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Celery Root and Apple Bisque with Maple Custard, Candied Pecans, and Country Ham

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Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 sweet onion, peeled and diced (Vidalias work best)

½ rib of celery, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup white wine

2 large celery roots, peeled and diced (about 5 cups)

2 ½ quarts vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup sugar

½ cup good maple syrup

Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

¼ pound country ham, diced small

1 tablespoon chopped chives for garnish

1 Virginia Beauty apple, cut into matchsticks

1 small celery root, cut into matchsticks

Chopped chives

½ lemon, juiced

Hot sauce to drizzle

Candied Pecans

1 cup pecans, shelled in halves

5 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Maple Custards

2 whole eggs

½ cup cream

½ cup milk

4 ounces pure maple syrup

Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Sweat the butter, onion, celery, and garlic in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until soft (about 5−7 minutes).
  2. Add white wine and simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add celery root, potato, and vegetable stock. Continue to cook over low heat until soft (about 15 minutes).
  4. Add cream, sugar, and maple syrup. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Let cool slightly (so as not to burn yourself), then puree in batches in a blender, adjusting with water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Candied Pecans

  1. Cook pecans in boiling salted water for 1 minute.
  2. Drain thoroughly. Put in a mixing bowl. Coat with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar.
  3. Fry them at 300 degrees until just golden. (I recommend a DeLonghi home fryer. You put a little oil in it, heat it, put some water on your finger to sprinkle on the oil, and if it pops, it’s ready.)
  4. Drain the pecans. Coat with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
  5. Let dry under a heat lamp or in oven on low heat.

Maple Custards

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and maple syrup.
  2. Scald cream and milk in a pot until almost boiling.
  3. Temper cream/milk mixture into eggs/syrup mixture slowly. Add salt and white pepper to taste.
  4. Place warm custard into small ramekins (about 2 ounces into each ramekin) that have been sprayed with Vegalene or other nonstick cooking spray. (This should give you 8 custards—some extra in case someone else shows up!)
  5. Bake in a water bath at 300 degrees for 20−25 minutes or until just set.

To Assemble

  1. In 4 soup bowls (or 6 if slightly smaller portions), place diced country ham in center of the bowls. Gently flip the ramekins over so the custard lays in the center of the soup bowl as one custard, not broken.
  2. Garnish with apple and celery root matchsticks that have been tossed with chopped chives and a little lemon juice.
  3. Surround the custard with candied pecans pushed up against the custard.
  4. Drizzle hot sauce around custard before pouring bisque over. At Lemaire, for full effect, we pour the bisque tableside.
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