I don’t even like soup.   Well, most soup, I just don’t care for it.  Especially when it’s chunky soup with lots of stuff floating around in a super hot broth.  Nothing about that is appealing to me.  But this soup.  I made it twice last week.  TWICE!   Once for a networking event that was so lovely, and then once to nosh on whenever I feel like it.  It’s that good.  And it’s so easy, you’ll want to make enough to eat for weeks on end!

It’s roasted vegetables, soaked in broth and pureed.  It’s so simple.  I serve it with a toasted baguette and will literally lick the bowl.  It is lick the bowl good!

You can really roast whatever you want… something heavy and fibrous, something sweet and something a little more flavorful.  I’ve made it with squash, pears & fennel.  Or Broccoli , apples & onions.  Really, throw some produce on a baking sheet and see what happens!   I can pretty much bet that it will be delicious.

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Butternut Squash, Apple & Leek Soup


1 Butternut Squash

4 small apples

2 Leeks

3-5 sprigs of Rosemary

32 oz carton of Chicken broth (you could use veggie too and I’m sure it would be fine!)

Olive Oil



Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel & cut the squash in to cubes.  Core & cut the apples into slices.  Slice the white-light green stalks of the leeks, discarding the dark green tops.  Mix produce on a baking sheet with a good coat of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper.   Roast for 35-45 minutes, until squash is really tender.

Remove rosemary sprigs (they should be pretty crispy) and empty baking sheet into a dutch oven.  Add 3/4 of the carton of chicken broth to the dutch oven and bring to a simmer on the stove.  Simmer for 25 minutes, until squash is falling apart.  In batches (I usually have to do two), transfer produce & broth to a blender and puree until smooth.  If it’s too dense, add some of the remaining cold chicken broth until smooth.

Roast some baguette with olive oil, salt & pepper, pour soup into a bowl and go to town!  Lick bowl & repeat.  Enjoy!

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February 13, 2015 Passion Fruit Cocktail


About five years ago, I wanted to cover the front fence in our yard.  It’s so Americana, it hurts.   White picket fence surrounding the yard.  Eventually we’d like to pull it out and build something more structurally sound, but for now, it works real well.   So I bought a pretty vine that makes really pretty flowers.  I didn’t really realize at the time that (a) those flowers would turn in to passion fruits or (b) that the vine would take over the ENTIRE fence.   I’m so happy on both of those points though, thrilled really! 

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But passion fruits are tough for a few reasons, especially when they’re on the sidewalk.  I think people steal them.   My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I’m so absolutely sure that we have at least half of them go missing before they’re really ready to come off the vine.  I’m torn on taking them early and risking them never fully ripening.  Or letting them stay and risking someone else taking them.   Normally, I wouldn’t mind.  Feed the neighborhood!   But, it takes a dozen of these little suckers to make anything that might feed more than one person.  So I want to hoard them like a crazy person.
So I stalk the vine and hide them behind as many leaves as I can.  Seriously, crazy person style.
But now I have seven, so I can do something!   First up, a cocktail so heavenly that I made mine with sparking water instead of champagne and it was delicious.  I would drink ten of them.  And I could really, because it’s fruit and water!  But if I was you, I’d make it with champagne.

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Basil Passion Fruit Cocktail
1 oz Passion Fruit Juice & Pulp
1 oz Basil Simple Syrup
Basil Simple Syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 large basil leaves
Make the Basil Simple Syrup – put sugar & water in a small pot and bring to a simmer, just until sugar melts.   Add basil leaves and allow to soak until basil leaves start to turn, around 20 minutes.   You can easily make larger batches, just add equal parts sugar and water, then as much basil as your heart desires.
Mix the Cocktail – Slice open the passion fruit and pull out everything inside; pulp, juice and seeds.  Depending on the size of your passion fruits, you might need one or two. Mix 1 oz of the pulp/juice/seeds with 1 oz of the Basil Simple Syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Pour into a coupe, holding back the ice.  Top with champagne.  Enjoy!
Honestly, you could use the passion fruit juice/pulp and simple syrup mixture with sparkling water.  Or gin.  It might even be really lovely with bourbon.  It’s incredible and super flexible!
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February 11, 2015 The Guest Room


I’ve never had a guest room before, and I’m kind of obsessed with them.  A whole room, just set up to look comfortable and welcoming all the time.  No extra stuff, no real life.  Walking past this room makes me smile and when I decide to take a little afternoon nap, I feel like I’m heading to a hotel for a few hours!  It’s really lovely.

