Autumn Cooking Frenzy
I find that the autumn crops and flavours are my favourite, so once a year I let myself get caught up in an autumn cooking frenzy. It is a fun seasonal ritual to have, plus I really like to eat the things I make. Last year I made eggnog and pumpkin pie (from a pumpkin), the year before I made purple yam pie, et cetera.
Today, Doc and I both ended up spending the entire day in the kitchen. Doc made us breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while I made a bunch of weird seasonal things that were not for eating straight away. Whenever we weren’t cooking, we were cleaning the kitchen. Know that one of Doc’s meals included a ghost pepper grilled cheese sandwich with a plum and shallot salad. So he doesn’t mess around, either.It was a super fun frenzy, but obviously I would never be willing to cook like this every day.
Here are my recipes for today’s creations:
Butternut Squash Pie
This year while Doc and I were at the Mission Community Market we found a bunch of butternut squash so I figured this year I should make a butternut squash pie.
1 medium butternut squash
1.5 cup heavy cream
0.5 cup brown sugar
0.3 cup white sugar
0.5 teaspoon salt
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
0.25 teaspoon ground nutmeg
0.25 teaspoon ground cardamon
0.5 teaspoon of lemon juice
Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast it in an oven pan at 350°F for 1.5 hours. When the flesh is soft, scoop it out and puree it.
My squash was so soft at this point, I probably could have “pureed” it with a fork, but I used my food processor on it anyway. I got about 1.5 or 2 cups of puree.
While the squash was cooking, I prepped the pie crust:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
0.75 cups all-purpose flour
0.75 cups whole wheat flour
0.5 teaspoon salt
0.5 tablespoon sugar
0.15 cup vegetable shortening
0.25 cup ice water
Measure out all the wet ingredients, and put them in the freezer (it helps to dice the butter before freezing). Mix all the dry ingredients together, and then add the cold butter and shortening. Mix well, and slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball. Roll out the dough and form it in a pie tin.
I usually like to add whole wheat flour to my pie crusts because I like how it tastes and I find it makes it very crisp and flaky, but if you don’t like whole wheat then you can use 1.5 cups of all-purpose instead.
Now back to the pie filling!
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Combine the sugar, spices, salt, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs separately then add them, along with the heavy cream, and squash puree. Mix until smooth.
Pour into the pie crust, and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F and continue to bake for about 1.5 hours (or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the pie comes out clean). Let the pie cool, and enjoy!
Now, you might have noticed, this custardy pie filling calls for an odd-man-out in terms of egg yolks. What are you to do with that one single egg white?
Make egg white cocktails!
Doc invented this cocktail when I tasked him with using up the egg white; combining Maker’s Mark Whiskey, Fernet Valet, grenadine, lemon juice, and egg white. He calls it the “Kink Padillac.” It is a very pink and fluffy drink. Very tasty, too.
In all seriousness, this was probably the most amazing dessert pie I have ever made. The crust had good structural integrity, yet crumbled upon contact with teeth in that pleasant way pie crusts do. The filling was light and custardy, creamy almost, but again was structurally sound when you cut a piece out. It had that pumpkin pie / sweet potato pie flavor that I was imitating. This pie was a million times tastier than last year’s pumpkin pie, which was made from an actual pumpkin. So, there’s that.
I also wanted to make Apple Shrub, because I intend to replicate one of my favourite cocktails. The Black Rose, a cocktail from West of Pecos, was one of the most amazing things I have had. Unfortunately, they do not make The Black Rose anymore. Fortunately, while they still had it, we discussed the ingredients at length: a Mexican fernet called “Fernet Vallet,” tequila añejo, apple shrub, and honey. We have the Fernet Vallet, the tequila, and the honey. But we would have to make the apple shrub ourselves. Shrubs are “drinking vinegars;” with equal parts sugar, fruit, and vinegar.
I shredded three Fuji apples, and combined that with 1 cup of unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a mason jar. Since the cocktail recipe uses honey, I decided on using honey as the sugar source in the shrub (instead of granulated sugar or otherwise), and added a cup of wildflower honey. I sealed the jar, and shook it until well mixed, and left it to slowly mix and meld and mature in the fridge. I will know a week from now how the shrub turned out, after I filter the apples out and retain the juice.
We also had a ton of eggs that Doc hard-boiled before they went bad, and we needed to pickle those.
Eggs? We can pickle that!
2 cups water
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cups white vinegar
3 teaspoons kosher salt
5 Thai peppers
1 maybe serrano or maybe jalapeno I am not sure what it was because it had no label at the store
0.5 teaspoon dill
0.25 teaspoon black peppercorns
0.25 teaspoon pink peppercorns
Bring the water to a simmer. Add the vinegar, salt, and garlic, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Make sure all the salt is dissolved before you finish simmering. Put your eggs, peppers, spices, and whatever else into a mason jar. Take the simmered garlic cloves out and put them in the mason jar. Bring the brine to a boil, and pour into your jar. Seal the jar, and let your brine cool, then store it in the fridge. Let your eggs pickle in the fridge for about 4 days to a week.
Can’t wait to try these. Bet they’re gonna be spicy, though!