Roasted Acorn Squash Quiche with Chestnuts, Bacon and Stilton

There are so many lovely pumpkins and squashes around at the moment and I love trying as many as possible.

Squash, bacon & Stilton Quiche

I think my favourite way of cooking squash is to roast it in the oven. Either simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, or adding spices and chilli.

These quiches contain roasted Acorn squash and I have left the skins on as they are fairly thin and roast up really nicely. Sometimes the older and bigger squashes have very thick skins and I tend to peel those.

Along with the squash, these quiches have crispy, smoked bacon, chestnuts and plenty of Stilton cheese, so lots of big flavours going on. I don’t add any salt to the eggs and cream as I think the bacon and Stilton add enough salt of their own, but this is my preference.

This recipe makes four individual quiches. I used 12.5cm, deep fill tartlet tins with removable bases, but you can easily make one large one.

Squash, bacon & Stilton Quiche2

Crust:
400g all-purpose flour
1 pinch of salt
230g very cold butter cut into cubes and chilled again
95ml iced water

Ingredients:
2 Acorn squashes, topped, tailed, halved and seeds removed
5 extra-large eggs
¾ pint double/heavy cream
300g Blue Stilton cheese broken in to large crumbles
320g Good quality smoked streaky bacon
180g pack of prepared sweet chestnuts, roughly broken up
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs olive oil

Method:
Add the flour, salt and butter to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas, or rough breadcrumbs. Add the iced water a little a time while pulsing the food processor, just until the dough just comes together. You might not need all of the water.

Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic. Leave to chill for 30 minutes.

On a floured board, roll out the pastry and then, taking care not to stretch the dough, line the tins with the pastry, re-rolling until all the tins are done. Place the pastry cases in the fridge and chill for another 30 minutes.

Squash, bacon & Stilton Quiche3

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F

Line the pastry cases with parchment paper or foil, fill with baking beans and place in the oven to blind bake for 15-20 minutes. Take the pastry shells out of the oven, remove the paper and beans and then return to the oven for further 5 minutes or until the pastry feels dry. Leave to cool before adding the filling.

Squash, bacon & Stilton Quiche1

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/430°F

Cut the halved squashes into slices, just over 1cm thick and rub them all over in 1tbs olive oil with 1tsp of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Roast them in the oven until the squash is tender and catching on the edges. This will take around 20-25 minutes, depending on how thick the slices are.

While the squash is roasting, fry the bacon until the fat renders out and it is crisp, set aside on kitchen paper to cool before chopping into small, bite-sized pieces.

Lower the oven to 180°C/360°F

Place the blind baked pastry shells on a baking tray to make transporting to the oven easier.

Place a couple of slices of squash in the bases of each quiche, then layer over the bacon, chestnuts and chunks of Stilton cheese. Divide the filling between the 4 cases and top each one with another couple of slices of the squash.

Whisk the eggs, cream together with more freshly ground black pepper and pour over the quiches until each one is full.

Taking care not to spill, place the tray with the quiches in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until just set in the middle. The quiche will be nicely puffed and golden brown and will smell very good indeed.

Squash, bacon & Stilton Quiche slice

This quiche is really good hot or cold and half of one of these makes for a really nice lunch with a little salad.

Squash, bacon & Stilton Quiche plate1

The big autumnal flavours of the quiche make it perfect for an autumn party, picnic, Thanksgiving or Christmas and just the thing for a lunchbox.

Autumn Spiced Pumpkin Friands

These seasonal little tea cakes are made with pumpkin, spice and topped with a crunchy oatmeal streusel and a little maple glaze. They are full of autumn spices and the perfect addition to an autumn picnic, afternoon tea, or an after school snack. I also like to pop them into lunchboxes.

Pumpkin friands

Friands are so easy to make and there are so many variations to try and I think I will add a few raisins to these next time.

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites
250g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
100g plain flour
Zest of half an orange
1tbs pumpkin pie spice
160g melted butter, plus a little extra for brushing the friand tin
½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree

Streusel:
1tbsp butter
2tbsp plain flour
tbsp rolled oats
1tbsp soft brown sugar
½tsp cinnamon

Maple Glaze:
½ cup sieved icing sugar
2-3tbs maple syrup – enough to thin

Pumpkin Friand1

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/approx 350°F and brush the friand tin with a little melted butter.

I make my friands in a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, but they can be made just as easily by hand or using a hand mixer.

Briefly whisk the egg whites, breaking them up until they are frothy.

Add the ground almonds, pumpkin puree, zest, butter, icing sugar and then fold in the flour until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, leaving a little room for the streusel.

Pumpkin Friand

Scatter a little of the streusel over each one and bake for 25-30 minutes, until they have risen, turned golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Pumpkin Friand slice

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before adding a little glaze.

Plum and Pecan Friands with a Maple Glaze

This is my first friand recipe using autumnal flavours. The plums that are in season at the moment are delicious – sweet and winey. They are great just eaten on their own and the children love eating them, but they are lovely to cook with too.

plum pecan friands

These friands are made with ground pecans rather than the usual ground almonds. My eldest son says he doesn’t like pecans (what is wrong with him?) but he liked these very much. He did remove the pecan on the top though!

The flavour of the pecans is lovely and goes so well with the cinnamon and orange zest and the seasonal fresh plums are delicious. The maple glaze is optional really, but really works well with all the flavours.

Plum Pecan friand 3

The first batch of these turned out a little wet, so after I have chopped the plums, I place them on some kitchen paper to absorb a little of the moisture. You only have to do that if the plums are extra juicy though.

Plum Pecan friand closeup

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites/250ml Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites
250g icing sugar
130g pecans + 12 extra to top each cake
100g plain/all-purpose flour – sieved with 2tsp cinnamon
Zest of an un-waxed orange
160g melted butter + extra for greasing the tin
5 small ripe plums – chopped into small pieces and placed on some kitchen paper

Maple Glaze:
½ cup sieved icing sugar
2-3tbs maple syrup – enough to thin

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush the pan with the extra melted butter

Tip the pecans into the food processor, a coffee grinder, or I used the milling attachment on my Nutribullet and pulse the pecans until they are completely ground into crumbs. Make sure you keep agitating the nuts to keep them on the move, otherwise, as they are quite moist, you can end up with pecan butter.

Tip the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until broken down and frothy. Add the butter and zest and whip until fluffy.

On low speed, add the ground pecans, icing sugar, flour and cinnamon until just combined. Stir in the plums by hand.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. I use an ice cream scoop to do this as I make less mess.

Plum Pecan friands closeup2

Place a pecan nut on the top of each cake and bake for 30-35 minutes or until they have risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to rest for at least 15 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire cooling rack. I actually left these until they were almost cool because they are quite delicate.

Leave to cool completely before making the glaze.

Plum Pecan friand closeup1

For the glaze, simply stir maple syrup into the icing sugar until you have a runny consistency and drizzle back and forth over the cooled cakes.

These are delicious served with coffee, but would be perfect for an autumn picnic too.