I had no idea what to do with an acorn squash my neighbor gave me, in fact I've never heard of it before. It was wikipedia to the rescue, and once I learned it is safe to consume I was trying to hunt down some recipes, what I found was mostly savory but my taste buds were telling me otherwise; then I found out I could make a puree and it made me realize I could try using it in place of pumpkin puree. Though I like pumpkin cake, cupcakes or pumpkin cookies, I just can't get myself to eat pumpkin pie(my deepest apologies to all the pumpkin pie lovers).
Acorn puree on the other hand has a flavor I kind of like in the full dose, not so robust and quite welcoming.I especially like addition of honey and cinnamon, and this puree would make for a lovely mousse as well.
Rachel a friend of mine from Mangez Brioche gave me a beautiful book Grand Finales: The Art of the Plated Dessert
It is full of artfully presented desserts, some I feel are beyond my baking years. I came across pumpkin sponge cake recipe and it gave me an idea for Acorn Sponge Cake.I mean, how bad can it be, right? Squash like squash. It is a pure joy to experiment with unknown, especially when it turns out to be delicious and Acorn Sponge Cake came out quite tasty, I really enjoyed it plain but decided to add some fall flavors, my favorite for this particular cake was caramel. I kept wanting more.
You can experiment with what you'd like to add, you can certainly keep it simple and use one or 2 fillings.
I hope you enjoy it.
One large acorn squash
Preheat oven to 395F
Cut the acorn in half, remove seeds from the inside. In a small dish combine butter honey and cinnamon.
Spread the mixture all over the cut part of the acorn.
Bake acorn halves cut side up, in a water batch, about 1 inch water in the dish, for about 40-45 minutes, uncovered, until fork soft.
Remove from oven, and let cool slightly.Scoop out all the cooked inside. Place the cooked acorn pieces in the food processor and blend until smooth. Reserve for later use in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. This puree can be used just like you'd use pumpkin, it has a more subtle flavor compare to pumpkin puree.
Acorn Sponge Cake
Beat the chilled heavy whipping cream until soft peaks are formed, then slowly add dissolved gelatin at room temperature and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Don't over whip as you'll get grainy texture.
Dissolve espresso in 2tbl heavy cream, set aside.
Chill the bowl and beaters in the fridge for 15 minutes. In the meantime let the gelatin bloom in 1/4 water for 5 minutes. Using a microwave on 50% power dissolve gelatin, using 3 seconds intervals until it is completely dissolved. Let the gelatin mixture cool to room temperature.
Beat the chilled heavy whipping cream until soft peaks are formed,add dissolved espresso, sugar and then slowly add dissolved gelatin at room temperature and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Don't over whip as you'll get grainy texture.