Tag Archives: butternut squash

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SAGE CHEESECAKES

Butternut squash & sage cheesecake

Savoury cheesecakes might seem like a peculiar idea at first but really, is it any more strange than choosing to make a pudding out of cheese in the first place?
As a non-meat eater I think that they make such a nice change for a special lunch or a first course. Once you’ve mastered the basic mixture they’re very versatile too, there are so many flavour possibilities that you could use in them.
I’ve used pretty classic autumn flavours in this version. These also look really pretty when you cut into them and the colours are amazing.
Be careful not to over-bake the cheesecakes or they’ll dry out a bit and lose their nice creamy consistency. It’s also important to make sure that the cheeses and eggs for the filling are at room temperature before you start.

Butternut squash & sage cheesecake

Ingredients
makes 6

base
3 tbsp digestive biscuit crumbs
3 tbsp oats
3 tbsp melted butter

filling
200g butternut squash
1 fat clove of garlic
small handful of sage (with some smallish leaves if possible)
225g cream cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Butternut squash & sage cheesecake

Pre-heat the oven to 190°c. Slice the butternut squash into thin slices, only a couple of millimeters thick, so that you have 12 slices. Lay these on a lightly greased baking sheet and scatter over the sage and pop on the garlic clove, unpeeled. Roast the squash for 15-20 minutes, until it is tender and then leave it to cool a bit on the tray.
Reduce the oven to 170°c and line a six hole tin with muffin wrappers, silicone ones work a treat. Fill a roasting tin with water and pop that in the oven to use as a bain-marie later.
Combine all of the ingredients for the base mixture and press a spoonful of it into the base of each of the muffin wrappers. Put this in the fridge to chill and become a bit more firm.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is nice and soft. Add the egg and beat again until it is well combined. Crush or finely chop the roasted sage, keeping back any leaves that you want for decorating, the small one are best for this. Mince the roasted garlic. Add the parmesan, crushed sage, garlic and the seasoning to the cheesecake filling mixture and stir well. Set this aside for a moment.
Using a pastry cutter that is roughly the same size as the muffin wrappers, cut out circles from the cooled roasted squash.
Put a spoonful of the cheesecake mix on top the biscuit base for each cheesecake and spread it a little. Top this with a circle of squash. Repeat this, finishing with a layer of cheesecake mix. Top with a sage leaf to decorate.
Put the tray into the bain-marie and bake the cheesecakes for 20-25 minutes. They should still have a little wobble to them once they are cooked. Turn the oven off and open the door a bit. Leave the cheesecakes to cool to room temperature in the oven and then pop them in the fridge to chill. Let them sit a room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Butternut squash & sage cheesecake

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH & APPLE MUFFINS with orange glaze

Butternut squash & apple muffins

I’m pretty certain that if you didn’t know these were vegan then you wouldn’t be able to tell.
I quite enjoy a bit of vegan baking but I have encountered some recipes that seem to be missing a certain flavour or have a slightly disappointing texture from the various dairy and egg substitutions. Not so with these. They’re light, tender and full of flavour, the way a muffin should be.

Butternut squash & apple muffins
I make my butternut squash puree by cutting the squash in half scraping out the seeds and roasting it until it’s tender. Then I pull off the skin and blend the flesh until it’s smooth and creamy. I don’t add any oil or seasonings, it’s easier to keep track of them in the recipe that way. I like to keep my applesauce on the chunky side but make the squash puree really smooth. This way the squash just sort of melts into the texture of the muffins but you occasionally get little bites of apple. Yummy.

