Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline

19 11 2009

Pumpkin pie with maple-walnut praline and pastry leaves

No Thanksgiving table is complete without pumpkin pie.  Many places sell them but they are very easy to make and cost a fraction of what fancy bakeries will charge.  My version features a basic pumpkin custard that has been dressed up with a crunchy maple-walnut praline and cut out pastry ‘leaves’.  Of course, if you’re in a hurry, you can just make the basic pie without the additions – it will still be delicious.

Pumpkin Pie with Maple Walnut Praline

Makes one 9″ pie

Praline:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil such as canola or safflower

Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups plain pumpkin puree (not spiced pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Uncooked pie crust for two 9″ pies (see Basic Pastry Crust for a good recipe)
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar

To Make Praline:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine walnuts with maple syrup and oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Spread walnut mixture so it’s in an even layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, making sure the walnuts do not burn.
  4. Remove nuts from the oven and let cool. Gently break up any pieces that have stuck together with your fingers. Praline may be made in advance and kept covered in the fridge until use.

Preparing the Pastry:

  1. Roll out one portion of pastry dough (enough to fit a 9″ pie plate). Place pastry in pie plate and crimp edges.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick a few small holes in the bottom of the pastry and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Roll out second portion of pastry dough. Cut out leaf shapes using a cookie cutter or knife. Use knife tip to score leaf ‘veins’ into the pastry.
  4. Brush pastry leaves with beaten egg mixture. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Set aside to decorate finished pie.

To Make Pie Filling:

  1. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, cream, sugar, spices, salt and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly mixed and spices are evenly distributed. Set aside. Filling may be mixed in advance and refrigerated until use.

To Assemble Pie:

  1. Pour pie filling into pastry crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until the centre has set.
  2. Remove pie from oven and let it cool completely. Sprinkle praline along edge of crust. Arrange pastry leaves decoratively in the centre of the pie. Serve pie with whipped cream.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.





Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan

17 11 2009

Butternut squash at Jean Talon Market, Montreal

 

Squash and pumpkins are the superstars of fall.  They are cheap and readily available and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  A butternut squash gratin makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving because it can be assembled in advance which makes one less thing to fuss with on the big day.  Because the ingredients for this dish are so simple, it’s important to use good quality products: fresh sage leaves, real parmesan cheese and real butter.  

Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 4 to 6 servings as a side dish

  • About ¾ of a medium butternut squash (enough to yield 4 generous cups of sliced squash)
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 20 small to medium sized fresh sage leaves or 10 large leaves torn in half
  • 1 cup (about 75 g / 2.5 oz.) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a standard sized loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using a very sharp chef’s knife, trim off both ends of the butternut squash and discard. Place the squash upright on a solid cutting board and peel it by cutting the skin off in a downward motion. Cut the peeled squash in half vertically down the middle and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy flesh.
  3. Using a very sharp knife or mandoline, cut squash into thin slices, about 1/8″ thick. Slice enough squash to yield about 4 generous cups of squash slices. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat butter on medium-high heat. Once butter has completely melted, reduce heat to medium and add sage leaves. Watching carefully and swirling the pot frequently, heat butter for about 5 minutes, until it turns a dark golden brown and sage leaves are crispy. Remove from heat.
  5. In loaf pan, layer 1 cup of squash slices, overlapping them in 2 or 3 layers. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of butter-sage mixture and top with ¼ cup of grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Repeat layering until there are a total of four layers, finishing with cheese on top. Gratin can be assembled in advance and refrigerated.
  7. Bake gratin at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until squash is tender and the top is bubbling and brown.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com

Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan





Thanksgiving Side Dishes

9 10 2009

Holiday turkey

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.  While it’s pretty much a given that turkey will be on the menu for most people, my favourites are actually the side dishes.  We always have cranberry sauce, potatoes, gravy and dressing (stuffing), but the other dishes can vary.  Perhaps some simple carrots with butter, mashed sweet potatoes or some butternut squash might accompany the bird this year.  Here are some great recipe ideas you can serve with your holiday meal:

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Corn Scallop

Butternut Squash Gratin

Roasted Green Beans with Shallots

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Thyme Croutons

Potato – Sage Dressing

Cranberry Sauce

Braised Garlic Swiss Chard

Mushroom Soup

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette

Corn with Red Pepper and Herbs

Celery Root Slaw

Peppery Leek and Potato Soup

And of course, don’t forget dessert!

Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline

Apple Caramel Tart

Harvest Strudel

Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Maple-Caramel Custards with Sea Salt

Apple Pie

Bon Appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!





Thanksgiving

26 11 2008

Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving so to get into the spirit, here are a number of side dish and dessert suggestions that you can add to your turkey to create a delicious menu.  All dishes are vegetarian and can be made in advance so you’ll have time to focus on the important aspects of the day!

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Butternut Squash Gratin

Rich and cheesy with a hint of sweetness, this makes a great vegetable dish with fall’s essential flavours.

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Potato-Sage Dressing

One of the most important dishes for Thanksgiving, this vegetarian version is moist and flavourful even though it’s cooked outside of the turkey.

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Corn Scallop

Although I originally made this recipe with roasted fresh corn, you can easily substitute canned or frozen corn.

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Cranberry Sauce

A must-have on many Thanksgiving tables, this version uses fresh cranberries and doesn’t take much more effort than opening a can (really!)

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Apple Caramel Tart

An impressive dessert that’s easier to make than it looks.

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Pumpkin Pie with Maple Walnut Praline

Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving classic.  I’ve dressed it up with maple-walnut praline and pastry leaves so it looks elegant but still tastes delicious.

Bon Appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!