This dessert is so easy that once you’ve tried the recipe, you’ll be using it to make your own caramel sauce in no time. Just watch carefully so the sugar doesn’t burn. Quinces from Australia will be available beginning in late February. Leave them out if you can’t find them now.
1/4 lb (100 g) butter
4 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 quince, peeled, cored, and sliced (optional)
2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
2/3 cup (150 mL) sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sultana raisins
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
4 disks prepared puff pastry
Ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). In small fry pan, melt 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of the butter and add all fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves. Sauté 8 minutes.
In separate cast-iron skillet, melt remaining butter over medium heat. When it begins to bubble, add sugar and turn heat to low. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and cook until sugar begins to darken, but not boil (about 10 to 12 minutes). Keep an eye on the stove whenever sugar is cooking. Do not walk away.
Pour caramel into bottom of 4 individual baking dishes, place fruit on top, and cover each with a puff pastry disk. Bake 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream flavoured with vanilla. Serves 4.
source: "This February, Go West", alive #380, 2006
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.