Golden Hour Picnic

It’s the stuff of dreams. Rows of grape vines, a stretch of grass, surrounded by a tranquil pond — an idyllic place to unpack a September picnic.

The vintage hamper is heaped with picnic essentials, from a candelabra and serving boards, to wine-filled vintage totes and shiny tins of sausage and egg mini pies. Under the welcoming shade of a grand old maple, we’ll slice into a buttery onion galette and nibble on gooey, apple-almond cake. Join us as we soak up these last sun-kissed days and enjoy an end-of-summer picnic on the beautiful landscape that is Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville.

Set the Scene

This picnic spread starts with a white eyelet blanket that’s, well, actually a new shower curtain. And that’s the thing: With a few unexpected pieces, you can take your picnic experience to the next level.

Loving the oversized vintage hamper stuffed with an antique French-inspired candelabra, rustic wood boards for serving, vintage dishware and glassware, and thick linen napkins. Use monogrammed tins, lined with parchment paper, to hold baked goods, and bring along a vintage lidded tote turned mini wine cooler. Add a pretty, hand-tied bouquet and just-plucked garden herbs for garnishing, then plop down a pair of jute floor cushions and a cool, lightweight lantern. The picnic is set. Let the afternoon unspool.

Picnic Sips

Chateau Ste. Michelle wine on the go in pretty aluminum bottles served in vintage glassware with cloth cocktail napkins.

Picnic Bites

Lay out a relaxed picnic lunch that commences with a wedge of creamy mushroom brie and bowls of crunchy rainbow radishes and blackberries.

Next, bring out the mini pâte brisée pies with a choice of fillings, like sausage and hardboiled egg, or sautéed bell pepper, mushroom, and onion.

Move on to the sweet onion galette, and finish things off with a slice of gooey apple almond cake, complete with candied orange slices and a generous drizzle of homemade orange-vanilla syrup.

Mini Pies and Sweet Onion Galette

Make a double batch of the dough recipe a day ahead, and chill in the fridge until ready to roll. This will be more than enough to make the six mini pies and galette base. Bake the individual pies in a muffin tin and the galette on a parchment-lined baking sheet.



  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water
  • 1 egg


Place all of the ingredients, minus the water and egg, into a food processor. Pulse until just combined. With the machine running, add a little ice water at a time until the dough forms a ball. Divide the dough ball in half, and pat it into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. For the mini pies, roll out two pie disks on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out six 5-inch circles for the pie base and six 3.5-inch circles for the pie lid. Press the larger circles into the six muffin tin holes, and run the dough up the sides.

Add chosen filling to each pie shell (see recipes for fillings). Top each pie with a dough lid. Lightly beat an egg, and brush the pie edges. Press on the lids to seal the edges. Pierce a small hole in each lid, so the steam can escape. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the filling is hot and the crust is a golden brown. Cool slightly in the muffin pan, and then gently remove the pies and place them on a wire rack.


Hard-boil two medium eggs. Cool, peel and slice the eggs in half, lengthwise. Set aside.


  • Olive oil
  • 12 ounces chicken and apple link sausages, cooked and finely chopped
  • 1 small Walla Walla sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon truffle salt
  • 2 leaves fresh sage, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


Sauté the sausages in olive oil until fully cooked. Chop, and set aside in a medium bowl. Add olive oil to the same pan, and sauté the diced onion until it begins to caramelize. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, and cook until the mushrooms are tender, then spoon the filling into the sausage bowl. Place half a hard-boiled egg in the base of three pie shells, cut-side-down. Top with sausage mixture, and pop on the lids. Brush with eggwash; seal the edges. (If you have extra filling, it’s great in scrambled eggs or a frittata!)



  • Olive oil
  • 1 small Walla Walla sweet onion
  • ½ seeded Fresno chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon truffle salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Sauté the ingredients in stovetop pan until tender and the onions begin to caramelize. Cool. Fill the remaining three pie shells with the veggie mixture, and pop on the lids.

Brush with eggwash, seal the edges, then bake the mini pies in the muffin tin. Cool slightly in the tin before placing the pies on a wire rack.

Sweet Onion Galette

Preheat oven to 400 degrees



  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large Walla Walla sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Herb goat cheese

Sauté the butter and onions in a stovetop pan for 5 minutes. Add the thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Sauté for 4 more minutes. Stir in the cream, and pull from the heat. Cool. Roll out one of the remaining pie disks to approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick.

Layer the filling into the center of the disk, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold in the edges over the edge of the filling. Dot with a few torn pieces of herb goat cheese.

Bake for approximately 25 to 35 minutes until the crust is a dark golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Apple Almond Cake with Candied Orange Slices 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Come September, our espalier apple trees are fully loaded, and I’m pressed to come up with delicious ways to enjoy them. This satisfying cake is yummy and a bit gooey, thanks to the candied orange slices and puddles of drizzled, homemade orange and vanilla syrup.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup golden brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup orange blossom honey
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
  • 8 slices of candied oranges (See recipe for candied oranges)



In a medium bowl, whisk together the first six dry ingredients. In another large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, up to the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Fold in the vanilla, apples, and almonds.

Line a 9 x 11-inch deep dish baking pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper. Place candied orange slices, upright, all around the sides of the pan. Carefully pour in the batter. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean. Cool on a wire baking rack.

Before serving, prick the top of the cake in several places, and drizzle in a bit of orange syrup.



  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, split


Using a sharp knife, cut the oranges into eight 1/8-inch thick slices. Remove seeds. Place the slices in a pan of boiling water, and boil for 1 minute. Drain the pan, and plunge the orange slices into a bowl of ice water.

Cool and drain slices on a paper towel. Next, in a sauté pan, bring 2 cups of water, 2 cups of sugar, and 1 split vanilla bean pod to a simmer. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the orange slices to sauté pan in a single layer.

Simmer for 45 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so.

Remove slices from the liquid, and drain on a paper towel.

Reserve the orange and vanilla syrup for drizzling on the baked cake.

Credits: Shot on location at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville. Wine to go bottles also from Chateau Ste. Michelle. Vintage hamper and tote from Oscar and Company, Kirkland.

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