This simple, wonderful Turkish treat is called kabak tatlisi, and is a favorite dessert served in all kinds of restaurants and taverns.
Paula Wolfert, in her wonderful book The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, explains her most ingenious, simple way of making it perfect! All you need is time to bake the squash slowly. Use your phone timer if you have not an automatic oven that you can set it bake the squash for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
In my recipe below I have reduced the amount of sugar, as I find that butternut squash is by itself very sweet!
We like to serve it with mastic or vanilla ice cream sometimes adding the walnuts that Paula suggests sautéing in butter, something I don’t usually do.
In Turkey this baked squash is usually served with kaimak (clotted buffalo cream).
See also the elaborate Greek Squash or Pumpkin Preserves (rossoli).
1 pound (500 gram) peeled butternut squash, cut into about 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2/3 cup superfine or baker’s sugar
About ½ cup toasted walnuts
1 cup crème fraîche, or thick yogurt, or ice cream
Mix the squash pieces with the sugar in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish and let stand for at least 30 minutes, or until the squash weeps and the sugar melts.
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150 C). Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the squash and sugar. Cover with a crumpled sheet of wet parchment paper, place in the oven, and bake for 1½ hours, or more, until the juices boil and the squash is tender.
Turn off the oven and leave the dish inside until completely cool. (The squash will continue to re-absorb their syrupy juices.)
Store in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Let return to room temperature before serving. If you like, sprinkle with walnut and/or accompany with crème fraiche, thick yogurt, or ice cream.