When sisters Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau’s book Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking—150 Vegetarian Recipes popped up in my inbox, I knew it was one I wanted to read and share on this column. It’s not every day we get a book focused on Caribbean cuisine here! And as Michelle and Suzanne explained in their introduction, “The region’s culinary history and the life stories of Afro-Caribbean women are intrinsically intertwined.” They also share a brief history of the women in their family line, which they felt was (previously) inadequately covered compared to the men. The recipes that make up the book do not replicate generational or traditional West Indian recipes. Instead they use typical West Indian ingredients and sometimes techniques in inspired recipes like this week’s Pecan Pie infused with Rum. As a Southerner, this is one of the pies that says “Christmas” most to me, and I’m happy to be sharing this version with you for the upcoming holidays! —Kristina
About Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau: Sisters Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau have spent the last 20 years exploring the identity of Caribbean food from their unique vantage point as Jamaican writers, researchers, restaurateurs, and food entrepreneurs. They are co-principals of Summerhouse at the Liguanea Club, a Caribbean gastropub located in Kingston, Jamaica. Their first cookbook, Caribbean Potluck, received critical acclaim and was named among NPR’s Best Books of 2014. You can find them on instagram @summerhouseja and on twitter @2sistasandameal.
For a chance to win a copy of Provisions, respond in the comments section below by December 31, 5PM EST to the following question: What food item do you always bring back from your travels? I like to bring back local tea whenever possible. Let us know what you look for. We will announce the winner in the comments section, so be sure to check back!
Image above: Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking. Food photography by Ellen Silverman
Image above: Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau by William Richards
Image above: The Rousseau sisters’ paternal great grandmother Ma Briggs, creator of Briggs Patty, with daughter Enid (their grandmother).
Image above: The Rousseau sisters’ maternal grandmother Henrietta with son Hugh (their grandfather, far right) and siblings from Henrietta’s Cuban work permit, courtesy Rousseau family.
Image above: Pecan pie infused with rum.
- 1 Basic Pastry Crust, unbaked (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dark-brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup or Louisiana cane syrup
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup pecan halves
- For the Pastry Crust (makes 12 tart shells or one 8-inch pie crust)
- 1 pound (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 pound (1 cup) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
To make the crust:
Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until it is incorporated into the dough and the mixture appears sandy in texture. Add 4 tablespoons ice-cold water, stirring it into the flour mixture until a dough forms; knead for a few turns to bring the dough together. Wrap well, and chill for three hours before using.
To make the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the lower part of the oven. Roll out the pie crust and carefully lay it into an 8-inch pie plate or 8-inch skillet. Trim and flute the edges of the pastry. In a stainless steel bowl, mix the granulated and brown sugars together. Once combined, stir in the corn or cane syrup, eggs, salt, and flour. Continue stirring until everything is well combined (this should take about a minute). Stir in the rum, melted butter, and vanilla extract, and then fold in the pecans. Pour the pecan mixture into the pastry shell, and place the pie in the oven. Bake for at least 1 hour (up to 1 hour and 20 minutes), or until the pie is firm but soft in the center. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.
Excerpted from Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking—150 Vegetarian Recipes by Michelle Rousseau and Suzanne Rousseau. Copyright ©2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.