fried butternut squash with amaretti crust

tocchi di zucca fritti agli amaretti

Servings 4

Coated in a mix of breadcrumbs and ground amaretti, these sweet fritters are even better when dipped in crème anglaise.


For the Crème Anglaise:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
 3 large egg yolks
 3 tablespoons sugar
For the squash:
1 1/4 pounds butternut squash (about 1 small or half of one lagre), peeled and seeded
1 orange
Fine sea salt or  kosher salt
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup coarse bread crumbs
3  tablespoons finely ground amaretti (Italian almond cookies; about 12 small or 6 large; use a food processor)
About 3 cups vegetable oil for frying




For the Crème Anglaise: Combine milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan. Add vanilla bean and seeds. Bring milk mixture just to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, making sure to stir into corners of pan, until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when drawn across, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Transfer sauce to a bowl. Cover and chill until cold. (The Crème Anglaise can be made 1 day ahead.)
For the squash: Heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut squash widthwise into 1/2-inch pieces, then cut larger pieces in half. Put pieces into a bowl. Grate zest from orange into bowl, then add 3 tablespoons juice from orange. Season with a pinch salt and stir to combine. Spread pieces on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining juices from bowl over pieces, then sprinkle pieces with sugar. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Lightly beat eggs and water in a shallow bowl. Stir together bread crumbs and amaretti in another shallow bowl.
Dip 1 squash piece into egg, letting excess drip off, then roll in bread crumbs to generously coat, pressing gently to help crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining pieces.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 inches oil to 360°. In batches, fry pieces in the oil, turning with a slotted spoon, until golden, about 2 minutes (adjust heat as necessary to keep oil around 360°). Using slotted spoon, transfer fried pieces to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with sugar. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with chilled Crème Anglaise.