Outside the humidity is so high I need a swimsuit just to take out the compost. Condensation fogs the house windows as the hot air outside hits the A/C-chilled glass. And still I manage to crave the warm spices and rich flavors of fall. This butternut custard feeds the cravings without a sugar overload – and since there’s no crust it is naturally grain/gluten-free! Canned pumpkin can be a quick ingredient substitute, but I really like the flavor of butternut squash.
To get mashed butternut squash I take a large butternut squash, halve it and scoop out the seeds, and place the piece cut-side-down in a baking dish. Adding a little water to the pan I bake it at 350 for about 40 minutes or until a knife point slips in easily. I let the halves cool until I can handle them and use a spoon to scoop the flesh into a food processor, and then whirl it all up. I freeze the squash puree in 1 and 2 cup containers ready to use for muffins, pies and custard.
This dish isn’t overly sweet and could just as easily be a side dish for a pork roast as it could be dessert with a little ice cream. Whipping the egg whites gives it a nice fluffy texture.
Butternut Squash Custard
2 cups mashed cooked butternut squash
3/4 cup heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of sea salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 Tblsp honey
Preheat the oven to 350 and generously butter a baking dish about 8″ square. Combine the squash with the cream, maple syrup, spices, salt and egg yolks in a large bowl. In a mixing bowl beat the egg whites with the honey until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the squash mixture until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes or until set.