People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
02/12/2003 Pumpkin chestnut pudding (Flamusse de potiron à la châtaigne)
For 6-8 servings:
1.5 lbs. pumpkin, preferably an eating variety such as Rouge Vif d'Etampes or Musquée de Provence, or winter squash such as butternut, seeds and fibers removed, peeled, and cut in 3/4" cubes
4 oz. peeled chestnuts (vacuum packed okay) 1 c. minus 2 T. whole or 2% milk 1 c. sugar 4 large eggs 1 c. heavy cream 3 1/2 T. butter 1/4 c. unbleached flour Pinch of salt
Melt 2 T. butter in a heavy saucepan, add the pumpkin cubes and 2 T. water. Toss to coat, cover, and cook over low heat about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the pumpkin cubes are very soft. Drain in a fine sieve and allow to cool.
Bring the milk to boil in a medium-small saucepan. Add the chestnuts, cover, and cook until very soft over low heat (this will be very quick if you used vacuum-packed chestnuts, longer with fresh). Drain the chestnuts, reserving the milk. Reduce them to a puree in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and pinch of salt until well combined and the sugar dissolved. Add the flour, the reserved milk, cream, and chestnut puree and stir or whisk until well combined. Melt the remaining butter. Mash the pumpkin with a fork. Add it and the butter to the mixture and combine well. Butter a baking dish (9 x 13) or mold and pour in the mixture. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving. For sheer indulgence, you may serve it with liquid cream or slightly sweetened whipped cream.
Note: This is one of the best desserts I've ever eaten--homely, yet sophisticated--as it lets the goodness and complementarity of the pumpkin and chestnuts speak for themselves. Leftovers are fantastic at breakfast.