Candy, candy canes, candy corns, and SYRUP

October 9, 2009

My husband is from Vermont. That means that in addition to a freakish tolerance for cold, he must maintain a certain BML (blood maple level) in order to survive. This is one of the squash recipes he brought to our relationship, a favorite from when he was a kid.

Here are a few random facts about syrup that I've learned from our years together:

  • Syrup never goes bad. If it gets mold on it, just skim it off and reboil the rest of the syrup.
  • It should be stored in the fridge.
  • Syrup, like wine, has terroir.
  • It comes in different grades: Fancy A, A, and B. We always buy grade B; it's darker and has a richer flavor.
  • That Aunt Jemima stuff is not maple syrup. The House of Mango Hands will point a finger of shame at you if you use colored corn syrup in this recipe.

Acorn squash with maple butter
Serves 2

1 small acorn squash
3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 tablespoons maple syrup
pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Season the squash with salt and pepper. Brush the inside of the squash halves with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Place the squash cut-side down on a small baking sheet with sides. Pour about 1 cup of water onto the baking sheet, which will keep the squash moist as it bakes. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, syrup and spices in a small saucepan and whisk over very low heat until combined. Take the squash halves out of the oven, and carefully turn them cut-side up. Brush about half of the maple mixture onto the squash. Cook for another 10 minutes. Brush with remaining syrup, and cook for 5-10 more minutes. The squash should be nice and caramelized, with a delightful puddle of maple butter in the middle.

It is pictured above with maple mustard pork tenderloin and garlic spinach.