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November 2008
Recipes Contributed by:
Jacksonville Mercantile

Dear Fellow Foodies:

I have a confession. I hate pumpkin pie. I know, I know, how could I possibly hate what has been a tradition in most people’s homes for ages. I think it goes back to all the Thanksgiving dinners where I have been subjected to those horrible dull dark brown, soggy messes they sell in the grocery store. You know the pies I am talking about, the ones they bake in February and then freeze only to take out in your local grocery store just in time to torture familys across the US at Thanksgiving. The pie with the soggy, tasteless crust and the custard that looks like old shoe leather, THAT one.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin. It is one of the most versatile winter squashes around. So in order to be able to enjoy pumpkin at Thanksgivings I have come up with other options to pie. The following is an extremely quick way to make a pumpkin dessert and doesn’t require turning on the oven (unless you make your own cannoli shells).

Pumpkin Crème Cannoli
Pumpkin Polenta with Chantrelle Mushrooms and Asiago Crust
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Pumpkin Crème Cannoli – makes 12 cannoli’s

½ can prepared pumpkin (I prefer the organic variety, it seems to taste better and doesn’t have anything added)
2 packages of pre-made cannoli shells (these usually come 6 in a box)
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk Ricotta – drained
3/4 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp Fiori di Sicilia flavoring (this is the flavor you will recognize from all Italian pastries at the holidays)
½ cup light Muscavado Brown Sugar (you may substitute light brown sugar)
1 cup chopped Honey Roasted Pistachios – for garnish
Powdered sugar for garnish -optional

Drain the ricotta cheese in cheese cloth for a few hours or overnight to release as much water as possible. Whip the Mascarpone Cheese with the sugar and nutmeg. Add the drained ricotta and pumpkin and mix until thoroughly mixed. Using a pastry bag, or a large plastic bag with a corner cut off, fill the cannoli shells right before serving or up to 2 hours before serving. Dip the corners of the filled cannoli into the chopped Honey Roasted Pistachios and serve. Dust with a small amount of powdered sugar. Serve cold.

Pumpkin is one of those things that is extremely versatile and can be served as both savory or sweet. This is an easy side dish that works well at Thanksgiving or with any dinner in the fall or winter. I like to serve these in small individual dishes so everyone gets that wonderful cheesey crust to dig into. Perfect with lamb or duck as well.

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Pumpkin Polenta with Chantrelle Mushrooms and Asiago Crust

1 Cup Polenta
½ can prepared pumpkin
2 tsp. Freshly ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Mild Paprika
½ cup large chantrelle mushrooms – cut into large pieces
2 Tablespoons European Butter (find a butter with 80% or more butterfat – you’ll use less and get better flavor)
2 Cups vegetable stock
1 cup Grated Asiago cheese
Sea Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the polenta by boiling the vegetable stock and adding the polenta. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until done. Add the pumpkin and stir until smooth. Add the mushrooms. Add the butter. Add more seasoning if needed. Place into individual ramekins or dishes and generously sprinkle with Asiago cheese. Bake in 350F oven for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly on top. Serve hot.

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Jacksonville Mercantile News

Jacksonville Mercantile
Store location: Jacksonville
online ordering available

Remember, if you can’t find any ingredients near you, the Jacksonville Mercantile is on-line and we can ship any of the gourmet essentials right to your door. Just go to

If you haven’t been in to the shop in a little while, we have just received some wonderful goodies for the upcoming holiday season. All of the English Cheeses have arrived, including the real Stilton in a ceramic crock. After we have eaten all the cheese, I use the crock to store my gray sea salt in it. We have available Wallace Grommet Wensleydale cheese and also white Cheddar from England, in addition to white stilton with Mango and Ginger. And of course we have the infamous (waitlisted) Rogue River Blue Cheese from our local creamery. Can’t decide? We would be happy to help you put together a fabulous cheese tray for any of your upcoming events.

Don’t forget, if you want a perfectly moist turkey, the key is to brine. We have Gobbler Kits available to help you make the perfect turkey this holiday season. The Gourmet Gobbler Kit comes with a large brining bag, brine and herbs. The Jacksonville Mercantile also has fun games like “Foodie Fight” and wine tasting kits for fun evenings during the holidays and into the winter months when many of us entertain at home. Lots of items under $10 and $20, perfect for all your family and friends who have everything. German, Italian, French and Local baked goods are available. And we have all of our wonderful local wines available. In fact, The Jacksonville Mercantile has just started wine tasting too! We will be featuring local wines on the weekends.

Happy Cooking and Baking Everyone!
Constance Jesser
Jacksonville Mercantile “A Delicious Discovery”
120 E. California Street
Jacksonville, OR 97530

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