This recipe was inspired by two things: a soup I recently made with butternut squash and sweet potato with these spices, and the winter squash flan recipe in one of my favorite vegetable cookbooks, Greene on Greens, by Burt Greene (another vegetable-loving Southerner like me). I had it mind to garnish the flan with caramelized onions and a few pine nuts, or the surprise of savory whipped cream, but when it cooked, the spices rose to the top and created a circular design that was so pretty I decided to leave it alone. And it was so delicious that I ate one for breakfast. —drbabs
4 (can be multiplied)
butternut squash, roasted till soft, peeled and seeded
half and half (or milk or heavy cream; I took the middle road)
Place 4 6-oz. ramekins in a large roasting pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 325. Scoop flesh from squash, discarding skin, and puree in a food processor until it is very smooth (the consistency of baby food for infants), about a minute. Scrape sides as needed. Use 1 (liquid) cup of the puree for the recipe and reserve the rest for another time.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, maple syrup, spices, salt and cayenne. Stir squash into egg mixture, and whisk together till thoroughly combined. Scrape mixture into a pitcher. Put a teakettle or pot of water on high heat to boil water for the water bath.
Strain mixture through coarse strainer into each of the 4 ramekins, filling each about 3/4 full. Place the in roasting pan into oven, and carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan to halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until custard is set. Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.