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Say pumpkin to anybody in the U.S. and ‘pie’ will usually pop into their mind. In France, recipes with pumpkins are more likely to be savory than sweet. Take a stroll in the outdoor markets and you’ll see cut pieces for sale along with whole, small pumpkins. Add a little twist to the Thanksgiving pie and try the Mousse au potiron and for a special treat add the Chaussons au Potiron for a special starter. Et voilà:
Chaussons au Potiron
Beggar’s purses (pastries) stuffed with a mixture of pumpkin, Roquefort and roasted garlic.
Pronounced: shoh soh(n)/ oh / poh tee roh(n)
3 lb pumpkin, seeded
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 TBS olive oil
2 oz. Roquefort
¼ cup garlic purée
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup cooked long grain rice
For the Provençal pastry :
2 cups flour
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup tepid water
flour (for rolling out the dough)
To prepare pastry:
1. Add all the ingredients (1-5) in a mixing bowl.
2. Mix first with a fork and then knead rapidly with until you have a consistent texture.
3. Form into ball, cover with a towel and leave to rest for an hour.
For the filling:
1. Wrap the pumpkin in aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours in a 400° oven until flesh is very tender. Allow to cool.
2. Line a colander with a towel. Scoop out pumpkin. Place a spoonful of pumpkin in colander, sprinkle with salt. Continue placing a spoonful at a time in the colander, salting each addition.
3. Fold towel over the suface. Place a small plate on top and add weight. Leave to drain for 3-4 hours.
4. Cook the onion in the oil over low heat for about 1/2-hour.
5. Mash Roquefort to a paste in a mixing bowl. Mash a bit of the pumpkin with it. Then stir in the rest of the pumpkin, the onions, garlic puree and egg, beating well with a fork.
6. Stir in the Parmesan, grind in some pepper and then add the rice.
7. Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out the dough very thinly (as for ravioli). Cut rounds about 4″ in diameter.
8. Hold a round of dough in your hand and add a teaspoonful of the filling. Dip a finger in water, smear around the edge. Fold over to close and gently punch the edges.
9. As each is prepared, place it on an oil filmed baking sheet. Place an inch apart. Brush the tops with olive oil.
10. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Mousse au potiron
A light pumpkin mousse, flavored with rum and spices.
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
¼ cup amber colored rum
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup heavy cream
6 small pumpkins, tops removed and reserved, insides scooped out and cleaned
1. In a heat-proof small bowl, pour rum then sprinkle on the gelatin.
2. Place bowl in a larger pan. Pour simmering water in the pan to come halfway up the bowl.
3. Stir to dissolve the gelatin.
4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
5. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl until thick.
6. Gradually beat in sugar and continue mixing until lemon colored, about 5 minutes.
7. Stir in the pumpkin, spices, orange zest. Stir in cooled gelatin.
8. Using clean beaters, whip cream until stiff. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture.
9. Refrigerate mousse for at least 3 hours before serving.
Fill the small hollowed-out pumpkins with the mousse, put the tops on at a jaunty angle and serve.
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