September 22, 2014

EVERYDAY GOURMET: Cooking with pumpkin

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By Kim Dannies

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! Enough with the carving, it’s time to start cooking with pumpkin.

Sir Richard’s Bread Pudding

I once devoured a serving of bread pudding that a pal had ordered in a restaurant. My mea culpa was to develop this recipe—his very own, that I make on demand. If the crème fraîche is not to your taste, substitute 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 11x 8-inch deep baking dish with non-stick spray. Gently tear 12-14 ounces of fresh challah bread into bite-sized pieces.

In a large prep bowl, whisk together: 1 1/2 cups Vermont Creamery vanilla crème fraiche; 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree; 1 1/2 cups half and half; 1 cup brown sugar; 3 eggs; a pinch of salt; 1 teaspoon almond extract; 1/4 teaspoon clove and ginger, each; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots; 1/2 cup chopped almonds; 1/3 cup white chocolate chips. Taste for seasoning.

Stir in the challah bread and then pour the mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve with Rum Sauce; serves 10.

Rum Sauce

In a saucepan, stir together 1/2 cup brown sugar with 4 ounces of butter over medium heat until dissolved and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup vanilla crème fraîche; 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; and 2 tablespoons of dark rum. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Serve over the bread pudding. (It’s so good, maybe dab a little behind your ears.)

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

This soup is healthy, filling and a bit exotic, the perfect meal to announce the holidays.

Chop a large onion. Heat a 4-quart pot and sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon coconut oil, on medium-high heat, for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add a pinch of salt and deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup sherry. Lower heat and whisk in 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin, 5 cups of chicken stock, 1 13-ounce can of coconut milk, 1 heaping tablespoon (or more to taste) commercial chili garlic sauce, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder (or more to taste). Stir well and heat through. Adjust seasoning with another pinch of salt. Add 2 cups cooked cubed chicken or turkey meat. Serves 8.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at kimdannies.com. [email protected]

 
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