Labrador Tea Custard
A recipe by Michele Genest
Michele Genest lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, where she writes The Boreal Chef cooking column for Yukon, North of Ordinary Magazine. Her big enthusiasm is to find new ways to cook with northern ingredients, whether they live and grow wild in the boreal forest or its lakes and rivers, or are cultivated in northern gardens. She often wanders out of the north to explore ingredients and techniques from other cuisines, bring them back to the Yukon and create some great north-south kitchen mash-ups.
Why did you decide to partner up with Greenpeace?
Greenpeace is doing vital work raising awareness of and appreciation for the boreal forest as a key habitat for all manner of life. I especially like their approach to the forest as a cultural landscape that includes the people who live here, first and foremost Indigenous people, but newcomers as well. As someone who lives here, I appreciate Greenpeace’s boreal forest campaign, and wanted to help in the best way I can — through food. I don’t know if people generally think of the forest as a source of delicious wild foods, but my hope is that through these videos we’ve made together the forest will seem not just miles and miles of endless trees, but a source of beautiful sustenance.”
What inspires you to cook ingredients from the boreal forest?
When I first arrived in the North 25 years ago I got to know and love the boreal forest by going berry picking with friends. Those early experiences led to more foraging excursions into the woods, and as my knowledge grew so did my appreciation for this beautiful place. Creating and sharing dishes and recipes made with the foods of the boreal forest helps me connect to the land and to the people who live here. I love it.
Labrador Tea Custard
2 cups (480 mL) soy or almond milk
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Labrador tea (substitute 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried rosemary)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Labrador Tea-infused vodka (substitute 1 Tbsp (15 mL) bourbon)
2 Tbsp of cornstarch + 2 Tbsp of soy or almond milk
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Heat soy or almond milk, Labrador tea and flavouring in a medium saucepan over medium heat until steam rises. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Whisk 2 Tbsp of cornstarch with 2 Tbsp of soy or almond milk.
Pour milk mixture through a strainer into a measuring cup with a spout, then pour slowly into cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Return to the heat until custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Set 6 or 7 ½-cup (125-mL) ramekins in a deep roasting pan. Break up any bubbles in the custard mixture with a spatula, then pour into the ramekins. Boil a kettle of water and pour into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. The centres will still be jiggly but will firm up as the custard cools.
Serve warm or cold. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Makes six or seven ½-cup (125-mL) servings.
Adapted from The Boreal Gourmet, Adventures in Northern Cooking, by Michele Genest. Harbour Publishing, 2010.