11/10/10

Butternut Squash...

...or, Cucurbita Moschata, as most kids refer to it...




"Is that my favorite pumpkin bread I smell?" he asked, as he foxtrotted into the kitchen.

"Uh-huh."  I craftily replied, as the fires of Hell consumed me.

You see, in an attempt to convince the-one-I-hold-dear to admit fresh Butternut squash was  better than canned pumpkin,  I baked his favorite "pumpkin" bread...with some minor changes.

In deference to my die-hard Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, I finally confessed to substituting Butternut squash, while ranting  about its many virtues.
Well, it didn't really take that much convincing. And after that first bite,  he tuned me out, his eyes gently rolled back into his head, and I declared victory.

In any case, I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest serving the warm bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter from Fly Through our Window.
And please, do not eat this while standing, or your knees may buckle. It is that good.


Some were baked in canning jars, to give away as gifts. Yeah.


Others were baked into loaves, paired with that spicy butter I told you about.



Butternut Squash Bread with Pecan Streusel Topping
Yield: 2 loaves or 36 muffins.

Bread:

1½ cups pecan pieces
¾ cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups butternut squash purée
½ cup water
3 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1½ teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt

Topping:

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup AP flour
½ cup toasted pecan pieces (see above)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Arrange pecans on a baking sheet, toast them for 7 to 9 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of pecans for the topping.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
Grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans, or 36 standard-size muffin cups. Whisk the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs, butternut squash purée, and water and whisk until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture, adding 1 cup pecan pieces last. Divide the batter between two loaf pans.

To make the topping:

With your hands, work the sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and the reserved ½ cup pecans in a bowl until combined. Sprinkle topping over the loaves.
Bake loaves for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Bake muffins for about 25 to 30 minutes.  Adapted from The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather.


Cinnamon Honey Butter

2 sticks (8 ounces) softened butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup honey*
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Using the whisk attachment in your mixer, blend all ingredients until  smooth and has an even consistency. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the mixer with a rubber spatula to ensure even mixing.

*I only used 1/2 cup honey.



While looking for ways to use up this winter squash, I came across another dessert I'd like to share with you. Dulce de Zapallo, or, Candied Butternut Squash in Spiced Syrup from Laylita.
This dark, rich, luxed out dessert with a spicy syrup  is  somewhat similar in taste to its  American cousin, the pumpkin pie. But with fewer side effects inflicted by the traditional   pie crust.

Check out Laylita's blog for recipe and tempting photos.



This was served with  Butternut Seed Brittle,  and queso fresco.

P.S. Laylita chose Piloncillo in this dessert. And so did I. 
Piloncillo is a wonderful, caramel-y, unrefined sugar,  more flavorful than brown sugar. It comes in blocks, and cone shapes, and can be found in Mexican and Latin American markets, or, ordered online.



I dare say candied Butternut squash is better than a  backstage pass to Deff Leppard. 

Regardless, one of these days,  Joe Elliott, will show up at my door, with a restraining order flowers in his hand. Oh, rapture!