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

Wow, good read. I just found your blog and I am already a fan. :P

Heidi, this looks sensational!! This will be part of my special Ladies Luncheon coming up...me, my sisters, and mom! Thanks!

Trish in MO

It's lovely that you honored someone by bringing one of her creations to a present-day audience. I'll like this recipe all the more just because you "saved" it from being forgotten. I think of vintage as something from the 1920s or before. Freezing and cooking conditions were so different then, so I notice the methods can be simpler. I once looked through a cookbook from the 1870s published in the Nebraska area. The first sentence of one of the recipes was "Render a pig." LOL

Noreen

You always know when Autumn is here, as squash and pumpkin recipes start appearing. This for me heralds when some of the best produce becomes available. This looks absolutely delightful.

I made this last night and was AMAZED. Usually not a fan of "bland" acorn squash, but the sweetness in this filling really brought out the flavor (I think butternut squash might be too too sweet for this filling). I used 1 cup corn (instead of 1/2 cup), 2 egg yolks (instead of 1); I baked the empy squash for 60 min (instead of 40) because I like it really tender. Served this with salmon and collard greens. The yield is correct at 4-6 servings if you have this as a side dish (we each ate a quarter of the squash and it was perfect; it's very filling). Alternatively, I would serve a half-squash as a one-dish meal.

Natalie

I made this last night for some people who were squash skeptics -- and won them over! Yahoo! The anise flavor didn't come through a lot, though that might have been because I substituted smoked gouda cheese instead of the white cheddar. It was still DELICIOUS. Thanks so much for helping me creatively use up the remaining corn in my fridge!

I am excited about both the recipe and the cookbook, which I do not have but will now have to track down. It's always sad for those of us who try to eat locally when the fruits and vegetables of summer give way to the squash and apples of autumn - not because they aren't lovely, but because it's a limited palette. This recipe gives me a theme and variation for using acorn squash a number of times, and I'm looking forward to playing with it!

Thanks for your review. I will no doubt buy The Vegetarian Compass. The recipe looks just right for the first day of Fall. Thanks for your take on vintage. For me vintage is The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown, 1970, The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, 1972 and The Age of Enlightenment Cookbook by Miriam Kasin, l980. Thanks for reminding me of my cooking heritage.

Judith Bader

So beautifully photographed! I would love to try this, but it seems so intimidating. Maybe on a day off...

made this for dinner tonight and havled the recipe. omitted scallions and anise. i used a tablespoon of basil and mint. topped with goat cheese. yum! will post photos on flickr.

Since I love both acorn squash and corn pudding this may make it onto my Thanksgiving menu! Thank goodness I have two ovens!!!

Oh this looks so good! I can't wait to try it. I love your recipes. Thank you.

so so good. i left out the anise i dont care for it. the scallions make it. used parmesan, b/c i couldnt find white cheddar here in the sticks of south ms. lol

Anonymous

I'm not a huge fan of anise flavour. Do you think a mix of 'fall spices' (ie. sage, rosemary, oregano, etc) be used instead? I like the curry idea but not sure it would go well with white cheddar. Thoughts?

Lynne

So I was thinking that I should use dry anise but the recipe says to "chop"...am I correct in assuming then that I should buy fresh anise? I've never purchased fresh before...is it in my local market?

Cynthia

Ugh... I want to make this now! But another heat wave in L.A. makes me not want to turn on the oven for two hours. Come on cold snap!!

L.A. Michael

I bet this would work with those "Jack-be-little" pumpkins too. I've done this with pot-pie fillings before: it's delicious, and everyone gets their own tiny little squash, which is fun.

Christina

I used to eat at Hubert's often and loved it - it was a significant part of my education in cooking, always a surprise without fireworks or nonsense...kind of what Union Square Cafe and Danny Meyer started later. I will happily make this squash.

Cheryl

Do you think I could substitute a spaghetti squash for the acorn squash? This recipe looks lovely. I have been search for something to do with all the corn I received from my CSA and this is the most original and appealing option I have found. Your recipes are always so beautiful and inspiring - thank you!

Kyla

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