Thinking about the flavours, sights, and sounds of Christmas brings to mind the spicy scent of gingerbread houses, fresh evergreen boughs, and delicious smell of wood-burning fireplaces.
Through the years my homemade gingerbread houses have devolved to generic store bought ones, real Christmas trees have given over to artificial ones and it’s hard to find a wood-burning fireplace anywhere these days.
But some things are just too good to let go, and so intrinsic to what we consider to be an essential element of our Christmas story.
Such is the quintessential Turnip Puff for me.
I think my attachment to turnips goes way back to my mother’s insistence that turnips must accompany turkey dinner, turkey soup, and are delicious just eaten raw.
So Turnip Puff is always served with our turkey dinners. Except for the year that we had the whole extended family for dinner and I discovered – after everyone had left – that I had forgotten it in the warming oven.
It was delicious the next day at the family Boxing Day leftover turkey dinner.
A few years ago my husband, daughter, and I travelled to Timmins to spend Christmas with my sister and brother.
Of course, I had insisted that we needed to make the Turnip Puff while there, so she should pick up a turnip ahead of time.
Well, we were in hysterics trying to peel and cut this turnip. I swear it was a petrified turnip, rock hard!
I guess they don’t eat a lot of turnip in northern Ontario and this one had been around for a couple of decades.
Regardless, we persisted and made the worst Turnip Puff on record, which didn’t impress my sister who doesn’t like turnip to begin with.
Anyway, here’s the recipe from my well worn 1979 Best of Bridge cookbook. It’s ideal for those Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners when you’d like to serve your vegetables in a different, special way.
Try it… you’ll love it!
from Pat Weibelzahl, You’ve Gotta Have Friends
• 6 cups cubed turnips (use the large yellow ones)
• 2 tbsp butter
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 3 tbsp flour
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¾ tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• Pinch of nutmeg (or a little more, fresh is best)
• ½ cup fine crumbs
• 2 tbsp melted butter
Cook turnip until tender. Drain and mash.
Add butter and egg.
Beat well (this much can be done the day ahead).
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Stir into turnip mixture.
Butter a casserole dish and put in mixture.
Combine crumbs and butter.
Sprinkle on top.
Bake at 375 F degrees for 25 minutes or until light brown on top.