While visiting the North Fork of Long Island during the Fall season, you pass the many vineyards and now, the acres of pumpkins. The varieties of squashes like spaghetti squash, cheese pumpkin, butternut and acorn squash and all shapes and colors of gourds welcome us to a new season. This is when you begin to think about the holidays to come and the Fall season is all about squashes. One of my favorite squashes are butternut squash for it’s silky texture and I often substitute it for pumpkin in pies, quickbreads, muffins and savory golden turnovers like empanadas aka bourekas.
Picking the right squash: Squash should be firm and without bruises. You’ll know you have a fresh butternut squash when you cut the squash in half the flesh is bright orange with plump seeds. You can scoop out the seeds, dry them off and set them aside to toast later. The seeds, once toasted and lightly salted, can be sprinkled on a butternut squash bisque or on a salad. Check back for more recipes with squashes.
The filling for the empanadas: Preheat your oven to 375 for a half hour and drizzle squash with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place flesh side down on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until the outer skin is soft to touch.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out the flesh and mash. It should have the consistency of a thick pudding since it isn’t fibrous like pumpkin. When working with a fresh, organic squash, resist the urge to add spices. Butternut squash has great flavor that you won’t want to mask with sugar or strong spices.
To make the empanadas, use your favorite puff pastry recipe or buy a high quality frozen brand. Sprinkle counter with flour and roll out the pastry. Cut into 2 to 3 inch squares and place a half teaspoon in each pocket, fold diagonally like a turnover and seal the edges.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle tops with sesame seeds and a touch of Demerara sugar and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool before serving. Place on a platter with fresh herbs and some colorful edible flowers like nasturtium. Serve as a starter or as a meal with a colorful harvest salad.Share on Facebook