Butternut squash & apple muffins

Ingredients
makes 12

120g plain flour
60g wholewheat flour
60g oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
80g brown sugar
170g butternut squash puree (about 1/2 a small squash)
150g unsweetened, unseasoned applesauce (from about 2 apples)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
100ml water
1 tbsp honey

glaze
5 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp orange juice

Butternut squash & apple muffins

Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and line a 12 hole muffin tin with wrappers.
Sift together both of the flours, the spices and the raising agents into a large mixing bowl. This is just to get them all really well combined so make sure that you tip any wheat bran that’s left in the sieve back into the mixture. Whisk in the sugar, salt and most of the oats, keep a few of these back to sprinkle on the top of the muffins.
In a separate jug or bowl, whisk together the squash puree, applesauce, oil, honey, cider vinegar and water, making sure that they are really well blended. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in. Fold it together with a spatula so that it is only just combined. Be careful not to over-mix it.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cases and sprinkle the reserved oats on the top. Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes. They should be well risen and golden with a little spring to them. Give them a poke with a cake tester or skewer if you want to be sure.
Leave them to cool on a wire rack for a bit.
Mix together the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth and then drizzle it onto the muffins, let it set a bit before enjoying.

Butternut squash & apple muffins

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COCONUT & BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Coconut and butternut squash soup

Whilst I was back in the UK over Christmas my friend treated me to lunch at a great place in Cirencester called Made by Bob. I ate a soup that was so delicious I was genuinely a little bit sad when the bottom of the bowl became visible.

I’ve done my best to recreate it here. It’s not quite as sublimely silky but the flavours aren’t far off. It’s so easy to make and uses things that I always have in my pantry. It is the kind of thing that I’ll keep making and it’ll probably evolve over time.
I’ve listed palm sugar, lime juice and soy sauce to taste because it’s really down to personal preference. As a guide I use one teaspoon of palm sugar and soy sauce and the juice of half a lime but you might like it slightly saltier or a bit more sour.

Coconut and butternut squash soup

Ingredients
1 medium onion
700g butternut squash
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
250ml coconut milk
400ml water
palm sugar, lime juice and soy sauce to taste

Peel and dice the onion. Peel the squash and cut it into cubes.
Sweat the onion in a large saucepan using a little oil. Once it’s soft but not brown add the butternut squash and fry for a minute or two before mixing in the paste. Pour in the water, cover and simmer until the squash is really soft and tender.
Remove from the heat and blend until smooth. Return to the hob, add the coconut milk and seasonings (palm sugar, lime juice and soy sauce) to taste. Bring back up to a gentle simmer before serving.

Coconut and butternut squash soup
I really like this with a couple of slices of griddled firm tofu to make a substantial supper.

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SMOKEY SQUASH & CORN CHOWDER

I get a little obsessive about getting my five-a-day once the cold weather arrives, trying to ensure I consume every vitamin possibly available to me. Having a big vat of soup bubbling away on the stove definitely makes this a more appealing task.

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Using chipotle paste gives this a more gentle warmth rather than the full spiciness of using plain chili. Roasting all the vegetables first adds a bit of sweetness to the soup (and also saves me a lot of tears from peeling onions) so it is worth putting the extra time into doing this.
I’ve used smoked sea-salt here to up the smokey flavour but it’s by no means essential. It’s also up to you whether you choose to use milk or cream, obviously the cream adds a touch of luxury and indulgence but I tend to use milk because I eat this so often.

Ingredients
serves 4
1 small butternut squash
1 medium red onion
1 clove garlic
600ml vegetable stock
100ml milk/cream
150g sweetcorn
2 tsp chipotle paste
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper

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Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Rub the cut sides lightly with oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cut the onion in half but don’t bother to peel it, don’t peel the garlic clove either. Place the squash and the onion cut-side down on a baking tray, and roast at 180°c for 30 minutes. add the garlic and roast for a further 30 minutes until everything is tender.
Let the vegetables cool a little so that you can handle them. Remove the skin from the onion and garlic and roughly chop them. Scoop the flesh from the squash and put all of the vegetables into a large saucepan. Mix in the chipotle paste and cinnamon.
Pour on the vegetable stock and bring to the boil for a few minutes.
Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree it until completely smooth. Stir in the milk/cream. Add the sweetcorn and return to the heat until the corn is tender. Check the seasoning and add a little more salt and black pepper if needed.

Serve with a little sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE GOUGERES with parmesan filling

For once this craving isn’t actually mine. This one’s for my friend Katy. More years ago than I really care to remember I made some savoury choux buns which I filled with a really thick cheese sauce. Ever since Katy has repeatedly asked me to make them again but for one reason or another I’ve never got around to it.

