Winter Squash Pudding
recipe adapted from Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery (1796), the first cookbook published in America written by an American
2 to 3 pound butternut squash (or pumpkin)
2 to 3 slices stale whole wheat bread (or toast fresh bread) – made into bread crumbs
6 medium (I used large) eggs
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
¼ cup dried currants (optional) (I did use them)
6 large cooking apples (I used granny smith)
1 cup milk or cream (I used less, it seemed liquidy enough without so much)
2 tablespoons rose water
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar (I used 2)
butter to grease baking dish (I used non-stick cooking spray)
Bring water to boil in a large pot on the stove.
Pare, remove strings and seeds, then cut squash (or pumpkin) into chunks about 2 inches across.
When water begins to boil, add squash.
When squash can be pierced easily with a knife or fork, lift contents of kettle with a skimmer, allowing liquid to drain back into kettle. (I used a slotted spoon and lifted the squash into a collander, shook off excess water.) Put the squash into a large bowl and reserve the cooking water in the pot for cooking the apples.
Pare, core, and cut apples into ½ inch slices and add to squash water, and boil until just tender.
Remove apple slices with skimmer and add to squash. (I used same procedure as above for getting them out of the water, though you don’t need the cooking water after this step, so you could just dump them into a collander in the sink.)
Preheat oven to 375˚F (anywhere from 350 to 400 would be fine, you can be the judge as the recipe obviously does not specify).
Mash the squash and apples. (I used an electric hand mixer, mainly because I don’t have a standard potato masher, just using the larger blades, but you could use any method you like for mashing, just don’t entirely puree the squash and apples as you want some differentiation in the final dish.)
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until creamy yellow. (This is just until the yolks and whites are combined.)
Grate ¼ nutmeg into the eggs.
Add bread crumbs, white wine, salt, flour, currants, rose water, and sugar; mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into squash. Eyeball how much milk (or cream) you want to add to the mixture and add this to the bowl (roughly ½ cup); mix thoroughly.
Grease baking dish.
Pour in batter.
Bake, checking to be sure pudding is not browning too rapidly (this will help you determine what temperature is best).
Check for doneness by inserting clean knife-blade down into center. When pudding is done, the knife will come out clean. (Pudding took roughly 1 hour to cook, though temperature and quantities will effect this time, as well as the shape of your baking dish. The top of the pudding is golden, even a little dark brown around the edges is fine.)
Cool slightly before serving.