BUTTERNUT SQUASH CRUMBLE CAKE
With a little advance planning, you can prepare this unusual cake with ease. The brioche dough may seem daunting but, trust me, with a good mixer at hand, it’s simple, straightforward and worth the time. You will only need half the dough, but the other half can be frozen for future use. Just be sure to mix it a day in advance for it needs to chill overnight. Quickrise instant yeast can be mixed directly into the other ingredients—no pre-dissolving required. The squash can be roasted a day ahead, the crumble is a snap, and there you have it! This would be lovely served with a simple green salad.
¼ cup (60 mL) whole milk
1¼ tsp (6 mL) quick-rise, instant yeast 3 eggs, room temperature
1¾ cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour, divided 2½ tbsp (38 mL) sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) cubes
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 sprigs rosemary
¾ cup (175 mL) panko crumbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped parsley ⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) melted butter
¾ cup (175 mL) soft feta or goat cheese for assembly
1 For the brioche, pour the milk into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk in the yeast followed by 1 of the eggs. Add ½ cup (125 mL) of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Sprinkle ½ cup (125 mL) more
of the flour overtop without stirring. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the surface of the flour cracks, about 40 minutes.
2 Combine the remaining flour, sugar and salt. Add the dry ingredients and the remaining eggs to the mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, beat on low speed just until combined. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 15 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook 2 or 3 times during the process. The dough should be smooth, shiny and quite soft.
3 On low speed, add the butter 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time and once all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium. Continue mixing, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the butter is fully incorporated into the dough and no butter lumps remain. The dough will be smooth, shiny and soft.
4 Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and gather it into a ball. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours. At this point, you can freeze half the dough for future use. Wrap it well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
5 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust the surface with flour. Transfer the remaining brioche dough to the prepared baking sheet. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour and gently pat it out about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
6 For the squash, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the squash in a shallow roasting pan. Add the olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and add the rosemary sprigs. Roast until tender but not falling apart, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature. The squash can be roasted a day ahead and refrigerated. You will need 3 cups of cooked squash to complete the cake.
7 For the crumble, combine the panko crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the melted butter and mix so the panko crumbs are evenly coated.
8 Butter and flour the bottom of a 10-inch (25-cm) springform pan. Shape the chilled dough into a disc. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 10-inch (25-cm) circle. Transfer the dough to the pan and, if necessary, pat it out a little more so it reaches the sides of the pan. (If there is a small space between the dough and the sides of the pan, don’t worry—it will expand upon proofing and baking.) Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
9 Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
10 Gently scatter 3 cups (750 mL) of the cooked squash cubes over the dough, then crumble the cheese overtop the squash. Sprinkle the crumble over all. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sides of the brioche are just golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.