It’s Autumn in New York and bright colors of pumpkins and squashes dominate the farm stands on North Fork of Long Island. Spaghetti squash, cheese pumpkin, butternut, delicata and acorn squash along with all shapes and colors of gourds welcome in the new season. Pumpkin or any squash stand-in make great staples for Meatless Monday and this Meatless Monday happens to fall on Rosh Hashanah — L’Shanah Tovah!. Pumpkin empanadas or bourekes make a great main dish for this holiday if made larger, along side a salad or soup. And if made smaller, they make great finger food for a vegetarian smorgasbord for the holiday along with leek and potato latkes, vegetable coconut curry and some local honey wine.
Package of puff pastry or empanada dough
2 cups of baked Pumpkin or dense squash of choice
1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon of curry
1 tablespoon of local honey
A dash of cinnamon to taste
Picking the right squash: Squash should be firm and heavy. You’ll know you have a fresh pumpkin or 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. Then add your salt, and other condiments, puree until smooth in your food processor.
To make the empanadas, use your favorite empanada dough recipe or buy a high quality frozen brand of puff pastry. 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.