My twin sister Alaine, being jealous of the rave reviews I've been receiving at my parents' house for recent culinary successes, decided to put on her Betty Crocker apron and do the squash tango. :D
All kidding aside, this is some of the best squash I've ever tasted! Although she reports needing a hacksaw to open the hardheaded veggie, the end results were well worth the effort. (I'm just sorry she didn't have a camera on hand to capture the beautiful finished product!)
Alaine's Maple Apple Jack Pecan Squash
1 butternut sqush, stemmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp. cinnamon-sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
5 Tbsp. plus 1tsp. Jack Daniel's bourbon
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 equal pieces
1/2 cup toasted pecans
2 chopped Granny Smith apples
Preheat oven to 375 with rack positioned in center. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds---hollow out stem section to hold apples and nuts.
Place squash halves cut side up in a large baking dish with sides at least 1-1/2 inches high. Sprinkle the hollow of each squash half with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place half of the apples and nuts into squash. Pour 1 Tbsp. maple syrup and 2 tsp. bourbon over each half and top with butter pat. Season to preference. (If not baking immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
Pour hot water into the pan around the squash halves to a depth of 1 inch (this helps keep the bottoms from burning). Cover the entire dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the flesh can just be pierced with a knife. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until tender and beginning to brown.
Serve warm. Yum-mmmy!