Bakeapple cream puffs, cod au gratin a la Bacalao restaurant

Published on November 22, 2013
Bakeapple cream puffs. — Photo by The Canadian Press

St. John’s restaurateur Andrea Maunder promotes traditional ingredients of Newfoundland and Labrador in her establishment Bacalao. Here are some recipes for dishes that she serves diners.

Bakeapple cream puffs

The puffs can be made a day or two ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. The topping can also be made ahead and stored in a jar in the fridge.

If using preserves instead of fruit, combine with the other fruit and reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Bakeapple (or Cloudberry) liqueur is available at most liquor stores.

250 ml (1 cup) water

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter

250 ml (1 cup) flour

4 eggs

250 ml (1 cup) bakeapples

1 mango, diced

250 ml (1 cup) chopped fresh pineapple

125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar

250 ml (1 cup) whipping (35 per cent) cream

30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp.) sugar

15 ml (1 tbsp.) cloudberry liqueur (optional)

Pineapple or mango slices or fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Heat oven to 220 C (425 F).

In a medium saucepan, boil water with butter. When butter has melted, add flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the pan, coming together in a ball, then remove from heat.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in eggs, one at a time, with a mixer or by hand, until incorporated. The resulting mixture will be a little sticky but will hold together.

Drop dough onto parchment paper-lined or well-greased pans in 8 mounds about 7.5 cm (3 inches) around and 4 cm

(1 1/2 inches) high. Leave 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) between puffs. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden, firm and hollow-looking. Poke a hole near the bottom of each one and return to oven for another 5 minutes or so to dry out. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

In a medium saucepan, simmer fruit with 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar until fruit is softened and mixture is thickened. Taste and adjust flavour to your taste — add lemon juice if too sweet, more sugar if too tart. Let cool.

Whip cream with 30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp.) sugar and liqueur, if using, until firm peaks form. Just before serving, cut cream puffs in half laterally. Fill bottom half with whipped cream and replace top. Spoon topping over top half and serve with a little more cream, if desired. Garnish each with a slice of pineapple, mango or sprig of fresh mint.

Makes eight servings.

Daphne’s cod au gratin

Maunder says “the simplicity of seasoning and freshness and quality of ingredients — and of course, the love she puts into it” makes her mom’s cod au gratin the best she has ever tasted.

500 g (1 lb) fresh boneless cod fillets

15 ml (1 tbsp.) olive or vegetable oil

90 ml (6 tbsp.) butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

60 ml (4 tbsp.) flour

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk (approximately)

500 ml (2 cups) shredded medium cheddar

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 190 C (375 F).

Place fish in a medium saucepan with enough cold water to just cover fish and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer to cook the fish through. (Do not break up fish too much — you want spoon-sized chunks.)

Remove from heat and drain well. Place in a greased casserole dish or divide among greased individual ramekins (175- to 250-ml/3/4- to 1-cup size).

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat; add butter and melt. Add onion and saute until softened and translucent. Add flour and cook, stirring to coat onions, a minute or two. Add milk and stir as sauce thickens. Add 250 ml (1 cup) of the cheese and stir to blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper. If too thick, add more milk; too thin, add cheese. The sauce should be the thickness of pourable gravy.

Spoon sauce over fish, stirring very gently just to incorporate but not to break up fish. Top with remaining shredded cheese and bake for about 20 minutes for ramekins, about 30 minutes for casserole. If it’s not as brown and bubbly as you like, place under broiler for a few minutes before serving.

Make ahead: Assemble in dishes or casserole, top with cheese and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Allow a couple of extra minutes cooking time because the dish is cold.

Makes four servings.

Source: Andrea Maunder, owner of Bacalao , St. John’s.