I have been making kombucha for years and still never get tired of imagining new flavor combinations. I love the fizzy, fermented, slightly sour taste; it makes a great afternoon pick-me-up. It’s just an added bonus that it’s good for me! If you don’t know what kombucha is, I blogged about it here.
Buchi Kombucha company donated all the delicious kombucha for the meals at the recent Wise Traditions 2013 conference. They showcased their new holiday flavor of apple, vanilla, cinnamon and clove. I loved it and wanted to recreate it at home. My daughter, who loves my kombucha, isn’t crazy about clove, so I left that out for her. I include it here in the recipe, but you can omit it if you want.
Vanilla Apple Spice Kombucha
1 quart plain kombucha
1/2 cup organic apple cider
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2″ piece of cinnamon stick
1 or 2 whole cloves
Add the spices, vanilla and cider to a clean swing-top or screw-top quart jar. Slowly pour in the plain kombucha to fill the container as full as possible. Close cap tightly. Cover the jar with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in an undisturbed place. Let the kombucha ferment at room temperature for two days. Chill well before enjoying.
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.
This is delicious warm topped with a little whipped cream, or let it cool and chill it for later.