But when we bought our house, it looked like this…

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SOOO dirty!  And why is that ceiling fan hanging by a few wires?  Did the previous owners never vacuum anything!?

The ceiling fan came down (much to Chris’ chagrin.  He loves ceiling fans and I hate them.), the window was replaced, the carpet ripped out and hard wood floors went down.  White paint makes everything better and some heavy duty base molding… Voila!
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The bed is from Craig’s List, and comes with an amazing story.  A 16 year old girl in France ran away to get married, and this bed frame was a wedding gift from her parents.  Apparently she had a whole slew of kids on this bed (sometimes you just get too much information).  They brought it with them to America and her great-granddaughter sold it to me.   I don’t know if the story is true, but I love this bed and I love this story.   It’s a full size, but that meant something different 80 years ago, so current mattresses don’t actually fit… they’re about 1/2″ too large.  So we raised the mattress on risers and it actually floats above the bed frame, making the frame completely useless, just really really pretty.

The ceiling fixture is Restoration Hardware (and I actually have two extra that I’m thinking about selling if anyone is interested!).  The wall sconces are also Restoration and the mirror is Overstock, but a million years old.
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That green chair is a favorite of mine… another Craig’s List find!  I had it reupholstered for a photo shoot a few years ago and mean to sell it afterwards.  But I love it, so it stays.  The lamp & side table are Target.
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Thanks so much Heather Kincaid for the lovely photos (except that terrible first one) and Floral Crush for the prettiest flowers… you guys make my world go ’round!


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February 6, 2015 Office Renovation


When we stumbled upon this house of ours, it was a mess.  We were riding our bikes to breakfast at Portos one July afternoon, had started to maybe think about looking at houses, getting more space.  But we were absolutely not prepared to buy something in the near future.  But this house, we couldn’t NOT buy this house.  Well, I could, but Chris saw such amazing potential in it… the bones were good, the layout was fantastic and it was half-price (it was 2008 and things were crazy!).  It was a foreclosure that had been sitting on the market for a while.  It was disgusting… dirty didn’t even begin to describe it, renovations had been done over the years that were absolutely terrible and the bathrooms and kitchen needed to be ripped out ASAP.  But he saw something incredible and convinced me that I could see something in it too.  So we bought it.

This is what my current office looked like in 2008.  Also, my photography skills have improved icon smile Office Renovation

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This is what it looks like today…
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Where there was a window, there is a door.  Where there was a door, there is a window.  More new windows in the hallway, new hickory floors, new molding, new paint, new doors, new hardware.   What was once a weird tiny little tunnel is now bright and open and full of light.  Walking down that hallway makes me inordinately happy.

These three panel doors below were one of the hardest projects for this renovation.  Should have been simple, right?  It went like this…

Me: I’m looking for a three panel door… two of the panels will be French doors, and the third panel, of exactly the same size, will not open.

Door Guy (all of them, we met with many): OK, so a French door with sidelights on either side.

Me: No, three panels, all exactly the same.  The left and middle panels are French doors, the right panel doesn’t move.  It’s a window.

Door Guy: Great, we do small sidelights on each side to make up the difference on the French doors.

