Snack Attack: Pumpkin Crémeux at Parsnip
Since Parsnip sprouted in Harvard Square last winter, it has rooted its operation in French-inspired entrées of beef tenderloin, monkfish, and coffee-roasted venison. The posh plates from chef Peter Quinion have charmed with their chic presentation, so its no surprise that seasonal desserts also fit that bill.
This winter, try the pumpkin crémeux, a mousse-like dessert served with buttermilk pound cake, rye crumble, and candied pepitas. Parsnip pastry chef Courtney Staiano added the silky treat to the menu last month to capture the festive flavors of the season.
“I wanted to keep it as purely pumpkin as possible,” she says. “So many pumpkin dishes get bogged down in spice, and you don’t get to actually get pumpkin as the dominant flavor.”
To make sure that flavor remained prominent, Staiano only uses puréed pumpkin in the crème, resulting in a taste comparable to unseasoned pumpkin pie filling. She then adds a bit of pumpkin butter for a more traditional spice, and thin strips of pumpkin paper for presentation. The plate is finished with cubes of pound cake for density, giving the entire ensemble a slight tang.
The dessert joins other creamy offerings such as yogurt mousse with green tea crumbs and white chocolate; and dark chocolate mousse with pistachio-olive oil purée, poached cranberries, and maple syrup. As former chef Ryan Marcoux previously told Boston, each menu item at the restaurant aims to use no more than four ingredients, as to not overwork any plate. The pumpkin crémeux is just a newer, sweeter way to taste that mantra in action.
“Guests have loved the fall flavor and the lightness of the dish,” Staiano says. “It doesn’t leave them with the heavier feeling you would expect from a slice of pie.”
The dessert will remain on the menu through the end of the year, so you still have time to stop by the grand dining room and try it for yourself.
$12, Parsnip, 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, 617-714-3206, parsniprestaurant.com.