Move over pumpkin pie, a new Thanksgiving treat has arrived: silky smooth and naturally sweet butternut squash atop a gluten-free walnut crust. For those that indulge in dairy, put down the whipped cream and try a topping of Cambozola Black Label. This decadent tart is savory enough to be served as a side but sweet enough to be reserved for a rich dessert.
Cambozola Black Label, Butternut Squash, and Walnut Tart
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, halved and seeded
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of cream or whole milk (for those that want a little lighter texture, otherwise optional)
2 cups of walnuts
1 cup of pitted dates
3 T millet flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush the inside of the the butternut squash with oil and place skin side up on a roasting pan or cookie sheet.
Roast for 35-45 minutes, until the skin of the squash becomes golden and just begins to pucker. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Scrape the squash from the skin into a bowl, mash, and set aside.
Now begin your crust. In a food processor, chop the walnuts and dates until a fine crumb. (Keep checking it to make sure the mixture doesn’t turn into a nut-butter. If it does—yum! But it won’t work for this crust. Set it aside and use it on your toast.).
Next, add the millet flour and process until incorporated and the crumb sticks together. (Feel free to use regular flour, but this recipe is a shout out to my gluten-free buddies, so millet flour it is.) Now warning if you are typically a glutton for gluten like I am: this crust will not stick like your usual wheat-flour dough. But it should stick together somewhat between your thumb and your forefinger.
Line the bottom (but not the edges) of a 10″ springform pan with parchment paper. Press the walnut/date mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 7 minutes, until edges turn golden brown.
Meanwhile, finish up that filling: Add the eggs and milk to the butternut squash mash and blend until smooth. (This step, by the way, is also the moment when I reach to the back of my minuscule appliance cabinet and thank the small-appliance gods. Seriously, a hand-blender produces silky butternut squash).
Pour the mixture onto the walnut crust and spread with a spatula to even it out. Then pop it in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Check to see that it is mostly set (the center might jiggle just slightly). Then turn off the oven with the tart in for another 5 minutes. Finally, remove the pan and let cool to warm. The top may crack slightly, but no worries. That’s what the cheese is for.
Lay the Cambozola wedge on its side with the outer rind facing toward you (top and bottom rinds on your left and right). Then cut 1/8 cross-sections of the wedge. (Note that you can leave the outer edge of the rind on, however I preferred to remove it, as I found the flavor of the rind a little too overpowering when mixed with the other flavors.) Arrange the the slice-size wedges on top of the tart.