Me: …staring blankly…

Seriously, it was a nightmare.  I had originally envisioned three panels that accordioned out so the whole space opened up.  But that’s crazy expensive.  And Chris wasn’t falling for it.  One day in a beach house that overlooks an ocean, maybe… but not for our backyard.
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But that!  That is exactly what I wanted and FINALLY someone could understand me!  The guys at Valley Sash & Door were incredible.  The doors are so perfect and I love looking out into the backyard!  The room doors we actually were able to repurpose from other parts of the house that didn’t need doors anymore (after stripping, sanding, stepping, sanding and painting).  The hardware is so beautiful, from Emtek, purchased at Ricks Hardware in North Hollywood (have you been here!?  It’s spectacular).
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Window unit air conditioners are terrible.  But this part of the house doesn’t have central yet and this guy has been amazing.  Keeping it real.
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We’d ripped out the original closet here, and replaced it with IKEA cabinets.  The metal on the doors was spray painted gold (as is most everything I did in here) and the whole unit was attached to the wall and then included in the molding… instant built-in!   The ceiling was scraped of the terrible popcorn and painted Martha Stewart Vintage Gold Metallic from Home Depot.
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And then the final product, shot by my dear friend Heather Kincaid for a Glitter Guide feature that went up last year!
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February 2, 2015 Drinking While Pregnant


Pre-pregnancy, a lot of my social life revolved around drinking.  We would hang out in the front yard with our friends and a bottle of rosé.  We would walk down to a local bar and catch up on the week over a few cocktails.  Dinners had wine.  Social gatherings had beer.  And I’m a big fan of all of it!

Nothing has changed really, except that I can’t imbibe.  So, sitting on a blanket in the front yard has kind of lost that je ne sais quoi.  I’ll have the occasional glass of red wine with a special dinner, but the days of curling up in front of the fire place with a few bottles of wine and my love are over, at least for a bit.   And that’s OK.  Surprisingly, I don’t miss it all as much as I thought I might.  We have to be a bit more creative with a free time, but I’ve seen more of Los Angeles and even my own neighborhood over the last five months.  I’ll be back to the cocktails as soon as I can, but for now, I’ve come up with a few ways to make gatherings a little special for myself.

When we have people over, go out, or when I would normally create something to drink, I’ve found that still making something special still makes me feel like an adult!  Nothing like drinking a plastic bottle of water while everyone else sips on something pretty to make you feel like a total outcast.  So, I pick up interesting bottles of sodas or waters when I see them.  Sometimes I’ll doctor them up, sometimes I’ll just pour them into a pretty glass or pull out an interesting ice cube.  I can’t tell you how much better sparkling water in a champagne flute taste!  Really, do it.  Even if you can drink champagne like it’s water, bring a flute into your office and sip that water while you work.  Monday will be so much nicer! You feel like an adult, like a real person… and dammit, that’s important when everything else in your life is feeling a little bit upside down!   So, break out the crystal, pour in your water/soda/juice add a sprig of something that smells amazing and relax!
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A girlfriend of mine found these at Cost Plus World Market and it is fabulous!   There are a few flavors… Fuji Apple. Meyer Lemon, Bartlett Pear & this Georgia Peach.  It’s a little bit sweet, but something a little more exciting than sparkling water or plain juice.  I’m guessing that this, along with a shot of Bourbon and that sprig of rosemary would be really amazing.  Like, perfect for a summer day in the front yard amazing.  I know it’s only February, but I can almost taste the summer cocktails!

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As most of our travel usually goes, we pick a location, quickly book plane tickets and hotels and then head out three weeks later.  It doesn’t leave too much time for getting ourselves prepared, and that we left just after New Years, it didn’t even leave much time for getting excited because the thought of our trip was eclipsed by the excitement of the holidays!

