While canned pumpkin is fine in a fix, the few simple steps to creating your own are worth the effort and add greatly to the depth of flavour.
(yields approximately 2 cups/500 mL purée)
2 lbs (1 kg) fresh pumpkin flesh
2 Tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (125 mL) organic apple juice, unfiltered
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Cut pumpkin flesh into 4 equal pieces and place on small baking sheet. Divide all remaining ingredients, except apple juice, over each pumpkin piece. Pour apple juice around pumpkin pieces. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pumpkin flesh is very tender (overcooked). Remove from oven. Uncover and allow to cool.
When pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape flesh off skin, place flesh as well as liquid from the baking sheet in food processor, and purée until smooth. Discard skin.
2 cups (500 mL) pumpkin purée
2 cups (500 mL) skim milk
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh organic lavender florets (or 2 in [5 cm] cinnamon stick)
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) maple syrup
1 oz (30 mL) brandy (substitute cognac, rye, or rum)
Whisk together pumpkin purée and skim milk in medium saucepan until smooth. Add lavender florets (or cinnamon stick). Place mixture over medium heat to scald (5 to 7 minutes or until it reaches a simmer).
Meanwhile, place egg yolks, sugar, and maple syrup in medium metal bowl. Whisk over a double boiler until thick and light in colour. Remove from heat.
Slowly ladle in scalded milk and pumpkin mixture through a strainer to remove lavender florets (or cinnamon), whisking all the while. Then, return bowl to double boiler and cook, stirring constantly until steaming and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk from time to time while mixture cools. (If mixture begins to curdle, immediately pour into a blender and blend until smooth.)
When pumpkin mixture is cool, stir in brandy. Freeze according to your ice cream machine manufacturers directions. Serves 6
source: "Sooke Harbour House", alive #311, September 2008
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.