Monday, November 7, 2011


This past Saturday I drove up to an organic-only Farmer's Market near to where I live. I love this market for many reasons but I think primarily because I can walk up to any farmer and I know I will be getting the best possible food at a reasonable price and a lot of passion coming from the hand that grew it. I was reminded of this as I was salivating over one local producer's many varieties of potatoes, radishes and other root vegetables. I then over heard [confession, I was intentionally eaves-dropping] him telling a woman about this squash, this buttercup squash, that was quite a few leaps ahead of any other. In fact, he had the kahuna's to say that she would never want butternut squash again! Judging from it's modest exterior I have to admit I was really skeptical. Upon a brief observance of this mallow-like orb, any regular Joe would think this farmer to be a bit off on his regal description. But, a few minutes later I walked away, plain-Jane squash in hand, wondering what I was in for.

Actually, I couldn't wait to get my hands [and knife] into this thing. For the entire drive home I dreamed about what I could possibly turn this little buttercup into, making it worthy of the praise it's former owner had adorned it with. Throughout the day, as each hour passed by, I got exceeding anxious. No one idea seemed to stick. And then, sometime around 7pm it came to me - custard!

So here it is, a Thanksgiving Table worthy delectable that really does live up to my new farmer friend's acclaim. You can make this as simple or as extravagant as you'd like. The only requirement is that you find and use a buttercup squash!


1 Buttercup Squash*
1/4 - 1/2 c. apple cider or juice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice [optional]
2 - 3 drops [1/8 tsp.] of orange flavoring [optional]
2 tsp. psyllium seed husk powder
1/4 c. maple syrup [optional] or to taste**


1 15-ounce can of regular coconut milk, well chilled 
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped


Cut the buttercup squash in half and scoop out its seeds and strings. Reserve the seeds for this recipe or allow them to dry and plant next year. Place the two halves face down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes or until flesh is very soft [make the whipped topping while this is baking]. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

While the squash is baking prepare the whipped topping. Remove can of coconut milk from refrigerator but do not shake the can! Gently scoop out the thick cream and reserve the water-like portion for a smoothie or soup. Place the cream in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients. Using a whisk attachment, beat the cream until light and fluffy [2 - 3 minutes]. Place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator and allow it to set.

Once the squash is slightly cooler, scoop out the flesh and place it in a mixing bowl. Add all of the remaining custard ingredients and beat, using the paddle attachment or beaters, until all are well combined and the mixture is very creamy. Scoop into individual serving bowls and refrigerate until chilled [1 - 2 hours].

Once the custard is cool, top with the whipped cream and lightly ground, toasted hazelnuts. Serve immediately or keep in the refrigerate until serving.

Serves 6 - 8 depending on the serving size, appx. $1.60 per serving.

* I really urge you to seek out your nearest Farmer's Market and hunt this particular squash down. It is well worth any effort that may be involved!

**I prefer my custard without the maple syrup as the whipped topping provides plenty of sweetness for me. You can decide what your preference is and adjust accordingly. Please note that chilling the custard will enhance the flavors, giving you a richer dessert.

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