‘Let me introduce you to that leg of mutton,’ said the Red Queen. ‘Alice—Mutton: Mutton—Alice.’ The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be frightened or amused.
‘May I give you a slice?’ she said, taking up the knife and fork, and looking from one Queen to the other.
‘Certainly not,’ the Red Queen said, very decidedly: ‘it isn’t etiquette to cut anyone you’ve been introduced to. Remove the joint!’ And the waiters carried it off, and brought a large plum-pudding in its place.
‘I won’t be introduced to the pudding, please,’ Alice said, rather hastily, ‘or we shall get no dinner at all. May I give you some?’
But the Red Queen looked sulky, and growled ‘Pudding—Alice: Alice—Pudding. Remove the pudding!’ and the waiters took it away so quickly that Alice couldn’t return its bow.
However, she didn’t see why the Red Queen should be the only one to give orders; so, as an experiment, she called out ‘Waiter! Bring back the pudding!’ and there it was again in a moment, like a conjuring trick. It was so large that she couldn’t help feeling a little shy with it, as she had been with the mutton; however, she conquered her shyness by a great effort, and cut a slice and handed it to the Red Queen.
‘What impertinence!’ said the Pudding. ‘I wonder how you’d like it, if I were to cut a slice out of you, you creature!’ It spoke in a thick, suety sort of voice, and Alice hadn’t a word to say in reply: she could only sit and look at it and gasp…
This amusing extract from the popular book, written by Lewis Carol was evoked in my mind when I came across kabocha squash puddings at the local grocery store. These puddings were represented in a variety of flavors, except for the citrus one…Not a popular flavor in the continental America for some reasons, but I hope that it will change with time…
My taste buds crave citrus flavor, so nothing could stop me from creating an orange kabocha squash pudding! It’s been years since I’ve discovered that nearly all types of pumpkins and sweet potatoes benefit greatly from citrus flavor as in this recipe of mine. Therefore, I proceeded with making orange kabocha squash pudding by implementing my mom’s technique originated from fruit conservation, which was very popular during the Soviet times. In the past we used to conserve all fruits and vegetables, available during summer to enjoy them later on in winter, as we had a limited access to fresh produce at the time, which luckily included citrus fruits! And, already equipped with the conservation know-how we conserved oranges as well, to enjoy them throughout the year…
- 1 small kabocha squash*
- ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch+3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, for greasing
- For gelatin egg:
- 1 tablespoon gelatin powder
- 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Prepare the “bain marie” by half-filling a baking dish with water and placing it on the lower rack.
- Proceed by cutting the kabocha squash in half with a big knife. Scoop out the seeds, arrange the cut-side down on the baking sheet lined with a greased parchment paper and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Roast the squash for 40 minutes or until tender. Once the squash is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool until safe to handle. Scoop out 2 cups of its flesh and set aside. **
- In a medium size saucepan combine the maple syrup, orange juice and orange zest, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Sir in the coconut milk and kabocha squash puree and simmer while stirring from time to time. Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed.
- In a small bowl whisk together one tablespoon of the arrowroot starch with 3 tablespoons of orange juice. When the coconut-kabocha preparation is about to boil, stir in the arrowroot-orange mixture, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the future pudding to the blender.
- Prepare the gelatin egg by mixing one tablespoon of gelatin powder with 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water, add 2 tablespoons of hot water and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Add the gelatin egg to the blender and blend everything until very smooth.
- Pour the pudding into individual serving bowls or ramekins and let it cool to a room temperature before transferring to the fridge. Once in the fridge let the pudding sit for at least one hour to allow it to set in.***
- Serve and enjoy!
**You can puree the kabocha squash in a food processor before adding to the recipe or use a ready-made puree (pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato puree all work great).
***It is a good idea to cover the pudding with a plastic wrap in order to prevent it from drying up.
Variations: Use meyer lemon or ordinary lemon instead of the orange. Besides, you can easily convert this orange kabocha squash pudding into panna cotta by reducing the amount of gelatin by half.