- The batter was more fluid than I had anticipated, so at the last minute I decided to cook it in a square pan instead of a loaf pan, with good results!
- For some reason, it's getting rave reviews from the FRE, who generally views squash and other gourds as Halloween decorations, aghast they could serve a purpose other than colorful porch adornment:
"It's (chew, swallow) ... it's like (bite) ... it's so (move around mouth) ... like custard, like custard cake!"
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. wheat germ (raw or toasted)
1 tbsp. wheat bran
2 tbsp. soy flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground dry ginger
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves or allspice
Dash black pepper
1 cup cooked, pureed butternut squash (or canned pumpkin)
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger root (optional, but very good!)
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 Rub 1 tsp. vegetable oil on the insides of an 8 by 8 inch square cake pan.
Note: I had prepared an 8 by 4 inch loaf pan to contain my batter. After its final mix, I judged it too wet to cook in a loaf pan ... the middle would be mushy and undercooked. If I tried extending the baking time, experience told me the middle would still be mushy and undercooked, and the edges would be overcooked. At the last minute I decided to use a square cake pan. I'm glad I did. The batter cooked evenly, neither underdone nor overdone anywhere. Instead of slices of loaf, I ended up with squash squares.
Insulated cookie sheets and cake pans were a boon to baking. The small pocket of air trapped between two closely-spaced sheets of aluminum slows heat transfer, preventing edge or bottom burning and allowing batters to rise more evenly, without the characteristic hump in the middle. You can simulate an insulated pan by nesting two inexpensive pans of the same size. I've done that here with two 8 by 8 pans.
3 Combine the pureed squash, oil, honey, molasses, buttermilk, ginger root, and vinegar. Whisk or beat vigorously.
4 Whisk the egg and egg white separately from the squash batter.
Note: Egg proteins coagulate or curdle in the presence of acids. The liquid ingredients in this recipe are acidic enough to cause coagulation. This can be reduced if eggs are added just before baking.
5 Stir together the first 12 ingredients (dry ingredients).
Note: Sifting is an effective way to mix and aerate dry ingredients. However, the particulate matter in this combination will make sifting difficult, so be sure to mix these dry ingredients thoroughly, breaking up and distributing any chunks of baking powder or baking soda.
Unless your flour uses the word "pastry" or "soft", it is probably made from a hard or winter wheat that contains a little more protein. This extra protein will absorb more water and produce more gluten, resulting in a denser, less voluminous product than if you used pastry flour.
6 Measure nuts and chop if necessary.
7 Add about 2 tbsp. of the liquid batter to the whisked eggs and beat. Slowly pour the beaten eggs back into the liquid batter, whisking the batter as you pour.
8 Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir until just combined and no or very few dry lumps remain. Gently stir in chopped nuts. Pour into prepared 8 by 8 inch square pan. Bake at 350°F. for approximately 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
9 Cool thoroughly (1 to 2 hours) in the pan before cutting into squares. The squares may be eaten then or stored in the freezer.
Note: Pop a frozen one into a plastic bag in the morning and enjoy a moist, spicy squash square for lunch!