Butternut Custard with Roasted Persimmons

Looking for a healthier Halloween-themed dessert? You can make the custard ahead of time, but wait until just before serving to roast the persimmons so they are still warm.  This recipe has very little added sugar and lots of beta carotene, but plenty of fat.

Heat the oven to 400.  Cut a butternut squash in half lengthwise and place face down on a lightly buttered or oiled baking sheet.

Bake the squash until the cut edges are browned and bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Remove the seeds and pulp and discard.  Scoop the flesh out of the skin.

Mash 1/2 C. of the squash, or puree with a food processor.  Reserve the rest of the squash for another use.

Add the pureed squash to a saucepan with 1 C. heavy cream, 3/4 C. whole milk, and 1/4 C. maple syrup.  Stir with a whisk and taste; add more maple syrup if needed.  Heat to a simmer.

In a medium bowl, combine 6 egg yolks, beaten, with 1/4 t. ginger powder (or 1 t. minced fresh ginger), 1/8 t. nutmeg, and 1/4 t. salt.

Pour the squash mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly.  Butter or oil 6 individual ramekins, then pour the custard into them

Boil a teakettle full of water.  Preheat the oven to 325. Arrange the ramekins inside a baking pan with sides that are at least as tall as the ramekins.  Pull out out the middle rack in the oven so you can set the baking pan on it, then fill the pan up with water carefully so it does not  get into the ramekins.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until they are set and a knife inserted in the custard comes out clean.

For the persimmons:  Cut off the “hat” at the stem end of 2 Fuyu Persimmons, then cut the fruit into 1 inch cubes and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Melt 1 T. butter and pour it over the fruit, then toss to combine.  Roast at 350 until they are soft, about 20 minutes.  Then turn the oven to broil and brown them for a few minutes,  until the outsides are crisp — taking care not to let them burn.

Serve the custards with a spoonful of persimmons on top of each one.


The Pest You Can Barely See

How’s this for a clickbait grabber:  “This tiny insect you’ve never heard of and can barely see is the most destructive pest in the world!” And it’s true.  Thrips are tiny insects, barely visible to the naked eye, that feed on … Continue reading

First the Good News

It can be hard to stay positive in our world today, and it’s hard to escape the bad news even if you try.  When you’re writing a weekly newsletter like this one, the “experts” will tell you to make sure … Continue reading

Turning on the Pumps

For farms in California, water is the lifeblood flowing through them and keeping them alive.  At Terra Firma, the “heart” of our farm is the big natural gas engine that pumps water to our fields from the Putah South Canal … Continue reading