I have since learned the fancy French name for these is gougères – far more classy than cheese puff.

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I love butternut squash and I’m led to believe that it’s a ‘super food’. But I also love fatty treats…so why not combine the two. I’m not suggesting that the addition of a little butternut squash to choux pastry makes it a health food by any stretch of the imagination but it does make it a little easier to justify on the occasions when you do indulge. Most importantly though, these taste amazing.

I’m pretty proud of them – they were a total experiment but they worked first time. Initially I wasn’t really sure if I would be substituting the squash for flour or moisture so I altered the amounts of both and it seemed to work really well. There are two ways that you can serve these – either warm and filled with creamy parmesan sauce or you can make smaller puffs and sprinkle them with grated parmesan before baking to produce little bite size nibbles. (Maybe to serve with my Sage Gimlet..?)

I have to confess that I didn’t make the filling for these, I left that up to my husband. He is rarely given access to the kitchen. Partly because I love to cook but also partly because I just get increasingly frustrated with his insistence on ridgedly following recipes and never tasting as he cooks. However he makes brilliant roux-based sauces because he has far more patience for adding the milk than I do. Resulting in wonderfully smooth sauces every time. Marvellous!

Ingredients

Makes 12 puffs for filling

60g mashed roasted butternut squash

80g sifted plain flour

150ml water

75g butter

2 eggs

1 tbsp finey chopped fresh sage

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Filling

40g butter

50g plain flour

200ml milk

40g grated parmesan cheese

pepper

1 tsp wholegrain mustard (optional)

Pre-heat your oven to 200°c.

Using a large-ish pan, melt the butter into the water over a moderate heat. Try not to let the water come to the boil.

Tip in the flour and beat well with a wooden spoon to ensure that the mixture is smooth. Return the pan to the heat for a moment or two to cook out the flour. Add the mashed squash and chopped sage and mix until evenly distributed.

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Now this next bit requires a bit of elbow grease so feel free to rope in anyone that might have been loitering around the kitchen for too long. Beat the eggs into the warm mixture one at a time. Continue beating until the dough is soft and glossy and starting to come away from the sides of the pan.

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Spoon or pipe blobs onto a well greased baking tray. If you don’t want to fill the pastry then just use little bites sized blobs and sprinkle a bit of grated parmesan onto them. Bake for around 25 minutes or until the gougères are golden brown and fully puffed up.

Poke a hole in the top of each with a sharp knife to let the steam out (or they will go soggy and collapse) and place on cooling rack.

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If you want to fill the gougères (and why wouldn’t you?) then it’s a good idea to make the filling whilst the pastry bakes.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the flour and mix well, cook for a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour taste. Gradually beat in the milk, a little at a time. If you happen to have some cream in the fridge and want to make the sauce really rich and luxuriant then there is no harm in adding a splash now.

Once all the milk has been added mix in the cheese, pepper and mustard (if using). Let the cheese melt into the sauce, you are aiming to have a very smooth, very, very thick almost custard like sauce. It needs to be stiff enough not to dribble everywhere when you fill the gougères.

I haven’t put any salt in the recipe because for me the saltiness of the parmesan is adequate but by all means give the sauce a taste and add a bit if you feel that it needs it.

Depending on how pretty you want your gougères to look either spoon or pipe the filling into the little choux pastry puffs, through the steam hole if it’s large enough or make a little slit somewhere inconspicuous.

You can get away with reheating these a little if you need to. About 5-10 minutes at 180°c will do it.

I served mine with some more roasted butternut squash and a green salad. Yummy!

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Notes

I know that you wouldn’t, but if you have any sauce left over don’t throw it away. You can use it as the base for a spinach roulade. I had several tablespoons left over so I beat in an egg yolk, an extra couple of teaspoons of flour and a handful of chopped spinach then folded in a whipped egg white. I spread this out on a small tray, greased and lined with baking parchment. I baked it at 200°c for 25 minutes and filled it with whipped cream cheese, fresh herbs and sundried tomatoes and rolled it up. It’s not the prettiest dinner that I’ve ever served up but it was very tasty.

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