Posted by: thedirtybaker | November 12, 2012

Baking Against Alaska

I have nothing against Alaska.  It sounds like a gorgeous place in the summer, with glaciers, amazing wildlife, and quirky people. As a thin-blooded wimp, I don’t want to live there, though, and when it sends us its weather before my landlord has had my furnace checked out for the winter, I have to take action.  That happened this weekend. I considered showing up at a hospital and informing a surgeon that B (the handyman) can’t have knee surgery until after he comes and checks the furnace, but I suspected that they’d find a space for me in a different ward of the hospital. You know, the one with the padded walls.  So I went for option B:  Dig out the winter clothes, test out my new coat, ride my bike in the afternoon (!) and BAKE!!!  Winter’s visit definitely improved.

The key to warming up the house is longer baking times: quick breads (50-70 minutes) and puddings (at least an hour and a half) are better than brownies, for example.  I often turn to rice pudding to warm things up, but I recently noticed a recipe for Butternut Squash Indian Pudding.  I read about Indian Pudding in the Little House on the Prairie books in grade school, but my mother dismissed it as not good. I hadn’t thought about it in years. Now, it was in my head, and had a red kuri squash that came with my last produce delivery.  According to some web sites, it was supposed to taste a little like chestnuts – that sounds good for dessert.  And even better: the squash needs to roast for an hour, and then the pudding bakes for another hour and a half (or more).  That’s an hour longer than the rice pudding, and it has the added bonus of the healthy squash!

Butternut Squash Indian Pudding

Changes:  I used a red kuri squash, not a butternut squash, and I doubled the recipe. It needed to cook for a lot longer than an hour and a half – maybe try baking it at 300F, or raising it to 300F after an hour or more.  I didn’t have black strap molasses – I used mostly regular molasses and a bit of  maple syrup.  And, of course, I used much more cinnamon than it called for.

Clarification: The recipe is unclear about the top-of-the-stove part. You need to whisk it continuously while it cooks. Otherwise, the cornmeal will clump instead of mixing and thickening the milk and spices.

Simplification:  You could also make this with canned pumpkin, but I don’t know how much pumpkin puree – I think the double batch used more squash puree than one 15-oz. can, but maybe not two cans.  If you give it a try, please post the quantities in the comments – I’d love to hear!


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