Step 1 – In the next few weeks, you will see green baby pine cones that haven’t formed their scales yet on branches. Harvest them and soak them in water for a few hours to get rid of insects and dirt.
Step 2 – Boil all of the baby pine cones for 20 minutes and discard the water. This will get rid of some of their sap that may cause them to taste bitter.
Step 3 – Make a simple syrup with 2:1 ratios for water to sugar. Add your blanched pinecones and some aromatics. I like sweet clover (a Québec wild vanilla) but you can use regular vanilla or cinnamon. Simmer until the syrup has changed to a deep amber/ pinkish colour and is quite thick. Then jar and eat at your convenience. We use them to garnish pine nuts desserts in the winter but you don’t have to wait, the sweet syrup is delicious on strawberries!
This recipe was provided by Chef Dominique Dufour, Chef & Owner of Gray Jay Hospitality in Ottawa, ON, and was a recent competitor on the Food Network Canada’s, Top Chef Canada Season 8, as part of my Instagram LIVE show Mat Beausoleil LIVE.