Saturday, November 17, 2012

Acorn Squash Loaf with Streusel Topping

I’m not proud of this loaf. For days it was left untouched on the counter, still nestled in the loaf pan, bundled in parchment paper. It was a beautiful thing the moment I took it out from the oven, a golden sparkly masterpiece, but as it cooled, its spine caved in like an ugly, oblong crater. Even its taste, to me, was lackluster. It lacked that oomph, that spark, that oooh lala! that makes it irresistible to share. 

The recipe was intriguing, it required you to shred raw squash into the batter, something I haven’t heard of and was eager to try. But unless you’re gung-ho about tediously peeling the damn ridges of a squash, don’t bother. Raw squash just isn't the same as it is roasted. Instead, this loaf would have win more popular votes if it included roasted squash to reap its maximum flavor, I'd also double the amount of spices for an extra wallop of flavor. 

The best part of this squash loaf is the streusel topping. It’s not only pretty to look at, but the delicate crumbs add a sweet, grainy texture, giving the loaf just a whisper of sweetness. I wrapped up two thick slices in tin foil for a dear friend who ate them as if he had been on a deserted island for days, exchanging only a few words in between hungry bites, which I take as a good sign. It actually isn't too bad, in fact, I think they would taste even better smeared with peanut butter or if you got it, Speculoos.

Acorn Squash Loaf with Streusel Topping
Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon

I kept the basic ratios of the recipe and tinkered with the ingredients. I switched out the all-purpose flour with spelt flour for a nuttier, grainier mouth feel, used butter instead of coconut oil, and amped up the spices to give it a more pronounced flavour.

2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
1 ¼ cup peeled and finely grated acorn squash (from a quarter of a acorn squash)
1 small overripe banana, mashed
3 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Streusel topping:
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup spelt flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line loaf pan with parchment paper, letting paper sides overhang. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugars and butter. Stir in the squash, banana, milk, and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. 

To prepare the streusel, combine the butter, sugar and flour in a small mixing bowl and using a pastry cutter or the back of a fork, cut until mixture resembles pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle streusel over the loaf.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Recipe here!

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