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Butternut squash, caramelized pecan and cinnamon tartlets with Phelim Byrne

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Our chefs have been showing us what to do with all the abundance of seasonal veg, fruit and meat

Lots of people have started growing their own veg and fruit in these recessionary times! You might have garden full of tomatoes or blackberries at the moment but not have a clue what to do with them. Also seasonal food in the shops is often cheaper to buy and tastes better.

Today we are going big on butternut squash with two interesting recipes!

Phelim Byrne - Afternoon Show Newbie!
He has a cookery academy based in Wexford for the last three years (The Phelim Byrne Cookery Academy) and prior to setting that up he was the Head Chef at Dunbrody House for four years.

During his training and cheffing career, he won many prestigious awards and scholarships, some of which include; winning 2 Gold and 2 Bronze medals representing Ireland at the International Culinare Salon as a Euro-toque chef in the World Cooking Championships in 2004; whilst Head Chef at Dunbrody, won Best Restaurant from Bushmills Ireland and from Food and Wine.

Last year Phelim was added to John and Sally McKenna's Bridgestone Guide for his cookery School.

Butternut squash, caramelized pecan and cinnamon tartlets with spiced cream and wild winter berries

For the filling:
Makes 6-8 individual tartlets
. 230g squash puree
. 100g caster sugar
. 3 whole medium eggs
. ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
. A pinch of mixed spice
. 100ml cream
. Fine jest of half an orange
. 75g caramelised pecans (pecans and brown sugar see method)

For the tartlets:
. 1 pack of jus roll filo pastry, cut into 5 inch squares
. Melted unsalted butter, 100g

For the cream;
. 150ml cream
. ¼ tsp cinnamon
. 1 dsrt spoon icing sugar
. ¼ tsp vanilla essence

For the berries:
. 7 ½ oz mixed berries, frozen
. 3 oz caster sugar
. Jest of ½ orange

1. To prepare the filling cut a medium sized butternut squash in half lengthways, remove the seeds, brush with sunflower oil and a little salt
2. Place in a roasting dish skin side down and roast at 170c for 1 hour or until soft and sweet - then allow to cool
3. Remove the soft flesh and puree with a food processor
4. Pass the puree through a fine sieve scraping it through with the back of a spoon
5. Mix the fine puree with the spices, sugar, eggs , orange juice / jest and cream and leave in a jug to one side
6. Caramelize the pecans by sprinkling with the brown sugar and placing on a tray stirring every couple of minutes until nicely caramelized ( be careful when caramelizing using sugar) - leave to one side
7. Brush the squares of filo with the melted butter and place three sheets ,off square, on top of each other
8. Place these into a bun tin to achieve an empty filo pastry case
9. Divide the caramelized pecans into the cases and fill to the top with the tartlet filling
10. Place in a preheated oven at 170c for 25 minutes or until just set
11. Cool a little and serve in a pool of the spiced cream, decorated with the berries and any spare caramelized pecans - Enjoy!

For the cream:
1. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and whip until the cream is just lightly whipped for a beautiful spiced cream

For the berries:
1. Place the berries (frozen), the sugar and the remaining half and orange jested into a hot dry frying pan - cook for about 60 -80 seconds over a high heat until almost defrosted and the sugar is just dissolved
2. Place in a bowl to cool and finish defrosting
3. The berries are also a nice accompliment to duck, goose, cheese salads etc

Roast butternut squash with lemon and thyme topped with baked chicken with a blackforrest ham, cream cheese and tomato pesto crust

Serves 4
. 1 med- lrg butter nut squash, diced
. 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
. Peel of 1 lemon in 1inch strips
. A little oil to fry
. Salt and pepper
. 4 chicken fillets, free of bone and skin
. 4 dsrt spoons of semidried tomato pesto
. 4 dsrt spoons of cream cheese
. 6 slices of black forest ham
. Salt and pepper

1. Dice the butternut squash into ¾ inch cubes -heat a pan and add a little oil!
2. Add the butternut squash, lemon and thyme - then season
3. Sauté until softening and fragrant
4. Place on a tray in an oven at 190c for 15 minutes
5. Slightly flatten the chicken fillets, then season and add a spoon of tomato pesto, followed by a spoon of cream cheese, then top with slivers of the blackforest ham
6. Place on top of the butternut squash and then place back in the oven for a further 16-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
7. Serve with the squash on the plate , topped with the chicken and generally potato of choice - savour!

Semi Dried Tomato Pesto:


. 1 tub sun dried tomatoes - 150g
. 3 tbsp olive oil, warmed
. 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
. 1 garlic clove
. 5-6 basil leaves
. 2-3 tsp pinenuts
. 2 tsp parmesan
. Seasoning


1. Soak the tomatoes overnight if possible in the warm oil and then strain to use
2. Simply whiz every thing up in the food processor
3. Season to taste
4. Keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks

Butternut squash Facts

The smaller the squash, the more flavorsome it will be!

All parts of the squash are edible

George Washington, the first U. S. president, loved to grow squash.

Full of beta carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and protein.