Thanksgiving was a couple days ago… for Canadians like me!
My husband is always happy to celebrate both – twice the turkey! Twice the pumpkin pie! – but this year, he presented me with a challenge: He can’t handle eating pork or beef anymore. You know, the two main ingredients of my traditional tourtière!
There was NO way I was going to forgo a tourtière, so I decided to try for a workaround: I would develop a tourtière recipe that didn’t have the pork or beef, but still tasted proper.
Starting with the meat, I went with ground chicken: he prefers it to turkey. I decided to add a TON of mushrooms to it, both for taste and texture. I was originally going to get really weird with it and add a sweet potato, but decided against that at the last minute.
… it turned out amazing! I was actually a bit disappointed that it didn’t actually taste like mushrooms. I figured the mushrooms would be my consolation for not having beef or pork, and was actually looking forward to a mushroomy pie. In the end, though, it just tasted like my normal tourtière!
The mushrooms provided the right texture and umami that I would normally be getting from the pork and beef, while the use of the vegetables and seasonings worked together to camouflage what was actually in it. It’s hard to be too disappointed in the lack of mushroom flavour, when confronted with that kind of … sorcery … in accuracy.
Not only was it great fresh out of the oven (and, let’s get real here, with all of the filling that disappeared to “quality control” before making it into the pie), it reheats very well as leftovers.
So, yeah. Not going to stress out about dietary issues getting in the way of tradition again – super happy with how it turned out.
Serves about 8 as meal, or more as a small part of Thanksgiving feast
3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) brick cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 lbs sliced crimini / baby bella mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground chicken
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated or finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ~ 1/3″ cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp dried savory
2-3 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp cold water
Measure flours, starches, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel. Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!
Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.
Finely chop mushrooms – I like to use a food processor, in batches. Combine mushrooms, olive oil, chicken, vegetables, and seasonings together in a large pan or pot. Break up ground chicken into, stir until everything is relatively uniform. Add the milk and the broth, stirring once again.
Bring mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer – stirring often – until the liquid has cooked off, and the meat has broken down almost to a paste. This should take about an hour, give or take. Once it’s ready, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425 F
Divide dough into 2 parts – one slightly bigger than the other. Roll the bigger section out, use it to line a large and/or deep-dish pie pan – carefully working it into the corners. Fill pie pan with meat filling, spreading it into the corners and mounding it in the center, packing it down as you go.
Roll out the second part of dough, cover the pie filling. Crimp the edges as desired, poke a couple of slits in it. If desired, roll any extra dough very thin, cut into shapes, and apply to the crust for decoration.
Whisk the remaining egg together with water, use a pastry brush to coat the entire crust with a thin wash of this glaze.
Bake at 20 minutes, turn heat down to 375 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
Serve warm or cold.
|With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.
“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!
High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.
The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!
|Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!
How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.
|Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!
Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.
|Recently, I woke up from dreaming about Fromage Fort. Literally, I woke up to making a mental list of the bits of cheese that we had in the fridge, if we had any appropriate wine already open, etc.
To be fair, it HAD been a while since I’d made the stuff. It was just an odd thing to randomly wake up to, you know?
Anyway, for those not familiar with it, Fromage Fort (“Strong cheese”) is recycling at its finest. This is a ridiculously delicious cheese spread that you make from whatever odds and ends of leftover cheese you may have laying around in your fridge. Add some garlic, white wine, maybe some fresh herbs… yeah. Awesome stuff!
Our favorite use of the spread is to lightly toast some baguette slices in the oven, spread liberally with fromage fort, and then broil until it’s all melty and insane. That’s actually what my husband woke up to for breakfast, that morning! SO GOOD.
Like some of my other recipes, this is less a “recipe”, so much as “guidelines and suggestions”. This is very much a case of your final product being very much the result of what ingredients you have on hand, and your personal tastes!
The amounts of ingredients that you’ll use will vary, depending on a few factors.
– Generally speaking, for every 1/2 lb of cheese, I’ll use 1/-8-1/4 cup of white wine. This depends on how soft the cheese are that I start with, and how soft I want the final spread. More soft is great for a dip, less soft is great for spreading on a baguette and broiling.
– If I’m using a lot of hard cheeses, I’ll add a couple Tablespoons of butter for every 1/2 lb of cheese.
– I like to use a ton of garlic, maybe 2-3 cloves per half lb. Some people will use as little as ONE clove per POUND of cheese. Do what you like!
– Fresh herbs: Use whatever you like, in whatever amount you like. Start with a little, taste, and add more if desired.
Bits of leftover cheese
Fresh garlic, peeled and pressed
Dry white wine of choice
Fresh herbs, optional
Salt & pepper, optional
If any of your cheeses have a rind on it, trim the rind and discard it.
