First, the good stuff…a giveaway! CSN Stores is sponsoring a $35 gift certificate giveaway for one of my readers. If you haven’t checked out the CSN sites, you should. They have everything you can think of, from cookware to briefcases. With Christmas around the corner, I’m sure we could all make use of this gift card. (See the end of this post for the rules.)
Now, some moaning and groaning…it’s been a long week. We’re both still battling our marathon colds. Andy’s has morphed into bronchitis with a side trip to the emergency room for an extremely swollen face. I came home from work and went straight to bed almost every day last week. Hence, no new posts. I am amazed at all of you out there that with kids and jobs and colds who still manage to post great recipes with fantastic photos almost daily. I’ve had no energy for any of it.
The only notable thing we’ve done is to get our Christmas tree up. The house is decorated, and so is the dog. Meet Febby:
He’s our longhaired miniature dachshund and you can’t see it, but his shirt says, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Yes, I am one of those people that put shirts on my dog. He has worn many ridiculous outfits, including the requisite hot dog costume. You can’t have a dachshund and not put him in a hot dog costume. As you can see, he also loves pillows and actually uses them like a person. But enough about silly dogs in clothes…
Today was the first time since Thanksgiving that I’ve actually felt like cooking. My uncle brought me a couple of homegrown acorn squash on Thanksgiving and they’ve been sitting on the counter ever since. Every time I saw them, I wondered what to do with them. Since I’ve never tasted acorn squash, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
When I cut it open, (which was a bit of a wrestling match complete with three different knives), I expected it to taste the way it smelled: like pumpkin. But after roasting, I was pleased to find that it has a very nutty flavor, not at all like pumpkin and more like butternut squash. I decided on a savory tart with classic squash-loving flavors: brown butter and sage.
Acorn Squash, Brown Butter and Sage Tarts
Makes 4 mini tarts or 1 large tart
2 pie crusts (for 4 mini tarts) or 1 pie crust (for a large tart)
1 acorn squash
3 tablespoons brown butter, divided use
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
sage and thyme roasted seeds, for garnish (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie dough into tart pans and press firmly in. Prick sides and bottoms with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Turn oven down to 375 degrees to roast the squash. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds, then coat the flesh side with a little olive oil and place flesh side down on a baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender.
Remove squash from oven and when cool enough to handle, scoop flesh out with a spoon (yield should be 2 cups). Put squash, 2 tablespoons brown butter, mascarpone, parmesan, cream, eggs, sage, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse until well-blended and smooth.
Spread the filling into baked pie shells, enough to be level with top of crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until filling is set. Remove tarts from oven, and when ready to serve, brush with remaining tablespoon of brown butter and garnish with roasted seeds.
(To roast the seeds, rinse and dry them, then toss with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, ground sage and dried thyme. Roast at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully…they burn quickly.)
For my first acorn squash dish, I’m very pleased with the way these little tarts turned out. Even Andy (who is not the world’s biggest squash fan), liked them a lot. The squash and the brown butter combine nicely for a very nutty flavor and a hint of sage comes through as you finish the bite.
One tiny problem: they were a little bit dry. I will say it again: I am not a baker (as you can tell from my use of pre-made pie crust.) So to those of you who understand the science of baking, what do I change or add to make the filling a little bit more moist without changing the flavor? Another egg, more cream, more butter? Help!
Here are the rules of the giveaway:
Follow my blog and leave me a comment by 10 PM (PST) on 12/9/10. That’s easy, right? Only one rule. Oh, and you must be a US or Canada resident. (Okay…two rules.)
I’ll pick a number randomly on Friday, 12/10 and contact the winner. Good luck!