Chicken Liver and Sage Crostini
Savory Pumpkin Tartlets
Royal Marquissac Saumur Brut
Velouté de Cèpes
Mustard Twists and Rosemary Crème Fraîche
Domaine Prieur-Brunet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 2007
Pork Roast with Prunes and Hidden Bacon
Smoky Herbed Bread Pudding
Tangy Braised Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts
Spiced Persimmon Sauce
Vaucher Père & Fils Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 2008
Bleu des Causses with Fresh Figs
Château Les Rochers Sauternes Voigny 2008
Vanilla-Gewurtztraminer Poached Pears
Caramel-Praliné Ice Cream
Warm Chocolate Sauce and Praliné Crumbles
Eau de Vie Poire Williams
I adore planning menus. I had a lot of fun with this one, and was almost relieved when I didn’t advance in Project Food Blog, because it meant that I could really enjoy the meal I had created. Of course, I had planned to do lots of it ahead of time, but in the end it all got done the day of the party, except for the pears and ice cream, which I had the foresight to make earlier in the week. Believe it or not, I didn’t even know what the meat was going to be until I went out to the butcher on Saturday and scoped out what he had that would go with the sides I had planned. (I’m also the sort of person who starts her outfit with the accessories I want to wear.)
The crostini are a recipe I’ve made before, as an amuse-bouche before a Thanksgiving feast. They won over even my liver-leery guests. The “pumpkin” tartlets were actually made using a Giromon squash, a smallish, dark green squash with vibrant orange flesh that shares a name with a Japanese cartoon character. I used this recipe, but made it much less liquidy so as to stay put in the tiny tart shells I made. There were a couple of dozen little tartlets, but I still had some of the filling left over.
Of the fresh porcini mushroom soup, none remained, but I did have some of the mustard-filled puff pastry set aside in the fridge in case I had time to bake more. (I did not.)
The butcher had advised me just the right size for the pork roast, and it was all eaten up. Likewise for the Swiss chard and persimmon sauce. But the savory bread pudding… well, I probably made a little extra on purpose.
David Lebovitz had the caramel ice cream recipe for me, and I decided to liven it up with a bit of crushed praliné, because when has a little extra caramelized almonds and hazelnuts ever been a bad thing? It was perfection with the heady pears. The only problem? By this point we were all so full that I only served half of the allotted portions. And I skipped the chocolate sauce all together. So what does that mean? Leftovers!
Here you can see that I hollowed out some zucchini from the panier and filled it with the leftover tart filling before baking to a nice golden brown. We also have un-twisted mustard twists, and a nice big scoop of that bread pudding. (Stuffing, if you want to be all vernacular about it.) Tomayto, tomahto, I’m giving you the recipe at the end of this post. Trust me, you’re going to want to try it.
And there are those heavenly pears and that awesomely just-this-side-of-burnt caramel ice cream. I forgot to put the crunchy crumbled praliné on top, even though there was leftover of that as well. Still no chocolate sauce. It just didn’t need it.
And now, for your upcoming holiday meal-planning pleasure…
Smoky Herbed Bread Pudding
You know how the stuffing that’s cooked inside the turkey is always the best? This bread pudding delivers that kind of texture without all the fuss of stuffing and roasting a bird. Plus, there are crunchy bits on the top, if you’re into that kind of thing. Lapsang Souchong tea provides deep smoked notes which balance nicely with the fresh herbs. Feel free to substitute chicken or turkey stock for some of the tea and milk if you’re looking for a meatier flavor.
1 baguette, preferably day-old
10 oz. / 295 ml laspang souchong tea (brewed with 12 oz. / 350 ml water and 1 Tbsp. tea leaves)
4 oz. milk
6 oz. cream
1 branch fresh rosemary, leaves picked off
4 large sprigs thyme, picked
15 sage leaves
6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, picked
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the bread into ¾” / 2 cm cubes and place in a bowl. You can do this several hours in advance, dry bread is not a problem here.
- Whisk the tea, milk, cream, and eggs together.
- Chop the herbs as finely as you can. It’s ok if they’re a little rustic. You should have about ¾ cup / 180 ml of chopped herbs. Whisk them into the custard and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 340 F / 170 C. Butter a 10” / 25 cm oval baking dish (or equivalent).
- Pour the custard over the bread cubes and stir gently to coat. Let soak about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Tip the custard-soaked bread into the baking dish and bake, uncovered, for about 30-35 minutes, until the top is browned and the pudding puffs slightly.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.