Place all of your cheese into a food processor, blitz it till it’s finely chopped. Add butter and garlic, continue blitzing until finely chopped and well combined.
Slowly stream in your wine, a bit at a time, until the cheese mixture reaches the consistency that you’re looking for. Taste, and add any herbs that you’ll be using, and blitz again.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Cover spread tightly, chill for at least a day to allow flavors to mingle. (Assuming you have patience. We usually do NOT.)
Cream puffs / profiteroles are a great “fancy” dessert option. Not only are they insanely easy to make, they take very little in the way of ingredients, and can be customized many ways.
Cream puffs start out with the batter – Pâte à choux, or “choux pastry”. It’s a basic recipe that’s used to make everything from cream puffs and eclairs to cruellers and churros. It doesn’t contain any leavening ingredients (yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc), instead relying on its high moisture content to puff during baking. Baked at a high temperature, the water becomes steam and creates large air pockets in the final product. Fill them however you want – with pastry cream, pudding, mousse – and there you go. Fancy dessert!
If you want to up the badass factor though, consider assembling cream puffs into a croquembouche.
A croquembouche is a spectacular dessert. It’s traditionally served at weddings in various European cities, but is also becoming a popular alternative to wedding cakes here in North America. It’s also great for holiday dinners, or fancier potlucks.
A bit of a disclaimer here: This is an easy recipe to make, however, it’s also sort of dangerous. I won’t kid you, there is nothing worse than a hot sugar burn. If you drop the sugar onto skin, it will burn, it will stick, and it will HURT! Please exercise caution when dealing with the caramel in this recipe.
If you do make this for a group, and you do manage to burn yourself in the process.. I promise the reception it will receive – and the amount of brownie points you’ll gain – will be worth it. Be careful anyways, though.
The recipes below – the cream puff dough, filling, and caramel to assemble the croquembouche – are all from my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker. Used together, you can make a croquembouche from scratch, start to finish.
HOWEVER, I realize this may be more ambitious than everyone has time or energy for. So… a couple suggestions if you need to “cheat” it:
1. Use instant pudding, Cool Whip, or another pre-made filling to fill the homemade cream puffs… or
2. Buy pre made cream puffs, proceed directly to the croquembouche recipe at the bottom.
Personally, I think it’s fun to do the start-to-finish thing… and gives you huge bragging rights. Also, it’s not difficult at all, or even all THAT time consuming. The pastry cream can be made ahead, and the puffs themselves work up really quickly.
Pâte à choux (cream puff dough)
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Butter
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Flour
3 Large eggs
2 Egg whites
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking sheet. It’s very important to not grease the pan – it will cause the pastries to flatten!
Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan, heat to a boil. Remove from heat, add flour, stirring until well incorporated.
Reduce heat to medium, return saucepan to stove top. Cook for another minute or so, until the dough comes together, leaving the sides of the pan. Transfer dough to the bowl of your mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the dough for a minute or so to allow it to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, beat together eggs and egg whites in a small bowl. With the mixer set to medium, add egg mixture to dough a little at a time, allowing eggs to fully incorporate into the dough before adding more. It may look like a separating mess, but I promise it will come together!
When all of the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and shiny, it’s ready to pipe! It’ll be soft and a bit sticky, but more or less be able to hold it’s shape.
Using spoons or a pastry bags, make tablespoon-sized mounds of batter, leaving 2″ of space between each. Use a moistened finger to pat down any peaks of dough that may form as you finish piping each.
Bake for 12 minutes, then -WITHOUT opening the oven door – turn the temperature down to 350°F (180°C) and bake for another 25 minutes. Crack the oven door open a few inches, turn the heat off, and allow the puffs to cool in the oven for 30 minutes. This step allows the insides to dry out, providing a stronger structure to prevent collapse.
Fill a pastry bag with your choice of pastry cream, pudding, or mousse. Once puffs are completely cool, jam the tip of the pastry bag into the side of a puff, and fill!
If you’re not planning to make a croquembouche, dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with chocolate, and/or serve with fresh fruit or berries.
Boozy Pastry Cream
To make this recipe alcohol free, substitute 1/2 cup half and half for the 1/2 cup of liqueur, add 1-2 tsp of Vanilla (or other flavor) extract.
3 Large egg yolks
1/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 cup Cream liqueur of choice.
1/2 cup Milk
2 Tbsp Butter
Whisk yolks together with sugar until fluffy and pale yellow. Add flour, whisk until incorporated and smooth. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring liqueur and milk to a light boil.
