Recipe of the Week: Squash Flan with Sauteed Mushrooms

It has started to cool down in Toronto and the leaves are finally changing colour. My thoughts have turned to hearty soups and baking. Autumn is such a great time to cook because the bounty of the harvest is upon us and eating root vegetables and squashes seems like such a treat. By March I'll be hankering for something lighter, but that's another matter.

This squash flan seemed like the perfect autumn dinner. It was easy, it was tasty and it was orange. The flan doesn't require a lot of active time to make, but it does require a fair amount of cooking time. It's not a quick after work affair, more like a quiet Sunday affair. If you can't find a Hubbard squash you could try other squashes, such as acorn or butternut. Don't use a softer, wetter squash like spaghetti squash. The one I used was completely dry after roasting so the steps for draining and recooking in the skillet weren't necessary. The biggest challenge to cooking a squash is actually cutting your way through it, so do work with care. Because the skin on my squash was so hard I roasted it in hunks with the skin on and then removed the flesh after it was cooked. It takes a bit longer in the oven, but is much simpler than trying to hack your way through the tough exterior.

This recipe uses a lot of egg yolks, so if anyone is interested I can give you a recipe for a cake and icing that would use up the extra whites, or you could make yourself an egg white omelette this weekend.


5 cups Hubbard squash, diced
4 ounces butter
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces olive oil
4 whole eggs
5 egg yolks
4 ounces grated parmigiano reggiano
1 package phyllo pastry
1 clove garlic
3 cups shiitake mushrooms julienne
2 ounces white wine
1 ounce aged balsamic vinegar

1. Season squash with salt and pepper and place in baking dish. Sprinkle some of the oil, butter and honey over squash. Bake at 450 F until tender, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn. Remove and place in a strainer to drain excess water. Let rest for at least an hour.
2. Preheat skillet and add onions. Sauté until translucent and almost golden. Add squash and cook for 10 minutes to reheat and to dry the mix.
3. Place squash mixture in food processor or blender and add eggs, egg yolks and cheese, and adjust seasoning. Blend until smooth and set aside.
4. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with oil and line it on the bottom and sides with 6 to 8 sheets phyllo pastry. Brush some melted butter between each sheet.
5. Preheat oven to 375 F. Pour squash mixture into the mould and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Remove and release the sides of the springform pan. Allow to cool.
6 .Preheat skillet, add some oil, the garlic and the mushrooms. Sauté for a minute and sprinkle the wine; allow it to cook off completely, season to taste and set aside.
7.Slice a wedge of squash cake and place in the middle of a plate, spoon mushrooms over the slice and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar. The flan should be slightly warm when served.

Serves 8.

This recipe is from Massimo Capra in the Globe and Mail, October 17, 2007