -2 Lbs. fresh fruits
14 oz. pastry cream
4 oz. apricot glaze as needed

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 400F. Roll out the dough about 1/8 inch thick for pate brisée and ¼ inch for short dough. Place the dough in tart pan. Flute the edges and trim the excess dough. Refrigerate 30 minutes before baking. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork (this is called docking). Line shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. (This is called blind baking). Remove the beans when baked. Cool the tart shell completely before filling.

Pate brisée:
Preparation: 15 min
Cooking: 30 min

2-¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 stick + 2 Tbsp. (5oz.) butter soft (pomade consistency)
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
½ cup water or warm milk

Preparation: Mix flour, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter with your fingertips. It must resemble coarse semolina. Rapidly add enough water to put the dough together. Avoid refrigerating because it becomes hard. Or take it out off the refrigerator 1 hour before using (you can add zest or flavoring if desired).

Pastry cream (crème patissière):
Preparation: 10 min
Cooking: 20 min
For 8 people

2 cups (500ml.) milk
2 eggs
¼ cup all purpose flour (or 4 heaping Tbsp. corn starch)
½ cup sugar 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preparation: Boil the milk. Beat the eggs with the sugar and the flour. Slowly, and while mixing, pour some of the boiling milk on the egg mixture. Mix well and add the rest of the milk. Pour back into the pot and return to the flame. Mix constantly and boil for 3 minutes. Turn the fire off. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap on contact with the cream. Let it cool before using.

Assembling the tart: Cut the fruits. Warm the apricot glaze. Spread the cool pastry cream on the bottom of the baked shell. Use enough cream to halfway fill up the side of the shell. Carefully arrange the fruits on top of the cream. Brush the fruits and the sides of the shell with the glaze.

Tips: The glaze can be made with apricot jam, red currant or apple jelly and some water to make it spreadable. If using apricot jam, sift it before using it. You can use any fruits you like, but avoid very juicy fruits like watermelon or cantaloupe.


Tasty Tuesday — Cranberry-Apple Relish

Did you know that relish is made with fruits and vegetables, while a chutney is mostly made with fruits? Chutney is simply a kind of relish made with Indian spices like ginger, coriander, turmeric, tamarind, nutmeg or allspice. Relishes contain fewer spices and are generally mildly sweet. Keep this relish in an airtight container in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving, and enjoy it with your main course!
Recipe by Isabelle Lapin
Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: 20 to 30 min
Makes 12 to 16 servings (around 4 cups)

Cranberry-Apple Relish

2 (12 oz.) packages cranberries
2 oranges (segments and zest)
4 tart apples, peeled and chopped
2 celery, chopped
1-cup raisins
2 cups sugar
½ cup chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
¼ to ½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water or apple cider
1 tsp. salt

Grate the zest of the oranges and set aside. Remove the “supremes” of oranges (It is just the flesh which is the best of the orange). Cut the segments in small pieces. Peel and cut the apples in small pieces. Chop the celery and the mint. In a pot put the sugar, salt, vinegar and cider; bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Add all the ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered until desired thickness, stirring occasionally. Put in airtight containers and refrigerate until time to use.

Tips and info:
A relish is made with grated or cut up vegetables or fruits, while chutney is almost always made with mainly fruits. They are both condiments and are often used interchangeably. Most chutneys are sweeter than relish and are cooked longer.
Chutney is simply a type of relish with roots and flavors based in Indian cuisine. When Britain and other western countries brought chutney into their own cuisines, the condiment took on a notably sweeter taste. Chutneys include spices native to India, like ginger, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, chili pepper, tamarind, nutmeg, and allspice. The combination of these spices determines whether chutney will taste savory, sour, sweet, or spicy. Relishes by contrast contain far fewer spices and are generally tangy or mildly sweet.
Cranberry: is one of only a handful of major fruits native to North America. Others include the blueberry and Concord grape. It gets its name from Dutch and German settlers who called it “crane berry”. Native Americans used cranberries to make a survival cake known as pemmican. They also used the fruit in poultices and dyes. Legend has it that the Pilgrims may have served cranberries at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Haunted Hall 2015 — Tomorrow night, October 30th!


Manhattan Youth’s Haunted Hall is back, by popular demand. We hope you and your family will join us this Halloween Eve for one of our favorite events of the year!