Measure about 1/4 cup (50 ml)of the hot milk liquid, and stream slowly into egg mixture while whisking. Continue streaming liquid and whisking until it is completely incorporated, and mixture is smooth. Repeat with another 1/4 cup (50 ml) of hot liquid.
Remove saucepan from heat, pour egg mixture into milk mixture, whisking constantly. Once fully incorporated and smooth, return to heat. Turn heat down to low. Continue whisking mixture constantly, cooking until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat, whisk in butter until fully incorporated and smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap, chill until needed.
2-3 batches of profiteroles, chilled
In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water, bringing to a boil over high heat. As soon as sugar begins to change color – about 300°F (150°C) – remove pan from heat. Set pan in a larger pan of warm water, on heat proof surface. This will slow the cooking, but keep the caramel warm enough to work with.
Work quickly to assemble your croquembouche. I like to freestyle it, not bothering with a form, but your mileage may vary. Feel free to use a styrofoam cone – like a craft store Christmas tree form – covered in parchment paper if you’d like.
Carefully dip a profiterole into the hot caramel, place on serving plate. Repeat with 15-20 more puffs to form a large circle. Make a second row on top of it, using less puffs and attaching them slightly to the inside of the first row. Continue making gradually smaller rings, until closing off the top with a single profiterole.
Depending on how generous you are with the dipping, you may want to make a second batch of caramel at some point.
When your tower is assembled, drizzle caramel or melted chocolate all over it, dust with powdered sugar, and/or garnish with decorative items such as candied flowers, nuts, etc.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try making a web of sugar strands around it. Cut the very end off a wire whisk, or use 2-3 forks held together. Dip the tines of the forks / whisk into the remaining hot caramel, and use a swift motion to spin trails of caramel around the croquembouche. You can spin as much or as little sugar as you’d like, to achieve your desired effect.
Serve within 2 hours of making. It’s best to serve as soon as possible, as the caramel threads (if used) are very sensitive to moisture in the air – and in the dessert itself – and will melt.
|Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!
Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.
To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.
|Feeling inspired by yesterday’s “The Easy Way to Make Macarons” blog post and recipe? Good! Here’s a second one!
If you haven’t read that entry yet, please read it before making this recipe. It goes over some good macaron making theory and ideology that you’ll want to absorb before making these. This is another recipe for “rustic” French Macarons!
Like yesterday’s Pistachio Macarons recipe, this recipe will produce extremely rich and flavorful macarons. They will pretty much punch you in the face with strawberry flavor, thanks to the use of powdered strawberries – which is my new favorite baking ingredient!
The strawberry flavor on these French Macarons is amazing! So sunny and fruity – the strawberry powder is an incredibly potent ingredient to add to your arsenal. Love it!
As someone who has a hard time going gluten free, no matter how much my body hates wheat… French macarons have been a lifesaver of a gluten free treat for me.
I’ve never been able to get on the fake flour bandwagon, and definitely prefer things where gluten free is the default – not something that makes use of substitute flours, guar gum, or whatever to *approximate* whatever it is that the recipe was aiming for. Yes, I am a gluten free snob!
For anyone who’s ever looked online to figure out how to make your own macarons, it can be a scary thing.
|Start working on the cookies 3+ days before you want to serve them. Leave egg whites out on the kitchen table for 3 days to “age” (Um.. Gross). Grind your own nuts. Weigh each ingredient carefully. Sift everything multiple times. Make sure the temperature and humidity outside falls within a very specific range. Baby the meringue. Babysit the cookies. Follow a huge list of instructions and “rules”, or expect certain failure.
Oh, and if your cookies are cracked, lack “feet”, aren’t perfectly round, perfectly smooth, or perfectly… perfect? Well then you just fail as a wife, mother, friend, hostess, and human being. The macaron god obviously hates you.*
At a retail price of $1.50+ per cookie though… ouch. Kinda leaves you stuck between a rock and a macaron-less hard place, huh?
So, I’m pleased to say that I’ve developed an easy, fool proof way to make perfect macarons. Obscenely delicious macarons! Oh, and I can sum the whole technique up in one word! (more…)
|Madeleines are a traditional tea cake – almost a cookie – from northeastern France. While there are several different variants of flavor for the cakes, one thing is pretty much constant – the shape. Madeleines are baked using a special pan with shallow, shell shaped indentations. Very pretty! Madeleine pans can be purchased at many department and home goods stores, or online.|
Traditional Madeleines are great as is… but the addition of a citrusy liqueur kicks it up a notch. If Limoncello isn’t your thing, try this with Grand Marnier, even Triple Sec for a new take on a classic! Alternatively, try omitting the zest and liqueur, and using 1-2 tsp of homemade flavor extract. Such a simple, elegant treat… but the possibilities are endless!