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X-Planations: Yonkers' Chef Peter X. Kelly Preps For Thanksgiving

Butternut Squash Flan from Chef Peter X. Kelly.
Butternut Squash Flan from Chef Peter X. Kelly. Photo Credit: Submitted

This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.

YONKERS, N.Y. -- With Thanksgiving around the corner our attention once again turns to family and food. While many families will gather in great numbers to watch football and share a buffet table of all the familiar Thanksgiving foodstuffs I offer a beautiful first course for all those small family gatherings that are centered around a gourmet holiday dinner.

Being able to present a wonderful first course while entertaining guests is always a challenge, however if you choose a dish that can be prepared ahead of time and just quickly finished once guests are seated you are sure to have happy guests. My warm butternut squash custard is seasonal, delicious and a wonderful way to begin a festive meal.

You can follow the directions here and garnish the finished custard with warm lump crabmeat but that is just gilding the lily and the custard will eat just as well by itself.

Look for my column next week when I talk about roasting the turkey.

Savory Warm Butternut Squash Custard

Snipped Chives & Crabmeat

Ingredients for Custard: Serves 6 as a first course

  • 12 ounces Heavy Cream
  • 3 Whole Eggs
  • 2 Cups Diced Butternut squash
  • 1 Thai Chili
  • Salt & White Pepper

Procedure For Custard

  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil with thai chili.
  • Using a heavy knife cut squash into small dice.
  • Place squash in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, using a fine mesh skimmer remove squash from water and drain.
  • Discard Thai Chili
  • In a mixing bowl, place the eggs and cream. Beat lightly as for custard. (Don’t over beat)
  • Add cooked squash to mixture.
  • Place mixture in blender and puree till smooth.
  • Adjust salt and white pepper.
  • Butter individual 4 ounce ramekins and fill with mixture.
  • Place ramekins in a Bain Marie (a water bath) so that the water comes ¾ of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Place in a preheated 325 F oven for approximately 50 minutes until custard is set. Remove from water bath and keep warm.
For Garnish & Plating

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Snipped chives
  • 3-4 ounces crabmeat (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

Procedure

  • In a medium sauté pan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add crabmeat and chives and heat through.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Loosen custard from ramekin and invert ramekin onto serving plate.
  • Place custard in center of plate and spoon crabmeat and chive mixture around.
  • Serve immediately.

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