Cooking Louisiana - Shirley's Squash Custard

This is an award winning recipe!

Submitted by G. Smith (from Mom) - Houma,  LA

This recipe is a little time consuming but if you prepare the squash the day before it's not nearly as much effort. In fact, the squash can be boiled, peeled, deseeded and then frozen in two cup size portions to use at any time making for a much quicker desert. I got the recipe from my Mom, experimented a lot with it and what I've got is the best and most descriptive recipe I could come up with. I've included some helpful hints that I'm sure to someone who really knows how to cook would laugh at, but they seem to work well. I'm quite certain that she got the recipe from her mother who probably got it from her mother, so on and so on, and, it's definitely Cajun! I'll include for each ingredient what brand I use only because it seems to come out right and, in my opinion, has a good taste.

Ingredients

2 cups boiled, peeled and deseeded squash. The white squash definitely in my opinion yields the most squash or "meat" than the yellow. Too many seeds in the yellow squash but taste equally as well if not better. I've even tried Butternut squash with decent results. You'll need two - three medium size white squash or perhaps six - eight large yellow squash to yield two cups of prepared squash.

4 Cups milk (Whole or skim for the diet conscious). I find the skim milk works just as well with little to no taste difference.

1-1/2 - 2 Cups sugar - I have a sweet tooth and find two cups of sugar the best but it just depends on your sweet tolerance. I have never experimented with any of the artificial sweeteners for this dish but I'm sure a measurement of someone's preference could be substituted.

1 Cup all purpose flour - I use Gold Medal flour only because my mom did. LOL. But I'm sure most any brand will do.

1 Stick of margarine - I use Imperial margarine again because my Mom did. I've tried other margarines but I have to say the Imperial has a very good buttery flavor that you can distinctly taste in the custard.

2  Teaspoons of baking powder
2  Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract - I use pure vanilla extract and not any of the imitations.

6-7 Eggs - Medium to large, brown or white - Whatever your preference is. Of course fresh eggs are the best but I was raised on concrete and so I don't have any chickens.

Steps

Boil the squash for approximately twenty minutes for medium size squash (6" diameter) or until slightly tender. If you over boil the squash it will make deseeding more difficult. Allow to drain and cool off. Peel, cut in half and remove all seeds. Mash thoroughly with fork or similar utensil.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Separate egg yolks from the whites. (The egg white will be used for the meringue later). Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.

Add the sugar, flour, baking powder and two cups of milk and mix thoroughly. Stir in the margarine (melted), and the vanilla extract. Add the two cups of prepared squash and then the remaining two cups of milk. This should result in a very soupy mixture.

Place in a 11" x 13" greased pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minutes or until slightly brown on top. The edges may be dark brown.

After baking, immediately add the meringue on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes at the same temperature.

Helpful Hints

I've tried stainless steel pans and varieties of glass pans but an aluminum pan definitely works the best. The pan conducts heat very well and the dark brown edges of the custard gives it a caramelized taste.

Grease the bottom of the pan with the Imperial margarine. Do not grease the upper side edges of the pan. The meringue will need to stick to the pan but will not if greased.

The baking powder seems to clump together when adding directly to the mixing bowl. To avoid this, mix the baking powder with the flour and sugar in a Tupperware or similar container with a lid on top and shake thoroughly.

MERINGUE- 

A. Be sure that none of the egg yolks broke and fell in with the egg whites. If any does, spoon out immediately or start over. The meringue will not whip up properly if any egg yolk is mixed in with it.

B. After whipping for one to two minutes add enough sugar to desired taste. One quarter cup will probably be sufficient. Continue to whip until the meringue is very smooth and will form peaks. Add the meringue to the custard starting in the middle of the pan and working it out towards the edges. Be sure that the meringue touches the side of the pan. (No grease or margarine should have been put on the sides of the pan). This is important because the meringue when cooling off, will have a tendency to shrink and pull away from the edges of the pan. 

C. As the meringue cools, sugar droplets will form on top of the custard which is normal.

 This is a very forgiving recipe. A little to much of one thing or not enough of another doesn't seem to make much of a difference. If the meringue pulls away from the pan when cooling, so what!!!  It may not look as pretty but will certainly taste as good. If you like the caramelized taste, baking the custard for longer periods will give you this flavor. The custard can be eaten immediately after removing from the oven which is my favorite or cold right out of the refrigerator.

Enjoy....mmmmm

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