Author Notes: This is my favorite way to roast squash (although not the healthiest). Normally, I’d puree it into a soup (with flavors like bacon and chipotle or garlic and cumin) but for this recipe, I decided to further highlight the maple flavor, turning mashed squash into a squash milkshake. Coconut milk adds richness, vanilla rounds out the flavors and signals “dessert”. —offtrailcuisine
pounds acorn squash (2 medium squash)
cup (1 stick) butter
cup grade B maple syrup plus
cup grade B maple syrup (or, to taste)
ounces (1 can) coconut milk
vanilla bean, split and scraped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- With a sharp knife, cut the squash in half. Remove the smallest amount possible from each end, so that the halves sit flat on the counter.
- Scrap the seeds and strings from inside each squash half with a spoon. Try not to pierce all the way through the squash. Place squash halves on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- If you’d like, you can clean off the seeds, then roast them in your 400 degree oven for a snack. Drizzle with olive oil, season with plenty of salt and pepper, then roast until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Combine the butter and 1/2 cup maple syrup in a medium bowl. Microwave on “high” until the butter has melted, about 2 minutes. Stir to combine.
- Pour 1/4 of the butter/ syrup mixture into the cavity of each squash. Spoon some of the mixture onto the flat cut surface of each half (this is why you don’t want to scrape all the way through the squash; if you did, the liquid would drain out).
- Roast until a fork very easily pierces deep into the squash flesh, about an hour and ten minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven, being careful not to spill, and let cool.
- Pour the liquid from inside the squash into a large pot or bowl, then scoop out the flesh and add it to the liquid. Add the coconut milk and the vanilla seeds.
- Blend (I used an immersion blender) until extremely smooth.
- Add the 1/3 cup maple syrup, a tablespoon at a time. Since a variable amount of liquid may be lost during roasting (due to spills or leaks) this step has a good deal of variability. Add syrup to taste. You should distinctly taste maple, and it should be sweet without being cloying (remember, it’s a milkshake!)
- Chill in the refrigerator until cold, serve in a glass with a thick straw.