In my column in the September 5 New York Times, I describe a recently discovered method for making intensely flavored liquid essences, or "consommés," from all kinds of foods, from meat stocks and fruit juices, baked potatoes and chocolate.
The Times prints a recipe for brown butter consommé from H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, authors of the remarkable blog Ideas in Food. David Kinch, chef-owner of the acclaimed restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos, California, generously sent me a recipe for a pumpkin consommé, but the the Times didn't have space to print it. With chef Kinch's kind permission, here it is.
Adapted from David Kinch, Manresa Restaurant, Los Gatos California
For the consommé:
4 cups of pumpkin juice (approx. 4 small-med.sugar pie pumpkins, peeled, seeded and run through a juicer
1/2 t. grated nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
4 cloves, ground fine
fresh ginger, square piece 1" in diameter, minced fine
1 cup, brown butter, strained
2 t powdered gelatin
Kosher salt, to taste
1 T. lemon juice
For the dates:
12 medjool dates
2 T. butter
2T. fino sherry
Slice toasted almonds
The day before:
Sprinkle the gelatin onto the surface of the pumpkin juice, and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk together the pumpkin juice, the melted brown butter, the spices, a pinch of salt. Place the juices on medium heat and stir until the gelatin in completely dissolved.
Pour the juice into a shallow bowl, cover with plastic wrap and freeze solid. Line a strainer large enough to hold the frozen juice with cheese cloth. Place it over a larger bowl.
Pop out the frozen juice out of the bowl and place in the lined strainer. Allow the block to slowly melt in the refrigerator. It will take up to 24 hours. Dispose of the solids left behind in the cheese cloth.
Season the consommé with salt, lemon juice and a pinch of sugar.
The day of:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Toss the the dates with 2 T. melted butter and the sherry. Roast in the oven in a baking dish uncovered baking dish until soft yet still maintain their shaped, approx. 1/2 hour. Set aside and allow to cool.
Place 2 roasted dates per person in 6 shallow soup bowl and pour the pumpkin consommé around. Garnish with a dollop of whipped creme fraiche and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve.