This was really the Pièce de résistance of the whole meal. It is actually quite a simple dish but looks so impressive. You could do this with any small squash that will stand up on its own (so Harlequin is out!) or you could do it with a larger kabocha as a main dish and serve it in bowls. I think that the individual squash are much more impressive though. When choosing your butternuts go for the smallest, best looking ones you can find and make sure they don’t fall over! I had to go to 3 supermarkets to find the right size so forward planning is vital. Luckily squash keep well so if you see them, snap them up! I have much-loved gratin dishes but if you’re careful you could bake them in a larger dish then transfer to bowls to serve.
Serves 3 (just increase the amount of cream to fill whatever you’re filling)
3 small butternut squash
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp thyme leaves
– Heat the oven to gas mark 2.
– Prepare the squash by slicing in half and scooping out the seeds.
– Place the squash in a baking dish.
– Heat the cream, milk, garlic and thyme in a pan and season well. Heat through until piping hot.
– Pour into the prepared squash.
– Put the lids back on and pour a splash of water into the bottom of the dish to stop it sticking.
– Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn up to Gas mark 6 for the last 15 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving with fresh bread. (These are very, very hot straight from the oven!)
For those wondering you eat it by scooping the flesh of the squash out into the cream. You can then eat it with chunks or somehow mush it up to be orange soup as my mum did. How she did it with a just spoon I’m unclear but she was happy! Dipping warm bread rolls in it was sublime too!
An interesting variation would be to add some chopped chilli to the cream for a spicier alternative.