Sunday, November 6, 2011

Butternut squash bread contains neither butter nor nuts (discuss)

When I saw this recipe for squash tea bread from Eating Well, I immediately did a double-take.  Having lived in the UK for nearly two years, hearing the word 'squash' immediately conjured up a different association with 'tea.'

Namely, a fruity, rather overly-sweet drink.  A bit like Hi-C or Capri Sun for those of you who have never lived across the pond. Squash for tea?  That would be like drinking Hawaiian Punch from fine china!

To add to the confusion, tea  in the UK can be a drink, a light meal of cakes, sandwiches, and tea (think 'high tea') or a synonym for dinner itself, at least in the Midlands and the North of England where I lived for most of my time there, before moving to London.

So was this bread made with orange soda and hot tea?  Was this an orange soda bread for high tea? Or was it a bread designed to be eaten with the meal known as 'tea?'  Tea the meal, or tea as in 'tea and cucumber sandwiches with biscuits?'

A quick glance of the recipe discerned that it was a butternut squash quick bread recipe designed to be eaten at tea-time.  

Although there is still linguistic confusion--butternut squash contains neither butter nor nuts...just imagine how lovely it would be if you could pick off a fruit or vegetable from a vine, slice it open and find oozing, melted butter or peanut butter within...

And don't even get me started on how for many years while reading National Velvet, I was unimpressed by the heroine's fondness for Mars Bars (I never liked them), only to discover that in England, Mars Bars are a totally different and more delicious concoction--more like a Milky Way.

The distinctions between the names of UK and American candy are very perplexing.  For example, Smarties are nondescript, horrible discs of sweet nothingness in the US--the 'coal' of the trick-or-treat bag.

But in the UK, they are discs of lovely, chocolatey goodness far superior to M&Ms.

I have no more words, as words often confuse more than they illuminate when it comes to food (as any reader of local restaurant reviews can tell you).  Here is the bread I made, not the Eating Well ultra-dense, almost pate-like quick bread.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups butternut squash puree (I used canned)
2 large beaten eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey


1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Oil and line a 8X4 inch pan with parchment.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and spices together
3. Mix the squash, eggs, oil, and honey.  Gradually incorporate the dry mixture.
4. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until a toothpick can be extracted 'clean.'


  1. I've always wanted to try butternut squash, but I keep wussing out.

  2. @BD--if you love fall flavors, you'll love butternut squash! I felt the same way for a long time--I like pumpkin, so I stayed within my comfort zone. But it's nice to shake things up in the squash world every now and then!

  3. First, Canadian Smarties rule! :). We have American Smarties but call them "Rockets" definitely Halloween coal :). Second, our Mars bars are more like milky ways as well, which we don't have in Canada. Instead we have the American Three Musketeers, which is what a Milky Way is everywhere but in the States.
    I love butternut squash in all it's forms and like your sweet potato bread, would never have thought of using it in a quick bread.
    And to end my long winded comment, I enjoy your description of "paste-like." I'm going to steal that, I never know what to call that texture, usually referring to it as "gelatin-like" :).

  4. I'll just pretend I didn't read that part about pate- my poor brothers and sisters! Then again someone who heard the name of my blog started asking me about confit and foie gras before I told him it was vegan!

  5. Well I just realized I read paste, thought paste, now I'm not sure what I was thinking. It's been a long few days :).

  6. @MD--but, but--it's not duck bread! They do have vegan pates! Pate-like is a textural thing!

    The idea of a blog devoted to COOKING duck would be, er, something of a niche audience, I would assume.

    @Adam--I hear ya about the long few days!

    Although I think that pate and paste actually are a bit similar--both are descriptive of that 'ultra dense' bread texture that is very different from a fluffy banana bread (which I also love kinds).

    I may make it my mission to try to make quick breads with all available fall squash this season! I wonder what acorn squash would be like in a quick bread...hopefully no squirrel enthusiasts will be disappointed when they read the post...

  7. I may try your PB cookies this weekend!

  8. @BD--I think you will like them! A woman in my yoga class made them and liked them--I'm not sure if she did so while in headstand (or at them like that) but she said they came out well!

  9. Ahh!!! haha you've got my laughing over here. The smarties are the coal. So true, but i bought a bag with a mix of small sweet tarts ( they look like smarties) and taffy... Long story short a little one came trick or treating and the dad was like "hey they have your favorite... smarties!" I was so upset that they thought I was a cheap scape with candy! I quickly told them it was sweet tarts, but they didn't care. ha.

    Id love for you to check out my blog and follow along. Let me know if you do, Ill be sure to follow back!

    can't wait,