Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maple Butternut Squash Kugel: Recipe Redux

Maple Butternut Squash Kugel

This month's theme for The Recipe Redux is "Stick with Maple Honey Sweetness" and it's all about using maple or honey to naturally sweeten your foods.  One of the first things I look for on the nutrition facts label is Total Sugars.  The second thing I check is the ingredients for the source of sugars.  Companies try to make their products sounds healthier by putting things like rice syrup, maltodextrin, and barley malt in the ingredients.  These are just different names for sugar and too much of it will make your waist size grow.  Click here for more names of sugar.  For more info on artificial sweeteners, visit here.  

Honey and maple syrup, as long as they're the good quality stuff, are natural sweeteners.  Pancake syrup is mostly high fructose corn syrup and is the farthest thing from a natural sweetener.  Here's a comparison of calories per Tablespoon:
Calories (Per Tbsp)
Table Sugar
Maple Syrup

Since honey and maple are naturally sweeter than table sugar, you need to use less of them in a recipe.  While sugar only contains calories, honey and maple also have a small amount of nutrients.  I more often use honey as a sugar substitute so I decided to try maple for a change.  I also felt that the maple flavors would better compliment the squash dish than honey.  

Kugel is a Jewish dish comparable to a casserole or soufflé.  Wikipedia says it's an Ashkenazi Jewish pudding.  Sometimes it's funny to see how a dish I grew up with is formally defined.  Kugel is a great dish to "redux" because it's usually bad for you.  Basically, you start with a vegetable (or potatoes or pasta) and add eggs, flour, sugar or salt, and oil.  I'm not a big kugel maker because I'd rather just roast veggies and have a healthy dish but once in a while I'll indulge.  My usual butternut squash kugel recipe contains white sugar and white flour so I swapped those out for maple and whole wheat.  Since maple is sweeter, I cut back the amount, added a little baking soda to balance out the acidity, and decreased the baking time since it browns quicker than white sugar.  

The result:  it tasted exactly the same but with a little more depth.  The whole wheat was unidentifiable so no one was scared off.  This was definitely a successful redux.  Try it out for your next Shabbat dinner or party.

Immersion Blender in Action
Maple Butternut Squash Kugel
 Yields: 9 x 13 in. casserole

20 oz cooked squash
2 large eggs
½ c soy milk
1/3 c maple syrup
½ c whole wheat flour
¼ t baking soda
2 T margarine, softened
½ t pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg and cinnamon)
Cinnamon, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients using a hand or immersion blender.  Pour batter into dish and sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes. 

Check out the list below for more great honey/maple recipes!

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