Squash and Apricot Tea Loaf with Beetroot Syrup

Squash and Apricot Tea Loaf with Beetroot Syrup

Autumn brings us squash and this beautiful vegetable comes in all shapes, sizes and colours - my kind of veg! My Crop Drop bag was weighed down with a glorious Red Kuri squash and looks a lot like a pumpkin. When roasted, the rich, buttery flesh has an earthy sweetness and I think it lends itself well to this tea loaf. It keeps for a week if stored in an airtight container and I recently discovered it tastes amazing lightly toasted with a little butter. If you fancy being a little more adventurous, and you have the kitchen gadgets to hand, try the beetroot syrup recipe drizzled over a slice, brings a whole new dimension!

A little oil for greasing
200g light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, separated
200g roasted squash
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
100g chopped dried apricots
100g ground almonds
200g self-raising flour
A pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A generous pinch of grated nutmeg

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 ºC and lightly grease a loaf tin about 20x10 cm. I had a silicone loaf “tin” but if you don’t have one, just line it with parchment paper.

2. You’ll have a lot of leftover squash so I’d suggest roasting all of it first and storing what isn’t used, for other recipes. To roast the squash, place it on a flat surface and with a sharpe knife and your fingers behind the blade, insert the point of your knife into the centre of the squash. Carefully cut through one half of the veg until you reach the bottom then remove the knife and do the same on the opposite side until you have two halves. Cut each half in half length ways and scrape out the pips and stringy bits. Each of those wedges can be cut again length ways and width ways until you have approximately even pieces. Place in a roasting tray and drizzle some oil over the top, cover with foil and pop in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through. 

3. Once cooked, remove from the oven to cool down. Weigh out 200g and remove the skins and with a drop of water, mash it all up. Although the  skin is edible, it may not be work so well with in a cake but you could throw some of the remainder of the squash into a warming vegetable curry, skin on.

4. Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until pale and creamy. Stir in the mashed squash, lemon zest and juice, apricots and ground almonds. Sift in the flour, salt and spices together over the mixture and fold them in.

5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir a heaped tablespoon of the egg white into the cake mixture to loosen it and then fold in the rest as lightly as possible

6. Tip the mixture into the loaf tin and level out the surface then bake for about 1 hour, or until the skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

7. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.

Beetroot Syrup

1 large beetroot
2 cups of granulated sugar

1. Juice the beetroot and pour into a heavy based saucepan, add the sugar and keep on a medium heat, storing occasionally until it thickens and sticks to the bak of the spoon. This can take somewhere between 10-15 minutes. Take it off the heat, drizzle over a slice of the tea loaf and wash it down with a cup of tea.

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