Families with younger children will enjoy visiting our Silly Spooks, a short stroll featuring a Friendly Ghost peek-a-booing in our graveyard, a Scared-Cat Scarecrow in a balloon pumpkin patch, and a Wiggly Witch with a super-size bubble cauldron brewing up potions galore.


Families with older children can choose to brave the Tunnel of Terror, an interactive walk through a Haunted Graveyard, a Vampire Castle, Zombie Alley, the Mad Science Lab, an Insane Asylum, and the Black Widow’s Web. Each installation will be staffed by professional actors and our Manhattan Youth child-care professionals.


And while waiting in line, children can Trick-or-Treat for candy from our staff and take turns in our Phantom Photo Booth. Photos from the Photo Booth will be posted on our Facebook page, and the one that receives the most likes before November 6th will earn you 3 free months of Membership to the Downtown Community Center!

This event should take about 5-10 minutes to walk through and is free to the public!


Haunted Hall
October 30, 2015
Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St, NYC


Tasty Tuesdays — Orange and Black Cookies

Orange and black are Halloween colors. Orange, along with brown and gold, is associated with the fall harvest and autumn. It is also the symbol of strength and endurance. Black is associated with darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween was once a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death. Did you know that Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of Halloween candy each year? This is the equivalent of 16 billion fun-size Snickers bars!Orange-and-Black-Cookies2

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin


Preparation: 25 min
Cooking: 15 min
Makes 16 around cookies

2-½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3-cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3-cup butter softened
1-cup sugar
2 large eggs
Icing 1: 3 cups confectioner sugar, 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup, 4 tsp. milk or lemon juice, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 2 to 4 Tbsp. water, ½ cup cocoa powder, black and orange coloring,
Icing 2: 1 cup meringue powder, 2 cups cold water, and 4 boxes confectioner sugar.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Whisk flour, salt and baking soda. In a bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla. Cream together sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, add eggs one at a time, beating until combined well. Mix in flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until smooth. Spoon batter about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet cover with parchment paper. Bake until tops are puffed and pale golden.
Icing 1: Stir together confectioner sugar, corn syrup, milk, vanilla and water until smooth. Put half in a bowl and add the cocoa powder and enough water to reach the consistency of the white icing. Put black coloring in the chocolate icing and orange in the white icing.
Icing 2: Whisk meringue powder and water until soft peak. Add confectioner sugar and coloring and mix until smooth.
To ice the cookies beginning by the dark icing using a brush and adding as much as necessary to cover half of the cookie.

Tips and info:
Halloween, celebrated October 31st, is one of the world’s oldest holidays. It is very popular in North America. It was brought by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes. For 72% of American, chocolate is the favorite Halloween candy.
Using pumpkins as jack-o’-lanterns is a Celtic custom intended to welcome home the spirits of ancestors and warding off evil spirits and the restless soul of “Stingy Jack.”  Stingy Jack, as the Irish myth goes, made it a habit of playing tricks on the Devil. Once Jack died God didn’t want him in heaven, and the devil, upset by his tricks, would not claim his soul either, sending him off to roam the earth at night with only a burning coal to light the way. Stingy Jack put that coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the earth ever since.

First Tritons Swim Meet of the Year

Dear Tritons Families,

Thank you all for a great first meet on Saturday! Your swimmers kicked off the year with excellent swimming and great team spirit!
This weekend we saw swimmers post 78 Personal Best Times (out of 92 swims!). We also had 6 swimmers drop 10 seconds or more off a previous best time, and set 6 new team records!
Ten off the Top Club:
Gabi T. – 16 second drop – 100 IM
Gabriella C. – 17 second drop – 50 Free
John L. – 17 second drop – 50 Fly
Maia B. – 10 second drop – 100 IM
Nicolas C. – 11 second drop – 50 Free
Oliver S. – 12 second drop – 25 Free
Team Records:
9 & Over:
25 Freestyle – Francesco Berardi
50 Freestyle – Tommy Creighton
25 Backstroke – Ethan Ben-Zion
50 Backstroke – Tommy Creighton
25 Butterfly – Ela Alster
Carly Adams, Max Pensabene, Olivia Baker, Nina Gerzema – 200 Freestyle Relay – 2:52.03
Special Awards:
Team Spirit Awards: Louise C. and Hannah C.
Sportsmanship Awards: Weston D. and Max P.
Our next meet will be Sunday, December 13th. We look forward to seeing everyone in practice!
Beth, Ryan, Krysta, Roger, and Kamè