‘True North’ filled with unique recipes

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD -

Chef Derek Dam­mann and writer Chris Johns hope their new book “True North” will con­vince Cana­di­ans to ex­plore the unique of­fer­ings of the small towns and ru­ral ar­eas across the coun­try.

“There’s great sto­ries and lots of in­for­ma­tion about the coun­try in there that I think peo­ple would find very, very in­ter­est­ing as a cof­fee ta­ble book,” says Dam­mann.

“From a cook­book side there’s a lot of tricks and tech­niques ... ( for) how to make things prop­erly and do things the right way through a lit­tle bit of smok­ing or cur­ing, brin­ing, just ways to el­e­vate a sim­ple dish you’re do­ing at home.”

The pair say Canada is in the midst of a culi­nary revo­lu­tion - and not just in ur­ban cen­tres.

“I think peo­ple are tak­ing a real in­ter­est in restau­rants that are serv­ing the food from that area and want­ing to go to the farm­ers mar­ket and want­ing to cook toma­toes when they’re in sea­son or what­ever’s hap­pen­ing,” says Johns.

Dam­mann says “peo­ple are go­ing on th­ese lit­tle trips, like mini road trips, with­out any agenda, stop­ping at a farm, at a cheese maker, a bak­ery, a lit­tle pas­try shop along the way. It’s refreshing to see peo­ple tak­ing an in­ter­est in what’s here.”

Here is a recipe from “True North” to try at home:

SU­CRE A LA CREME POT DE CREME

Dam­mann says this recipe was in­spired by the but­ter­scotch pud­ding he used to have in his school lunches. Serve with a bowl of lightly whipped cream and cook­ies. 125 mL (1/2 cup) un­salted but­ter 250 mL (1 cup) brown sugar

Pinch of kosher salt 375 mL (1 1/2 cups) whip­ping cream

250 mL (1 cup) whole milk

8 egg yolks

Flaky sea salt, to fin­ish

Pre­heat oven to 160 C (325 F). Have ready a bowl of ice wa­ter with an­other bowl set in­side it. In a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt but­ter. Stir in sugar and kosher salt. When sugar has dis­solved and mix­ture is bub­bling away, add cream and milk. Bring to a sim­mer. Cook for 5 min­utes, then re­move from heat. Whisk egg yolks in a heat­proof bowl. Whisk­ing con­stantly, slowly add a bit of the hot cream mix­ture to tem­per yolks. Keep adding hot cream a lit­tle at a time, whisk­ing con­stantly, un­til yolks have come up to tem­per­a­ture and won’t scram­ble when you add them to the pot. Pour mix­ture back into pot. Cook cus­tard over low heat, stir­ring con­stantly with a rub­ber spat­ula (mak- ing sure to get in the cor­ners, as they scald first), for about 7 min­utes, un­til mix­ture thick­ens enough to coat back of spat­ula. Im­me­di­ately pour cus­tard through a fine-mesh sieve into cold bowl to stop cook­ing. Stir cus­tard ev­ery couple of min­utes to aid in cool­ing. (Cool­ing cus­tard be­fore bak­ing it pre­vents over­cook­ing.) Pour cooled cus­tard into six 150-ml (5-oz) ramekins and place in a roast­ing pan. Add enough warm wa­ter to come half­way up sides of ramekins. Cover pan with foil and bake for 35 to 40 min­utes, un­til cus­tard is just set and still has a slight wob­ble in cen­tre. Re­move foil and let ramekins cool in wa­ter un­til tepid. Re­move ramekins from wa­ter and re­frig­er­ate, un­cov­ered, un­til set. Top each pot de creme with a light sprin­kle of flaky sea salt. Makes 6 serv­ings. Source: “True North: Cana­dian Cook­ing From Coast to Coast” by Derek Dam­mann and Chris Johns (HarperCollins Pub­lish­ers Ltd., 2015).

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