autumn

This is my version of a classic dessert that I made for my crew to give them a taste of a real American Thanksgiving. The dish is originally a New Orleans (Cajun) style of dessert with raisins but I love it with the squash – one of my favourite Autumn vegetables.  It’s also a great recipe if you’ve got lots of leftover bread.   Enjoy!

Serves 4
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Ingredients

1  9×13 inch pyrex baking dish or any size dish with tall sides
1 butternut squash, peeled, cut into 2 cm squares
1 tbspn olive oil
1 tsp salt
10 tbspn butter, melted and browned
4 cups whole milk
4 whole eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups white or brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbspn Grand Marnier or other orange liquor
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
6 cups fresh crusty bread, can be previously frozen or dry (stale)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch of Maldon salt
Toasted pecans to garnish (can substitute with any nut)

Method

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)

Peel and carefully cut the squash into 2 cm cubes and toss with the oil and salt and roast on a parchment lined baking tray until browned, about 45 minutes. Cool and reserve.
Cut all the bread into small 3 cm cubes and set aside.
Melt butter on medium heat and leave on the heat until nutty and brown, about 5 minutes.
Mix in a bowl the beaten eggs, whole milk and the rest of the ingredients to make a custard
Add to this custard the melted browned butter and stir to combine.

Reduce your oven to 350 degrees F (180 C)

Line your baking dish with parchment and evenly cover the bottom with the bread. Scatter the roasted squash around the bread and then pour in the custard to fill the pan. Let stand 10 minutes for the bread to absorb the custard.
Wrap the pudding with foil and bake in your oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Uncover the foil and continue baking another 30 minutes until set but still jiggly when shaken. The top should be nicely browned. Let cool.

For the sauce – heat a saucepan on medium high with the cup of sugar and water until it starts to melt. Do not move the pan. Wait until the sugar starts to brown (about 7 minute) and then swirl the pan carefully to make an even color of dark brown. When it comes to this stage, you must act quickly. Add the cream at once and whisk to incorporate. Remove from heat and let cool.

Drizzle over the pudding and garnish with toasted nuts and a pinch of salt.


About Chef Ross

Ross is a self taught chef with experience of working in  luxury yachts and private homes around the world including New York, Texas, Seattle and Mallorca in Spain (where he is currently based).    He loves to use local produce from the ports and markets as his inspiration.  He specialises in fresh Mediterranean, seafood, and vegetarian food and he also makes all of his own breads, ice creams and sorbets.

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