Butternut squash pecan dumplings

Butternut dumplings

I invented these little dumplings because I wanted something to serve with my pecan tarator sauce. I tried to think of something that would complement the earthy nutty flavor, but that would bring some surprising elements of its own to bring to the table – the dinner table, that is. I think these have a nice balance of flavors and textures. Sweet soft roasted squash, sharp briny capers, crunchy pecans, and smoky smoked gouda. The pastry on these is different from a regular paté brisée. It’s softer, and (as I imagine it) more dumpling-like. It’s actually loosely based on knish-dough recipes that I have read. It contains no butter! It’s not vegan, because it has an egg in it. But if you’re trying to avoid butter (why would you do that?) this is a good one to try. I added a little Spanish paprika to the crust, to echo the smokey flavor of the gouda, and to make them a lovely rosy color.

Here’s Johnny OtisHarlem Nocturne, which is just a remarkable piece of music.


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. Spanish paprika
1 t. baking powder
1 egg
3 T olive oil

Mix the flour, salt, paprika, baking powder in a large bowl. Add the egg and olive oil, and mix till you have a nice workable dough. You might need to add a few tablespoonfuls of water to bring it all together. Knead for a couple of minutes, till it’s nice and smooth. Wrap and put in the fridge till you’re ready to use it.


One medium sized butternut squash
1 or 2 T olive oil
1 shallot, very finely chopped
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
3 t. capers, chopped
1 cup grated cheese – a mix of smoked gouda and sharp cheddar
1 t. basil
1 t. rosemary
1/2 t. thyme
1 garlic clove – toasted or roasted
1 egg, beaten

Peel the squash, scoop the seeds out, and cut it into 1/3 inch dice. Mix it with the shallot, thyme, rosemary and basil, and spread it evenly on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 till it’s starting to brown and caramelize, about 20 minutes to half an hour.

In a large bowl, combine the squash/shallot mixture, the capers, the pecans, the cheese, a little black pepper (the capers should make it salty enough)

Mix in all of the beaten egg except a tablespoonful or two.


Take the dough out of the fridge. Break off a golf-ball-sized amount and roll it into a rough circle about 1/8th inch thick. It will be 5 or 6 inches wide.

Scoop a heaping tablespoonful of filling in the middle. About 1/4 cup. You should have an inch of pastry all around.

Pull the pastry up around the filling, and squeeze the neck together like pulling the drawstring on a sack, leaving a pretty flower-like top.

Arrange on a baking sheet. Poke with a fork in two places each. Brush each with the remaining beaten egg.

Bake at 375 for about 1/2 an hour, till they’re starting to brown.

Serve with pecan tarator sauce, or pesto sauce, or tomato sauce, or any sauce you like!

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