squash hummus + salted pepita brittle

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Everyone is on the pumpkin train right now and I don’t mind it one bit. I love anything pumpkin or sweet potato, which usually involves a cocktail of warm spices like nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, but what I really love is when something is actually pumpkin or sweet potato flavored and not masked by fall spices. Back Forty makes a wonderful pumpkin hummus with no fall spices. A pool of olive oil settles on top and it’s garnished with a few toasted pumpkin seeds. I tried to make my own and I think came pretty close to their recipe. At first I was going to puree the squash with white beans but the flavor of the squash is so subtle I decided to leave them out so that the squash could have its moment. I had an acorn squash on hand but I’m sure this would work with a sweet potato or butternut squash or pumpkin.

The salted pepita brittle is a little bit of crunchy-salty-sweet on top, which I love. I’m not sure what Back Forty does to their pumpkin seeds but this quick little brittle is a nice treat on top, please don’t skip it!

squash hummus + salted pepita brittle

ingredients

  • 1 small acorn squash, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon tahini paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne plus more for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon salted pepita brittle (recipe follows)

procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Scoop out seeds of the squash and discard. Spread a thin layer of oil over the squash flesh. Place, cut sides down, on lined sheet pan. Bake in oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  2. With a spoon, scoop tender flesh of the squash out of its skin and remove to the bowl of a food processor. Add maple syrup, tahini, oli oil, salt, cumin, cayenne and nutmeg; whirl until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.*
  3. To serve, spoon puree into a bowl. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Garnish with salted pepita brittle and a dash of cayenne. Serve with warm toast, pita or flatbread, preferably something soft that won’t disturb the delicate flavor of the dip.

Salted pepita brittle: To a small skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon raw pepitas; stir constantly until golden. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and a pinch of coarse salt. Stir until sugar is melted and completely coats pepitas. Quickly remove to a cutting board or wax paper and allow to cool. Once hardened, break up the pepitas and use as garnish.

*Do adjust seasoning as needed! These measurements are for a small acorn squash that was not very sweet. Sweet potatoes are much sweeter than acorn squash, so easy on the maple; they are also much more dense and may require more seasoning than this. Start with these measurements and work your way up.

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