I love winter squash. I love all of it. And I love all the different ways you can eat it – baked, mashed, soup-ed, stuffed, and pureed into a thick and luscious spread known as Pumpkin Butter. I know that Sunshine Squash isn’t a pumpkin at all, but it is a winter squash and pumpkins are winter squash. Also people tend to know what something will taste like a little more if you say you made “pumpkin butter”, as opposed to “winter squash butter”. (Author’s Note: I was going to put an image of Winter Squash here but I didn’t like any of them, so here is Boyfriend’s Hallowe’en pumpkin instead)
I am a stress cook; well, sometimes I’m a stress cook. I made this batch of [insert something cozy and sweet here] butter after a spectacularly bad day at work. I was cooking to relax – chopping, peeling… it was soothing and exactly what I needed to do the evening I made this butter. I also tackled granola and creme brulee that night. The granola rocked but I overcooked the creme brulee (curses!). I also don’t have a stellar amount of pictures here, because the actual night that I made the butter, I wasn’t photo-ing, just cooking to cook,which is something I simultaneously like and don’t like. I need to form good cooking habits right now, with the top two being a) dishes while I cook, because they are always so sucky after and b) take pictures throughout, from start (raw ingredients) to finished product and serving. These are both fairly tricky for me because I’m kind of lazy and messy. I tend to get my hands covered in flour/butter/squash; then I don’t want to touch my camera. Anyone know a helpful person willing to come take pics while I cook free-of-charge?
Anyway – the pumpkin butter was delicious and hit the spot on that night, when I needed something warm and sweet to offset the bitter taste of my work day.
Winter Squash Butter
Note: I made this with a Sunshine Squash because it’s what I had on hand, but any flavorful winter squash will do; Kabocha or Sugar Pumpkin would undoubtedly be lovely. Also, the spices are in portions I like. If you want your butter to be more like pumpkin pie, add more clove and less cinnamon. Also, you can just throw in some pumpkin pie spice in place of all the spices; just remember to punch it up with some extra cinnamon.
1 medium winter squash- cored, peeled, and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Apple Cider- get it as local and as fresh as possible, about 2 cups
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup dark amber Maple Syrup. Again local is better and if you can’t get real maple syrup, use 1/4 cup molasses
In a deep pot (or a dutch oven if you are lucky enough to have one) put the squash and just enough cider to come up to but not cover it. Bring it to a simmer and cook until soft and falling apart (15-20 mins). Remove the pot from the heat. If you have an immersion/stick blender, use it to puree the squash apple mixture until it is smooth with no lumps. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular stand blender or a food processor; just do it in batches again until it’s smooth and even. Return the squash puree to the heat and add the spices and syrup. Stir everything well and bring it to a simmer. Simmer the pot, uncovered if you dare (it gloops and splatters) for about twenty minutes. The mixture will start to thicken and be spreadable when it’s ready. And you’re done. Serve it while warm on vanilla ice cream or cold on yogurt. This is wonderful as a spread for breads too. Basically I love it, ALL THE TIME. Actually I’m going to have some… right now. Ta-Ta!