I had my very first pregnancy/hormone/hysterical breakdown when I was searching for hotels.  Like, hyperventilating and hysterical crying.  Because I couldn’t find a hotel that was perfect.  In retrospect, it’s hilarious but at the time, it wasn’t pretty.   Costa Rica is small, but it’s big.  There are so many different areas and each one seems so different!   Even though they are fairly close together, getting from one to another is expensive and time consuming.  So I wanted to make sure we did it correctly.   We flew in and out of San Jose, spent three days on the Central Pacific Coast and then three days in the Cloud Forest.  It was all pretty spectacular and I’d highly recommend it!  For getting around the country, Chris was wary of renting a car, as we’d heard some pretty terrible stories and heard it was difficult.  You’ll definitely need a GPS (they don’t really have addresses in Costa Rica.  I don’t know how you’d do it without a GPS!), and it’s slow going because you’ll very likely to get stuck behind a large truck traveling very slowly on a one lane road, but definitely worth it.  It’s about the same price (if you go with the full insurance package) as paying for individual private transfers, but then we had the flexibility to explore as we pleased.

I know we wanted to go down into the Manuel Antonio Park, but I didn’t love any of the hotels in the area.  There are only two that have access to the beach, and I didn’t love either.  So we ended up at Hotel Clandestino.  You’ll definitely need a car (or spring for taxis), as it’s about 30 km from Manuel Antonio and 10 km down a long dirt road.  But it’s worth it.  The pool overlooks a gorgeous stretch of private beach.  The food is good beach food, but I was a little bored of the restaurant after three days.   On the days we went into town, breakfast at Hotel Mariposa (the buffet breakfast is decent, but the view is ridiculous!) and lunch at Cafe Milagro were delicious!
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We were just sitting on the beach when the concierge came out to tell us that a baby turtle release had just started down the beach!  It was so amazing to watch them make their way to the ocean!
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Manuel Antonio National Park is lovely!  We saw monkeys, sloths, birds, butterflies and so much green!  We didn’t hire a guide, and I’m sure we might have seen more if we had, but if you pay attention, you can see where people are looking and spot them on your own.
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My cankles are out of control.
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I just realized I didn’t take a single real picture of the beach, although there are a few on Instagram.   It was empty, there were hammocks, and the sunsets were spectacular.  You should go to see it for yourself!

After three days of sitting and a little bit of exploring, we packed up the car and drove the three hours into the Cloud Forest.  If at all possible, make sure you get there before it gets dark.  We didn’t quite make it and the last 20 minutes of our drive was terrifying.  The roads are TINY, on the side of a mountain, and the clouds are so thick you can’t see through them.  Plus, when you get to the amazing El Silencio Lodge & Spa, and it’s so dark you can’t see it, you’re missing out.

The Lodge is comprised of 16 small cottages, each with an amazing porch and hot tub.  You don’t have to leave the property after you arrive… there’s hiking, waterfalls, zip lines, horses, fishing, a working farm and an amazing spa.  They’ll also schedule trips to the market, the volcanoes, coffee tours… whatever you might want!  The food is incredible (I could still be eating there) and everyone was so accommodating.  At turn down, they put hot water bottles under the covers so it’s toasty when you slide into bed.  I want one for home now.  Chris had caught a few fish the day we left the beach, so the chef cooked them for our dinner one night.  We looked like crazy hobos, rolling in after dark with a trash bag full of fish (true story), but it was worth it!   You’re literally in the middle of nowhere, but can be back to the San Jose airport in around 90 minutes.  It was perfect, and I would definitely go back!
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At 3:00, they’ll deliver hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies to those rocking chairs on your porch.  It’s heaven.
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We hiked, we ate and we napped.  It was all pretty spectacular and I would definitely go back to see the peninsula beaches and the Arenal volcano on another trip!

A little post-trip update, because we just got our credit card bill!   All of the government charges (admission to the National Park and the exit taxes paid at the airport) were charged to the credit card company as Cash Advances.  Which means we pay a higher interest rate and a $10 transaction fee per charge.  Not an enormous deal, but a pain in the ass.  Pay cash to avoid the extra fees!



I’ve been a bad blogger.  But it’s because I’ve been a bad drinker.  I’ve quit.  Well, kind of.  Just for 9 months!

JH2 2481 681x1024 Whiskey Spiced Cocktails… and where have I been!?

