With a smooth, light texture that straddles the line between flan and soufflé, this dairy-free, maple-sweetened butternut squash kugel manages to look elegant while feeling like total comfort food.
If you prefer a kugel that slices into clean squares, use coconut oil, which is semi-solid at room temperature, and imparts a subtle flavor dimension that you won't get from neutral liquid oils. Using grapeseed or olive oil also produces a delicious kugel, albeit a softer one that you may need to spoon out to serve.
- 1 medium butternut squash, about 3 pounds
- 2 tablespoons coconut, olive, or grapeseed oil, plus extra for the squash
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup chopped raw pecans (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish, or similarly-sized casserole dish and set aside.
- With a large chef's knife, carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and rub the cut sides with a little oil. Place the squash halves cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Scoop the butternut squash flesh from the skin. Transfer 4 cups of roasted squash to a large bowl. (Don't worry if your squash yields slightly more or less. If you have a little extra squash, feel free to include it in the recipe, but if you find you've got a lot, save it for another use.)
- Add the oil and maple syrup to the squash and whisk together until well combined. Slowly add the beaten eggs, whisking constantly until well-incorporated. (If the squash is still fairly warm, the slow addition of the eggs while mixing is important, otherwise you may end up with bits of cooked egg in the batter!). Stir in the vanilla extract and salt (if using).
- Sprinkle the squash mixture with the flour, and stir well to combine, making sure no lumps or streaks of flour remain. If you prefer a very smooth kugel, puree the mixture with a regular or immersion blender.
- Pour the squash batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with the pecans, if using. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the kugel is firm, the top appears dry and golden, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!