This loaf is a great alternative to meatloaf, and a great deal more economical. You can use regular sausage-meat, but we use Asda’s Lincolnshire sausage mix which is only £1 per pack (to compare, Asda's equivalent size of 400g sausage meat is twice the cost at £2.)
We served it with a vegetable casserole of green beans, peas and spinach. If you put frozen vegetables in the dish with the spinach, the ice melts to make just enough liquid to stop it from drying out. Gravy sets it off nicely... we like to use the traditional red Bisto or homemade gravy.
The pie is similar to pumpkin pie but we prefer the more muted, less turnipy flavour and the smoother texture of butternut. I like to add English nursery flavours rather than the more traditional American vanilla and clove-heavy mixed spice of pumpkin pie (lovely as that is.) The more calming spices and almond hint seem to fit the texture and smoothness of the squash pie better. I like to call it a “Victoriana Squash Pie” because it just sounds so lovely like that and I like the image of a white-dressed pristine Victorian nursery with ringletted children having a tea party with smooth comforting desserts flavoured with nutmeg and almond. I am sorry to say, the name is not catching on in our house. The pie itself is, though; I made it this Sunday at the request of my eldest.
I would love to know what you all flavour your squash pies with; either pumpkin or butternut? I know a lot of you who drop in to visit Acorn Towers are from the U.S. .... would you try English nursery flavours in a traditional American dessert? Or do you have a favourite go-to spice mix?
How I make them:
Walnut and Lincolnshire Sausage Loaf
Serves 6 (see below)
1 packet of Asda Lincolnshire sausage mix, made up as packet instructs, or 400-500g other made-up sausage mix
Press the made-up sausage mixture into a lightly greased pudding basin. Tip it carefully out onto a baking sheet. Press the walnut halves gently into the outside of the sausage mound; as many as you like! Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.
This does not look a great deal, but it is filling. We only needed 1-2 modest slices each. To make a larger loaf for more guests or if there had been more children at the table this Sunday, I might just have added another £1 sausage mix to make two loaves, but more likely, would just have combined the sausage mix with a packet of stuffing mix which is cheaper and adds a nice element of flavour.
Total: approximately £1.53 for the whole loaf, costings from Asda Online accessed 10/2/15
Butternut Squash Pie, or Victoriana Squash Pie
200g plain flour
50 vegetable oil spread (I like to use Pure for the neutral flavour)
50g solid white vegetable fat
A 6cm thick ring cut from a butternut squash (about 1/3 of a standard sized squash)
2 crusts of white bread
100ml milk (I use sweetened soya)
60g dark brown sugar
90g granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp of ground or grated nutmeg
1 tsp cornflour
Wrap the butternut squash, skin in tact, in kitchen roll. Microwave for 5 minutes. Remove kitchen paper and put aside to cool while you make the pastry.
Rub the spread and fat into the flour until it all resembles rolled oats. Mix in 2 tbsp granulated sugar and around 4 tbsp water to make it come together into a pastry dough. Roll this out to line a greased loose-bottomed flan tin. Bake for 10 minutes in a 180C oven.
Blend the remaining ingredients together for the filling. Pour this into the baked flan case. Return to the oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the tin and slide onto a wire rack to cool. Best just warm or cooled and so at room temperature. Keep any leftovers (should you be so lucky) in an airtight container in the fridge, but remove to come back to room temperature before eating.
Total cost for whole pie is approximately £1.04 from Asda Online accessed 10/2/15