Saveur (November 2009)
One of the more unusual features in this year's crop of Thanksgiving magazines comes from Saveur. In it, Chef Susan Trilling, author of the cookbook Seasons of My Heart, tells about an annual Thanksgiving dinner she throws at her cooking school in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Last year, 60 people attended the dinner and Trilling asked them to bring dishes that used ingredients native to the New World. It's not your typical holiday fare. The recipes that accompany the article are interesting spins on classic Thanksgiving dishes.
There's a Oaxacan stuffing with chiles, fennel, cumin and prunes, along with sweet potatoes in syrup with guava. We loved idea of these dishes, but the one that really caught our eye was this new spin on bread pudding that incorporates squash.
We know what you're thinking: SQUASH?! In bread pudding?!
Let's cut to the chase.
Yes, it's squash. And it's delicious.
But we had never considered using it as part of a dessert.
In this dish, cubed pieces of butternut squash are mixed into a basic bread pudding that's spiced by cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. It's a subtle -- yet rich -- balance of sweet and savory.
That, on its own, makes for a phenomenal dessert, but the addition of a rum caramel sauce to the pudding elevates this dish into "oh-my-god-I'm-in-love-with-this-dessert" territory.
We were blown away by it, and think your Thanksgiving guests will be, too.
FOR THE BREAD PUDDING:
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
3/4 cup raisins
4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon,
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium butternut squash (1 lb. 10 oz.), peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 cups)
1 6-oz. piece stale white country bread, cut into 1" cubes (about 6 cups)
FOR THE SAUCE:
8 oz. piloncillo, roughly chopped, or 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup rum
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Whipped cream, for serving
1. Make the bread pudding: Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 13" glass or ceramic baking dish with a little butter and set aside. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water; let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the melted butter, milk, sugar, Grand Marnier, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Drain the raisins and stir into the custard mixture along with the squash and bread and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 50 minutes, uncover, and continue baking until bread pudding is golden brown, about 1 more hour.
3. Make the sauce: Heat the piloncillo, butter, heavy cream, rum, and salt in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until piloncillo dissolves and sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes; set aside and keep warm. To serve, spoon bread pudding into serving bowls, drizzle with sauce, and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
SERVES 8 – 10