“We’re usually red or rosé folks, but the newest Hazel will probably prefer white.  Baby Hazel, summer 2015″

Pregnancy has been a lovely time and I’ve really enjoyed it!   I miss tequila like crazy, but the occasional glass of red wine has been a suitable substitution!   So, I’m only making cocktails when someone else can enjoy them as I hate to waste good booze.  But this syrup I’m going to tell you about… It’s good in a cocktail.  It’s good in a cocktail.  It’s good in tea.  It’s pretty much good all around and it makes even a glass of sparkling water feel extra special.  And wintry.

I mixed this up for some of my lady friends last month and it got rave reviews!  I just left the whiskey out for myself and I still enjoyed it… it’s pretty special icon wink Whiskey Spiced Cocktails… and where have I been!?

The syrup is totally personal and you could add whatever spices you have on hand!   I like Cardamom seeds, cloves & coriander seeds (crushed a little bit in a mortar & pestle) and nutmeg, but you could really use anything you liked.

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Spiced Syrup


1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

Spices, about 1/4 teaspoon each (cardamom pods, cloves, coriander seeds, nutmeg etc.)

Orange peel, three 3″ strips

2 cinnamon sticks


Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and heat until sugar is melted.  Allow it to cool, stirring occasionally.  Strain throw a fine mesh sieve and store, refrigerated, in an air-tight bottle.


Whiskey Spiced Cocktail


2 oz Whiskey

Juice of 1/2 Lime

1 oz Spiced Syrup

Sparkling Water


Add whiskey, lime juice & simple syrup to a shaker of ice.  Shake and strain into a glass with ice.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks or orange peel. Enjoy!


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Pumpkin season is my jam.  I love all the pumpkin breads, and cookies and pies and desserts.  I spend most of the year waiting until it’s appropriate to make all of the things on my “Things Made With Pumpkin” Pinterest board.  It’s a sickness.

So, I knew I wanted to try a pumpkin cocktail.  I knew I wanted to use real pumpkin as opposed to syrup.  And I knew I wanted it to be thick and delicious.  My good friend Heidi tasted bad cocktail after bad cocktail with me.  Really y’all, they were terrible.  I tried really hard to use your basic pumpkin puree… healthy, delicious.  But it just wasn’t cutting it.   Pumpkin Pie Filling to the rescue.  I’m sure there’s more sugar in it than I would have had to add to the pumpkin puree, but what you don’t know won’t hurt you, yeah?

Seriously, this is so good, I even made it for breakfast today.  Despite the name of this blog, on a Friday at 9 am, I’m not really craving whiskey.  So, I replaced it with a banana and it was heaven.  Maybe I’ll make a second one for lunch icon smile The Drunken Pumpkin Cocktail

Drunken Pumpkin Cocktail 2 The Drunken Pumpkin Cocktail


Drunken Pumpkin


1 part whiskey

1 part milk

1.5 part pumpkin pie filling (I used Libbys)


Cinnamon Stick, Pumpkin Pie Spice or Nutmeg for garnish



Add ice, whiskey, milk & pumpkin pie filling to blender.  Blend on high for one minute, or until ice is broken down.  Pour into glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick, pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg.  Enjoy!

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main logo copy Featured on Glitter Guide!

gg Featured on Glitter Guide!


I’ve been such a big fan of Glitter Guide for such a long time.  It’s just full of so much pretty I feel inspired every time I stroll through.  So, when my dear friend and amazingly talented photographer Heather Kincaid suggested we shoot my house and send it over to them I was excited/thrilled/nervous/nauseous.  I started and finished a major renovation, then pushed our shoot date back three times.  I was petrified.

But, I’m sooooo happy that we did this because I’m so happy to have these images and so honored that Glitter Guide featured our house today!  You can see the full home tour here, and expect more images coming to the blog soon!  Thank you so much Heather for doing the most amazing job photographing this place I love so much!  And Moira for making me look so amazing.  And the ladies at Floral Crush for the icing on the cake… flowers just make everything better!


November 7, 2014 Caramel Apple Pie


Whew, I didn’t realize I’d been so absent!  Wedding season is finally gearing down and I just realized how much I’ve neglected this poor  blog that I just adore so much.  But yah for fall, yah for sweaters and pumpkins and apple pies!

