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

If early fall could be captured, written out into a recipe and then cooked to fruition, this is what it would look like. Lovely post! I'm so intrigued by the vintage recipes. Just goes to show that there are tons of oldies but goodies out there. Thanks! Jessica www.justchowbella.com

I'm with taghag!! Where is my cane! Even my kids were born before '98!! Looks yummy tho'

nimrod

I am new to your site and really enjoy it. The photography is stunning. You are gifted. It is refreshing to find such a high caliber food blog devoted to vegetarian/healthy food. Thank you! LA

LA

I think that's the most delicious looking thing I've seen in a long time. I can't wait to try it out. I'm not fond of anise in savoury things so I'm going to chuck in a bit of nutmeg instead and will report back... Genuine question...what is the alternative to 'white cheddar'. Surely all Cheddar is white! (and should have a capital C ;0) ) Mahsa..your website looks awesome. I wish I could read Persian!

Tisiphone

I just bought 3 butternut and one giant turban-shaped green-and-gray squash with a name I can't remember (in fact, it's so large, if it was cut right, it could fit on the head like a hat), but I didn't buy the acorn which was right next to what I bought (rats!). I'm ready to plow into squash season, though it's in the upper 90's locally (thank goodness for air conditioning!). I love the idea of the soupbowl approach and I'll bet the turban-shaped one would be wonderful, but since I've never tried (or seen) one of these before, I just want to have it unadorned the first time (a piece baked, another piece micro'ed, another piece souped, etc. -- like I said, it's really huge) Next time I have acorn, your recipe from the ancient book which is just 11 years old (gee, just how young are you?) is a definite do!

This looks like the perfect use of our CSA acorn squash. We'll be making tonight with all local ingredients.

Tom

Just the name is enough to salivate on...it conjures up oomph to the tastebuds...Plan on writing this post as the post that rocks my week and i plan on making Saturday....Thank you

hi! my name is mahsa! im a iranian chef! i have a website about iranian cooking thanks for this attractive food! corn by squash! its seems delicate! my addres is : www.zeitoonesiah.persianblog.ir i love you! bye!

mahsa

What an outstanding idea! It's way better than a bread bowl! I love this, even with the tricky no-spill technique. Thanks!

Thanks Heidi!! I have a couple of acorn squishes that i was wondering about, and corn. this will be perfect for dinner tonight!! I might even share with my neighbors!!

Jessica

That's a fun way to serve any soup. Looks pretty too.

OMG! I have eaten at HUBERT's and still have the menu from an amazing Halloween dinner I enjoyed there many, many years ago. I also have a copy of THE VEGETARIAN COMPASS. Thank you for bringing this to our attention - GENIUS!

JODI RAPPAPORT

I'm definitely going to go with 2 squashes. Re the corn, do you use uncooked corn from a cob or cooked/frozen corn or either? Thanks.

jvb

Corn and squash go together so nicely. I think it's because they are both sweet, yet a bit savory too. I am so glad that squash season is here now as I love squash!

This is so cool! Are these too large to eat as a side? Would you consider them as more of a main? Canadian Thanksgiving is in three weeks and I think these would be a great addition to the menu.

Funny, I was going to make corn and acorn squash as sides for dinner this week- now I'll make it this way instead.

Marci

oh--this recipe means fall is here! This sounds like an interesting mix of flavors and I can't wait to try it--

Heidi: What would it do to this recipe if I leave out the anise seed?

rachel

This sounds terrific. I'm going to try it in one of the smaller Rouge d'Etampe pumpkins I grew this year and season the egg/milk mixture with smoked paprika instead of anise seed.

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