Our cookbook of the week is Wildness: An Ode to Newfoundland and Labrador by Jeremy Charles, chef and co-owner of the award-winning St. John’s restaurant Raymonds. Tomorrow, we’ll feature an interview with its author.
To try another recipe from the book, check out: Poached cod cheek, mussel broth, potato and shore greens, and cold-smoked Labrador Arctic char with cultured cream and seal bresaola.
Sagamité is a dish popular with the Huron-Wendat, among other First Nations. The name can refer to either hulled corn or a porridge-like stew made with corn and rendered animal fat. At Raymonds, pastry chef Celeste Mah (who was named Best Pastry Chef 2019 by Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants) uses the ingredient ground in desserts such as vinegar pie with sagamité crust and dandelion ice cream, and this baked custard with poached rhubarb and yogurt sorbet.
“Sagamité is a beautiful ingredient and Celeste … has really embraced it and done a beautiful job with simplicity,” says Charles. “I had some in Quebec for the first time and it’s lovely savoury but it’s nice in dessert as well. A lot of our desserts are more on the savoury end than sweet, which you can see throughout the book, and I just love that.”
BAKED SAGAMITÉ CUSTARD, POACHED RHUBARB AND YOGURT SORBET
For the yogurt sorbet:
1 L (4 cups) yogurt
200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
For the poached rhubarb:
200 g rhubarb, peeled (reserve all peelings)
3 cups (750 mL) simple syrup
For the custard:
Spray oil, for greasing
Icing sugar, for dusting
1.5 L (6 cups) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
Peel of 1 lemon
6 egg yolks
600 g (3 cups) granulated sugar
Pinch of sea salt
150 mL (2/3 cup) dark rum
150 g sagamité (finely ground cornmeal)
Make the yogurt sorbet: Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the sugar dissolves. Churn according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.
Make the poached rhubarb: Preheat a water bath with an immersion circulator to 144°F (62°C). Clean and peel the rhubarb, then cut it into lengths to fit your sous vide bag. Pour in the simple syrup and reserved rhubarb peelings and seal. Cook in the prepared water bath for 15 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath.
Make the custard: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray an 18 x 26-inch (45 x 66-cm) baking sheet with spray oil and dust with icing sugar.
Put the cream, vanilla bean, and lemon peel into a saucepan and heat gently to scald the cream. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and salt. Stir the hot liquid into the eggs to temper the eggs. Strain the mixture, then stir in the rum and sagamité. Pour the custard into the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and the custard is set. Let the custard cool before dressing and serving.
When you are ready to the dress the custard, thinly slice the rhubarb and place it on the custard in a pretty pattern. Quenelle (see note) the yogurt sorbet in the centre.
Note: A quenelle is shaped like a smooth rugby ball. Form them using a single spoon or two; there are helpful video tutorials online.
Adapted from Wildness: An Ode to Newfoundland and Labrador by Jeremy Charles (Phaidon, $59.95, May 29, 2019)