Squash Flan

squash_flanThis eggless, dairyless “custard” is light and creamy with the flavor of pumpkin pie filling. It is suitable for low fat, low sugar and vegan diets. It contains some non-traditional ingredients, that are easy to use and are available in your local health food store. Photo shows Squash Flan under a layer of Cranberry Sauce, topped with Almond Cream.

Squash Flan
Yields 2 cups or 4 custard cups

Combine in a saucepan and let stand for 1 or 2 minutes:

  • 1c water, room temperature or cold
  • 1Tbsp kuzu
  • root starch
  • 1tsp agar agar powder

Stir to evenly distribute kuzu. Liquid should appear “milky”. Heat over medium flame, stirring continually, until solution begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Place the following in the blender:

  • 1c winter squash, cooked and firmly packed
  • 1tsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1tsp vanilla glycerite (alcohol-free)
  • 1/4 to 1/2tsp cinnamon, or 1/2tsp 5 Spice Powder
  • 1/4tsp ginger powder
  • 1/16tsp cloves, ground
  • 1/8tsp salt
  • 2Tbsp maple, or agave (low-glycemic), syrup

Pour kuzu/agar solution into the blender, on top of the squash, etc. Blend until smooth and immediately pour into custard cups or a glass serving dish. Refrigerate to set quickly (10 min.), or allow to set at room temperature (20 min.)

Dust with nutmeg (optional). Serve with Almond or Maple Walnut Cream. Garnish with nuts and/ or dried cranberries. Or layer with Cranberry Sauce and nut cream, as shown in photo.

Almond Cream
Yields 2 cups

  • 1c almonds
  • 2c water
  • 2Tbsp kuzu root starch
  • 1Tbsp maple, or agave (low-glycemic), syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Soak almonds in twice as much water for 24 hours, at room temperature. Drain and rinse nuts in a colander or strainer, under running water. Blanch almonds by covering w boiling water for about 1 minute or until skins easily slip off.

Combine kuzu with 1 cup of room temperature water and let stand for 2 minutes, while you puree nuts.

Combine nuts, syrup and lemon juice in the blender with 1 cup water. Pulse (stop/start action) at first, and then blend on high, until smooth.

Stir kuzu solution; it will appear milky. Now add pureed nuts and heat, stirring continually, until it begins to thicken slightly. Pour into a glass serving bowl and place on a cooling rack for about 1 hour, then refrigerate until set (3 to 4 hours).

Use like dairy cream. Whisk before serving, if you prefer a creamier, less custard-like consistency.

Cranberry Sauce
Yields 2 cups

  • 1c dried cranberries, organic (fruit juice sweetened)
  • 1 1/2Tbsp kuzu* root starch
  • 1c pomegranate juice
  • 1/2c cranberry soak water

Soak cranberries in 1 cup water for 2 to 4 hours. Drain cranberries, retaining the soak water. Add kuzu to pomegranate/cranberry liquid and let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Stir to distribute kuzu evenly, then heat solution in a glass saucepan, stirring continually, until it begins to thicken. Add cranberries and pour into a serving dish. Cool on a rack for 1/2 to 1 hour, then refrigerate to set completely.

Serve with Squash Flan and nut cream, or as a topping for Sweet Potato Pancakes, or garnish for other holiday foods, including meats.

FYI– Kuzu root starch can be replaced by arrowroot, but I prefer kuzu because of its superior gelling ability, texture and antioxidant value. It neutralizes acids and is soothing to the digestive tract. It creates a custard texture while arrowroot will only thicken, as for a sauce.

Maple Walnut Cream
Yields 2 cups

  • 1c walnuts
  • 2c water
  • 2 Tbsp kuzu root starch
  • 2Tbsp maple syrup*
  • 1tsp lemon juice

Presoak walnuts in twice as much water for 6 to 8 hours, at room temperature. Drain and rinse nuts in a colander or strainer, under running water.

Combine kuzu with 1 cup of room temperature water and let stand for 2 minutes.

Combine nuts, maple syrup and lemon juice in the blender with 1cup water. Pulse (stop/start action) at first, and then blend on high, until smooth.
Stir kuzu solution; it will appear milky. Now add pureed nuts and heat, stirring continually, until it begins to thicken slightly. Pour into a glass serving bowl and place on a cooling rack for about 1 hour, then refrigerate until set (3 to 4 hours).

Use like dairy cream. Whisk before serving, if you prefer a creamier, less custard-like consistency.

*For a whiter cream with lower sugar content, replace half or all of the maple syrup with agave cactus syrup.

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