Turn pumpkin into Squash for Thanksgiving

butternutFeels like winter is closing in and it will be soon time to get theses spices out of the pantry for their yearly celebration of the changing season. This year, king Pumpkin is competing with its cousin Butternut  who could easily take the lead in the king's winter courtyard. Butternut squash, also known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin is a type of winter squash with a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp and when ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer.

It is time to see if Butternut could take the throne by trying all these new twists on pumpkin dessert recipes!

Pumpkin trio2Spiced butternut squash Sticky Toffee Pudding

For the cake: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2/3 cup granulated(white) sugar 4 large eggs, at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 3/4 cups butternut squash purée ( no sugar or spices added)

Toffee sauce: 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 1/4 cups heavy cream 1/4 cup golden syrup or light corn syrup pinch of salt

For the Cake: preheat oven to 350F, and grease a 9x14 baking pan. Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Beat the butter with both sugars until fluffy, then add the eggs, vanilla and butternut squash.  Scraping down the bowl, add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, mixing in between.  pour into pan and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean in the centre of the cake, approx 30-40 minutes. For the toffee sauce: in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar and the syrup. once the sugar has dissolved, add the cream and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally until the sauce reduces and thickens, approx 10 mins. Remove from heat.

Once the cake is cooked, score the cake, still in the baking pan, with the approximate serving sizes.  Then take a large carving fork and repeatedly pearce through all of the cake, forming many many holes in each piece.  Then pour all but one cup of the toffee sauce over the cake, letting it soak into the edges and all of the holes.  Serve warm, topping each individual piece with unsweetened whip cream and a drizzle of the remaining sticky toffee sauce.

Butternut squash cheesecake mousse cup

12-20 servings

½ cup              butternut squash purée ½ cup              cream cheese, room temperature OR ½ cup fresh goat cheese 1/3 cup            golden brown sugar, lightly packed 2 tsp.               pure vanilla extract 1 tsp.               cinnamon 1/8 tsp.            nutmeg ¼ tsp.              ground ginger 1 pinch            ground allspice 1 pinch            ground cardamom

1 cup               whipping cream, chilled ¼ cup              icing sugar

  1. Combine the cream cheese and the brown sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Mix all of the spices into the butternut squash purée and then add the spiced pumpkin mixture to the sweetened cream cheese. Mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the cold cream with the icing sugar until ‘soft peaks’ are formed (this means that the whipped cream cannot truly hold its shape very well, and still seems just slightly liquid).
  4. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin cream cheese mixture until just combined.
  5. Pour this filling into a zip-lock bag until the bag is no more than half full, then close the bag and snip the corner so that it can be used to ‘pipe’ the filling into the bottom of small wine glasses or shoot glass.
  6. Fill the bottom of the glass, then sprinkle a crushed layer candied pecans (recipe below) then cover again with more pumpkin mousse, and top with a whole candied pecan.

Candied pecans

1 cup.              white sugar 1 tsp.               ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp.            salt 1                      egg white 450gr              pecan halves

  1. Preheat oven to 280 degrees F (140 degrees C).
  2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Whisk egg white in a large separate bowl until frothy.
  4. Toss pecans in the egg white mixture.
  5. Mix sugar mixture into pecan mixture until pecans are evenly coated.
  6. Spread coated pecans onto a baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until pecans are evenly browned (about 1 hour).

Butternut squash pots de crème

4                      egg yolk ½ cup.             brown sugar ½ cup.             milk 1 ½ cup            heavy cream 4                      all spice berries 2                      cinnamon stick 1tsp.                 freshly grated ginger 1                      nutmeg, cracked (not grated) ½ cup              roast butternut squash purée 

  1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth and slightly pale.
  2. In a saucepan, warm the cream with the milk and all the spices. Cover and allow steeping for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the hot liquid through a strainer on the egg/sugar mixture, add the roast butternut squash purée and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture directly into ramekins that are set in a pan.
  5. Pour hot water into the pan so that is it half way up the ramekins.
  6. Place into a pre-heated oven (325F) and cook until they are just set; cool immediately.
  7. Keep refrigerated until serving.