Carnival squash pairs well with the flavors of autumn, including apples. This winter squash is delicious when baked, which turns its flesh rich and creamy. With its thick, inedible skin, baked carnival squash is its own bowl. Simply scoop out the cooked flesh with a spoon and leave the brightly colored bowl behind. When cooked with applesauce, the squash becomes browned and caramelized, making for a no-fuss, yet elegant side dish.
About Carnival Squash
Carnival squash is a winter squash, though the best specimens are found in late summer through the fall. The round, pumpkin-shaped squash is similar to acorn squash and is often labeled as a variety of acorn squash. It has thick, hard, orange or pale green skin with vertical dark green stripes. Its flesh is rich and creamy, similar to butternut squash or sweet potatoes. Store carnival squash in a dark, cool place for up to one month. Cut pieces of carnival squash can be stored wrapped in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Rinse the squash thoroughly under cold water, taking special care to remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck to the skin. Lay the squash on a cutting board with its flattened top facing down, then cut it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds, making sure to remove all the connective strings.
Place the squash in a shallow baking dish with the cut side facing up. Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper. Scoop about 1/3 cup of applesauce into the center of each half. If you wish, you can place a thin pat of butter on top of the applesauce. Fill the pan with 1/4 inch of water. Transfer the baking dish to the center rack of an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the squash until it is easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Serve the entire squash half, allowing guests to scoop out and enjoy the squash mixed with applesauce.
While the applesauce gives the squash a sweet, caramelized flavor, you can add even more seasonings, if you wish. Sprinkle the squash with dried spices like nutmeg, paprika, ginger, cinnamon or clove. A few dashes of chili powder or cayenne pepper will give the dish a slightly spicy kick. For extra sweetness, mix in 1 teaspoon of brown sugar for every 1/3 cup of applesauce.
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