I had seen this recipe by Honey & Co’s in the Financial Times a while back, and was keen to try it out. It seemed very simple and I was intrigued by the combination of pumpkin and tahini (there isn’t much else). There is a very similar recipe by Ottolenghi as well, except that he adds some yoghurt and cinnamon to the mix. I was keen to stay with the “purist” version so I omitted those extras.
I did however make one tweak – swapping out the honey in the original recipe for Ottolenghi’s date syrup, primarily because it has a slight tang that I quite like (you can use honey as well).
As I suspected, the end result was slightly sweet because of the natural sugars in the squash so I wouldn’t recommend this for folks who aren’t fond of that flavour. Some guests at our dinner really enjoyed it, but I know that my husband for one didn’t. It’s terribly healthy so I had a virtuous breakfast by spreading on my favourite toast the next day with some crumbled feta. Yum!
Butternut & tahini dip with roasted hazelnuts
This is a deceptively simple recipe, one that uses few ingredients. Do follow the cooking method, it's important to cook the squash in this way to get the best flavour. I suggest doing this when you are in the kitchen anyway, as this needs a quick stir every 10 minutes about 4-5 times.
Peel the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. It's easier to cut the squash into wedges and peel each wedge. Cut the butternut into large 2 cm dice. Try to make the pieces even so that they cook in the same time. Put in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid, sprinkle with the salt and cover. Note there's no oil or water added.
Place the saucepan on the stove on a very low heat and set a timer for 10 minutes. Don’t be tempted to remove the lid before then, as you want some steam to start developing. When the timer sounds, lift the lid and give the squash a good stir, then cover again and set the timer for a further 10 minutes. Repeat this four or five times. It's good if some of the butternut sticks to the bottom of the pan, as that will add flavour, so long as it doesn't burn. Scrape it with the edge of a flat spatula and mix in. Stop cooking once the squash has formed a thick paste.
Remove the pan from the stove and add the tahini and date syrup or honey. Mix well and allow to cool before adjusting the seasoning. You may need to add a little water to get a thinner consistency.
Sprinkle the salted chopped hazelnuts over the dip just before serving. Any leftover dip will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.