Butternut Squash Mousse & Pepita Brittle
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
*Your Chef will lead you through all the techniques, so prepping ahead of class is optional
Ingredients for Mousse:
- 2 medium butternut squash (3 pounds), cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, plus zest from half the orange
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3 large egg whites
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
Ingredients for Brittle:
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 ¾ cups hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the squash, cut side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 1 hour or until the squash is very soft and cooked all the way through. After it’s cooled, scoop the flesh out of the squash. (This step can be done up to two days ahead of time.)
- In a food processor, combine 3 cups of squash with the maple syrup, orange juice and orange zest; puree it until it’s very smooth. Stir the spices together in a separate small bowl then add to the squash puree and pulse the food processor a few times to evenly combine.
- Sprinkle the gelatin on the cold water in a microwave safe bowl and allow it to bloom for a few minutes. Once bloomed, put the gelatin mixture into the microwave, on high, for about 10 seconds to ensure the gelatin is fully melted. Add the gelatin to the squash puree and pulse again to combine. Transfer the puree to a very large mixing bowl.
- In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed just until they hold soft peaks. At that point, with the mixer on low, add the sugar one spoonful at a time until all of the sugar is in and you have a very firm and glossy meringue. Carefully fold the egg whites into the squash, ensuring you keep as much volume in the egg whites as possible.
- Using the same bowl you beat the egg whites in, beat the heavy cream at medium speed until firm. Fold the whipped cream into the mousse, again being as delicate as possible. Evenly divide your mousse among eight serving pieces (parfait glasses, small bowls, etc.) and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
- To make the brittle: In a small bowl, toss the pepitas with the oil until they are evenly coated. Transfer to a large skillet or cast iron pan and toast them over medium high heat, making sure you stir and move them around to ensure even toasting. Cook until they start to pop and smell roasted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour the seeds back into the bowl and toss with the salt.
- Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Have a silicone spatula and a small amount of oil ready as well for smoothing out the brittle.
- In a large saucepan combine the sugar and the water, stirring gently so as not to get any grains of sugar on the sides of the saucepan. Cook over high heat, not stirring anymore once the sugar begins to melt, until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sugar is a light amber color (338°F on a digital instant-read thermometer).
- Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pepitas. Working quickly, stir the mixture until the seeds are fully distributed in the sugar then pour the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet. Still working quickly, use the silicone spatula coated with a bit of oil to spread the brittle into one smooth, even layer. After cooling for about 30 minutes, break the brittle into small pieces to serve along with the mousse.