Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Pudding

I had a rather amusing moment with a friend the other day, where we shared our mutual excitement that the fall season - and fall produce - is upon us, for those of us who try to eat seasonally.  At the same time, we both grinned and exclaimed, "Butternut squash!"

Yes, winter squashes have hit the markets, and I am delighted to re-incorporate these vitamin-packed powerhouses back into my cuisine for the months ahead.

  • 2 cups mashed and cooked butternut squash*
  • 1/2 cup plain non-dairy creamer
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger**
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 Ener-G egg yolks
  • 3 Ener-G eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegan sugar
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs***
1. Combine the mashed squash, creamer, maple syrup, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Ener-G egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring until blended.  Set aside.

Note: as a reminder, use only 1 tablespoon warm water per 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G powder to mimic a "yolk" versus a whole egg.  For this recipe, you'll need 4 and 1/2 teaspoons powder in 3 tablespoons water.

2. Make the 3 Ener-G eggs in a large bowl.  Beat with a hand mixer for 12 minutes - you'll wind up with a foamy thick mixture that mimics the stiff peaks of egg whites.  About halfway through, gradually add the sugar, while continuing to beat.

Note: since the purpose of the egg whites in this recipe is for thickening - rather than superior rising like in an angel food cake or souffle - you probably don't need to beat for a full 12 minutes.  The 12 minute trick, though, is one that I'm fond of sharing with fellow vegans, since I believe it is a secret that few of us are on to; I'm even intending to try it for meringue cookies soon.  Check out my posts for Blueberry Angel Food Cake and Hot Chocolate Souffle for more adventures in vegan egg beating.

3. Stir one-fourth of the beaten Ener-G mixture into the butternut squash mixture, and then gently fold in the remaining beaten Ener-G mixture.  Spoon the mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with the graham cracker crumbs.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes - the mixture should be set.

*Ahead of time, cut a 2-pound butternut squash in half vertically and scoop out the seeds and fibers.  Place the squash halves, cut sides down, in a 13x9-inch baking dish, and fill the dish with water to a depth of 1 inch.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes; the squash should be tender and pierce easily with a fork or small knife.  Let the squash cool, then scoop out the pulp.  Mash with a potato masher until smooth and refrigerate until ready to prepare the rest of the recipe.  A 2-pound squash should yield almost exactly the 2 cups needed in this recipe.

**I like the crystallized ginger from Woodstock Farms, which uses raw cane sugar.  Look for it in health food stores or Whole Foods. 

***My go-to graham cracker brand is the amaranth graham crackers from Health Valley, the only kind I know of which does not contain honey.  You can get yours online at If you're wondering what to do with the leftover graham crackers in the package, make s'mores of course; mine are made with melted dark chocolate and Dandies marshmallows.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1/2 cup), Calories 177

Tasting Notes:
This side dish was like nothing I've ever tasted - incredibly sweet from the maple syrup, and cooked to an almost jelly-like texture in the center, while the edges closest to the pan set into more of a bread pudding-ish consistency.  The pop of spicy ginger was a really nice contrast, and I would add up to 2 tablespoons next time.  My only complaint is that it was a bit too sweet since it is meant as a side dish; I recommend increasing the amount of butternut squash to 3 or 4 cups, so that the squash stands up better to the rest of the yumminess going on.

Update: after finding that the pudding was so sweet, I decided to try chilled leftovers for dessert instead the next night - and liked it even better.  After chilling, the mixture had set closer to what I would consider a "pudding," and was delicious either plain or dolloped with a little vanilla non-dairy yogurt. 


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