Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash Recipe

Inspired by a recipe in The Vegetarian Compass written by Karen Hubert Allison, published in 1998. A roasted acorn squash is filled with corn, milk, anise seed, and chopped scallions. You then bake it until the filling sets, and finish with white cheddar cheese left under the broiler until golden and bubbly.

Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash

I have some great vintage and out-of-print cookbooks on my shelves and I thought I would highlight recipes from a few of them in the coming weeks. There are also some exciting new releases out there as well, and I'll try to highlight some of those too. But I thought I'd start off by building on an idea from The Vegetarian Compass written by Karen Hubert Allison, published in 1998. This was the only cookbook written by Karen, and it is full of unexpected and unique combinations of ingredients and flavors. Her roasted squash is filled with corn, milk, anise seed, and chopped scallions. You then bake until the filling has set, and finish with white cheddar cheese.

Roasted Squash Recipe

Let me back up and tell you a bit about the book overall. It's not flashy. It is photo-free, and printed with gray and purple ink. And yet, this is a book I'm inspired by each time I pull it from my shelf. It is full of sophisticated ideas, techniques, and flavors. Many of the recipes have a little story attached, and each recipe in the book seems to have real intent behind it. Said another way, you get the sense that she felt strongly about every recipe she included.

I was too young to know anything about it at the time, but Karen (along with her husband Len Allison) was the former owner of the three-star New York City restaurant Huberts. She taught at the Culinary Institute of America. The Vegetarian Compass was published posthumously after her death from breast cancer in 1997. Josh Wesson was a young sommelier at Hubert's in the 80's and is quoted in Karen's obituary saying,

''Before there was a Greenmarket, there was Karen Hubert and Len Allison seeking out little growers and artisanal makers of cheese and bringing them down to this restaurant.''

Clearly she was ahead of her time. I could go on quite a bit more, but mostly I just wanted you to know that I find inspiration in this book - and I thought it would be nice if Karen's recipes and ideas lived on in more kitchens. If you see a copy in a second-hand store, be sure to spend some time with it.

I've adapted today's recipe from the Acorn Squash filled with Corn Pudding in The Vegetarian Compass. It involved roasting, making a filling, filling the squash, and roasting some more. If you don't have an hour and a half to dedicate to roasting, here's an alternative approach that came to mind as I was making it. Roast the squash until it is cooked through and beginning to brown a bit on top. Then sprinkle each half with grated white cheddar cheese and use the broiler to brown the cheese on top. Serve topped with hot, buttered corn and some scallions and/or herbs.

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Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash

I used an acorn squash here, but you can experiment with other types of squash if you like. And if aniseed and scallions aren't your thing, you might try do a version swapping in coconut milk and a bit of curry paste - and perhaps a cilantro drizzle?

Also, (important!) depending on the size of your squash you might have quite a bit of filling leftover - I ended up with double the amount I needed. That being said, I kept Karen's original milk/egg ratio intact here. I poured my leftovers into a buttered ramekin and baked that alongside the squash for a nice, light corn-flecked pudding. Or alternately, you might use a second squash.

1 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon clarified butter or olive oil
1 cup milk
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the butter/oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You will want it to sit flat (and not tip), if you are having trouble just level out the bottom using a knife. If the squash is tilting on the pan, the filling will run out - bad news. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender.

In a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, anise seed, half of the scallions, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls 3/4 full (see head notes about using leftovers). Carefully transfer the squash back to the oven without spilling (tricky!). Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set. The amount of time it takes can vary wildly depending on the squash and oven. At the last minute sprinkle with cheese and finish with a flash under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep and eye on things, you can go from melted cheese to burnt and inedible in a flash. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Serves 4 - 6.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 45 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

Oh how I wish it were not 101 degrees today . . .

Jen

Finishing off the last of the peaches, waiting for the late corn to ripen, dodging long shadows...the waning days of summer still have bounty aplenty, bring on the acorn squash!

Heidi, This looks incredible!! Any ideas for a vegan version? Thanks! Anna

It looks so great, i will try it very soon. Thank you so much Heidi

Thanks for the recipe! I was just wondering what I was going to do with the acorn squash I purchased on impulse... A few questions: Any suggestions for replacing or omitting the egg? Do you think egg-replacer would work, or perhaps a flax-seed egg?

Thomasina

Heidi--I've been following your blog for almost a year, and I've never told you how wonderful it is. I got hooked by the beauty of your photographs. I'm not a vegetarian, but find myself moving in that direction after sampling many of your wonderful recipes. Thanks so much!!

Kathia

I love that this recipe takes the simplest of ingredients and produces a rich, delicious result. I think that's what I love most about being in the kitchen - a dish that doesn't have any pretentious ingredients but produces a result that is far beyond what one might expect.

I love that this recipe takes the simplest of ingredients and produces a rich, delicious result. I think that's what I love most about being in the kitchen - a dish that doesn't have any pretentious ingredients but produces a result that is far beyond what one might expect.

Yum, I love winter squashes. And I love both versions - the version you have here, and the one you suggested, with curry paste and coconut milk. I could really go with that one! The spicy/sweet combo would really be my thing. Yum!

Mmm! This looks like comfort food to me! I have to admit, when I saw the name of the recipe I was expecting something more polenta-ish. I may just have to experiment with that after I've tried this recipe!

Ann

It's a warm fall treat hiding inside a little squash...yum!

I love acorn squash - it's my favorite of the squashes. I just picked up two this week at the grocery store in anticipation of some season changing weather. One of my favorite ways to prepare is by stuffing, so I'll definitely be making this!

How many ways can I spell YUM!! This was so good, I made it for dinner last night and it was a big hit. I served it with fresh grilled salmon fillets and the meal was very satisfying. For the Lactose commenter: I eat a wheat and dairy free diet, so I subbed almond milk for the dairy and it did not affect the results or the taste one bit! Make sure you use unsweetened almond milk though... good luck!

Kate

Beautiful! I love stuffed squash! I just put up a sausage & spinach stuffed acorn squash on my blog =) DELICIOUS! I love the idea of sweet corn & cheese. Mmmmmm

Thank you for posting this! I got excited about squash coming in season and bought two new-to-me varieties to cook this past weekend. The labels recommend slicing, baking, and serving. I thought, "So simple! What could be better than fresh squash?" Sadly, the glories of fresh squash were lost on me. The flesh, while tender and delicately flavored, was rather bland, but I didn't know how else to prepare it without pureeing it into something not so unadulterated squash (aka soups, pies, filling). I'm going for Round Two with the squash this coming weekend, and I'll use this recipe.

Letitia

Ooooh lala. Autumn is such a perfect time to cuddle down with warm starchy vegetables. I love that you combine two of my favorites here--squash is such a great vehicle.

This looks amazing. I'm constantly coming to your site for inspiration - both for cooking and for ogling. Everything I've made is outstanding, and this looks like a winner. Perfect for a dinner party - everyone would be SO impressed! www.mangiavita.com

want this, love squash. second of all, i applaud you for staying intrigued in cookbooks without pictures... i need the color for inspiration. Great post, hope your trip was great!

I love this idea! I think this would be perfect for Thanksgiving, but I also think it would be perfect for lunch! I'm going to be on the lookout for this cookbook.

My neighbor just gave me an acorn squash yesterday from his garden! Can't wait to try this!! My husband is lactose intolerant... could you recommend any squash recipes that don't include dairy? Thanks!

Leslie

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