If you follow me on Instagram (Cocktails For Breakfast or Hazelnut Photography) you’ll know that Chris and I went out to Riley Family Farms a few weeks ago for some apple picking!   It was obviously adorable, a super cute little place with some super delicious apples.   It was a lovely little trek out of LA for the day and we came home with the most delicious apples.  So, pie.

On the drive out, I was reading Sunset Magazine and they had a recipe for a Caramel Apple Pie.  Done & done.

It takes forever.  Like, three days forever.  Mostly because I didn’t really read all the way through to make sure I built in time for all the chilling and cooling and sitting.  There’s a lot of it.  But the dough can sit for a few days.  The apples can sit overnight.  It’s not so overwhelming to break it down into a few separate baking sessions.  It’s just the massive amount of patience you must have.  Lots and lots of patience.  Guys, it’s worth it!
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Caramel Apple Pie from Sunset Magazine


3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

1. In a food processor, whirl flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until pieces are almond- and pea-size. Sprinkle 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. ice water over mixture and pulse 3 or 4 times just to distribute.

2. Dump mixture into a mound on a work surface. Working quickly so butter stays cold, firmly press dough with heel of hand, pushing dough outward from center. Scrape dough from work surface using a bench scraper, and toss to redistribute wet and dry patches. Repeat, pressing on dry patches and tossing to create a soft dough with no dry spots. Don’t overwork; you should see pieces and streaks of butter.

3. Divide into 2 portions and gently press each into a 3/4-in.-thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Make ahead: Up to 1 month, frozen airtight.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 pounds mixed apples, such as Granny Smith and Cripps Pink, peeled and cut into eighths to make 3 qts.
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

1. Make pastry and chill.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt in a heavy 5- to 6-qt. pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until a smoky haze comes from mixture and it turns deep golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes. Carefully stir apples into caramel (it will bubble and seize up). Cook, stirring often and reducing heat if needed to maintain a steady simmer, until apples look mostly translucent and are tender when pierced with a fork (a few will have fallen apart), about 20 minutes. Transfer apples and caramel to a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool a bit, then chill until cold.

3. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk, cream, and a pinch of salt until well blended. Chill egg wash airtight up to 1 week.

4. Unwrap and lightly flour 1 pastry disk, work surface, and rolling pin. Working from center with short strokes, roll pastry into an even 13-in. round. As you work, lift pastry using a bench scraper or long metal spatula, and reflour board and pin as needed to keep it from sticking.

5. Fold pastry in half and open up into a buttered regular 9-in. pie pan, easing it into place without stretching. Fill shell with cold apples and caramel; pat into an even mound. Fold overhanging pastry over apples and trim with scissors to a 1-in. border. Chill scraps and pie shell.

6. Roll out second pastry disk the same way as the first to an 11-in. round. Cut shapes close together with a floured 2 1/2-in. cookie cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet. Gather and reroll all scraps and cut the same way (you’ll have about 25 cutouts total). Chill cutouts until firm, 15 minutes.

7. Brush pie border with egg wash. Lay 10 cutouts in a concentric circle around rim of pie, barely covering the border and barely overlapping one another; brush with egg wash, so they adhere to one another. Make a second circle the same way with 5 cutouts, overlapping the first by about 1/2 in. Set 1 cutout in the center.

8. Freeze pie and remaining cutouts uncovered until cutouts feel very firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° with racks in center and lower third. Brush pie with egg wash again and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. sugar.

9. Bake cutouts on baking sheet until well browned, 20 to 22 minutes. Bake pie until crust is deeply browned, juices are bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center reaches 180°, 1 1/2 hours; after 45 minutes, set a drip pan on rack under pie, and after about 1 1/4 hours, tent pie with foil. Cool pie on a rack at least 2 1/2 hours. Serve with extra cutouts for nibbling.

Make ahead: Up to 1 day at room temperature.

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