Holiday Entertaining: Winter Verrine Recipe

Reader Contribution by Victoria Greenstreet
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The snow is falling, the fire is crackling and soon most of us will be entertaining! If you are hosting a party this year or bringing along a dish to share for the holidays, give my Winter Verrine recipe a whirl. Verrines are a French delicacy traditionally layered in a glass, much like a parfait and served as hors d’oeuvres or dessert. They are equally delicious sweet or savory, either way they are a breeze to assemble!

Creating a verrine is a cinch! Firstly, select a serving vessel; it should be glass so that all of your layering efforts will shine. Secondly, pair your favorite ingredients together; ideally seasonal flavor combinations. Next, make sure you have a few different textures; for example, a burst of crunch sets off a mousse-like creaminess. Lastly, make sure to consider color; you may want to add a pop of color at the finish or simply create layers that are complimentary colors.

Victoria’s Winter Verrine; Photo By Victoria Greenstreet

Verrines can be as simple or as complex as you care to make them. In many cases the fillings will hold for a few days in the refrigerator, making the actual assembly easy to do the day of the party. So why not whip up a verrine for your holiday entertaining?

In addition to the recipe below here is a list of a few of my favorite winter combinations:

Beet + Orange + Goat Cheese

Quail + Lentils + Truffles + Aioli

Apple + Cranberry + Vanilla + Cinnamon + Ice Cream

Chocolate + Banana + Caramel + Crème Fraiche

Victoria’s Winter Verrine Recipe

Serves 6-8

Roasted Squash Apple Puree:

• Glug of safflower oil or other high-heat cooking oil
• 1/2 small butternut squash or winter squash of your choice
• 2 granny smith or your favorite cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Cubed Squash:

• 1/2 small butternut squash or winter squash of your choice, peeled
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• Sea salt, to taste
• 3/4 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar 

Mascarpone Cream:

• 1 cup mascarpone cheese
• 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 orange, zest 

Verrine Assembly:

6 thin slices prosciutto
Cubed squash
Sea salt, to taste
Roasted squash apple puree
Mascarpone cream
1/3 cup toasted &/or spiced nuts
Fleur de sel, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add a glug of safflower oil to a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out and discard the seeds and place one half of the squash, flesh side down on the oiled baking sheet and bake until fork tender and beginning to caramelize, about 1-1 ½ hours. Once roasted and slightly cooled, scoop the flesh out and mash by hand or puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.

3. Peel the other squash half and cut into bite sized cubes. Toss with melted butter, salt, chile pepper and brown sugar. Roast in the 375 F oven until tender, about 45 minutes-1 hour.

4. In a small baking dish, toss together the apple wedges, melted butter, spices, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Bake the apples at 375 degrees F until tender, about 45 minutes. Once baked mash by hand or puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Fold this mixture into the squash puree to make the Roasted Squash Apple Puree.

5. In a bowl, whisk together the mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream until light and fluffy. Fold in the orange zest.

6. Warm a skillet over medium-high and cook the prosciutto until caramelized and golden on each side. Once cooked, blot with paper towels.

To assemble the verrines:

1. Divide the cubed squash between 6-8 serving glasses.
2. Spoon a large dollop of mascarpone cream over the squash.
3. Divide the squash apple puree evenly amongst the serving glasses as the next layer.
4. Add another large dollop of mascarpone cream.
5. Sprinkle with nuts and a pinch of fleur de sel.
6. Garnish with prosciutto and serve immediately.

Victoria Greenstreet is inspired by seasonal ingredients. Her focus is whole foods and gluten-free cookery. She is a classically trained chef, freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. She is currently working on her first cookbook due in the winter of 2014. Visit her blog Honey Dumplings for more recipes and culinary adventures.

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