Butternut squash and ice cream

Candied Butternut Squash with Ice Cream

I like making elaborate desserts, but sometimes it’s so nice to cook something very straightforward yet utterly delicious and satisfying. This Candied Butternut Squash with Ice Cream and Pistachios is all about elegance and simplicity. I was inspired by classic Turkish dessert Kabak Tatlısı Tarifi which is basically pumpkin slices cooked in simple syrup. In my version, I added a little bit of lemon juice and zest to make the flavor more interesting and to cut the sweetness. I think it worked out very nicely. You can also use orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, or cardamom, whichever feels more compelling for you.

Whenever I make desserts, I think about creating a balanced combination of sweetness, tartness, crunchiness, and often a teeny-tiny pinch of saltiness. In my opinion, when all those things are in balance, you achieved complete perfection! That’s why my ice cream of choice was salty caramel. I also added chopped pistachios to add nice crunchiness. I usually use my homemade ice cream, but there is absolutely no reason for you going through all the trouble of making ice cream at home. Just use your favorite brand. Flavorwise you can even go as simple as French vanilla or as elaborate as caramel and balsamic vinegar. It’s totally up to you!

I hope you’ll enjoy this rustic dessert. I would love to hear your thought on it!

Butternut squash and ice cream

Candied Butternut Squash with Ice Cream and Pistachios


  • small butternut squash – 1 or about 1 lb
  • water – 1/2 cup
  • sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • lemon zested and juiced (about 2 tbsp. zest and ¼ cup juice)
  • roasted salted pistachios chopped
  • salty caramel ice cream a few scoops


  • Cut the butternut squash in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh. Cut the butternut squash into 3” pieces; set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice
  • Lover the heat to medium-low and add the sliced butternut squash. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the slices are tender and syrup seeps into flesh.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the butternut squash slices from the saucepan and put them in an airtight container.
  • Return liquid to boil over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces and thickens.
  • Serve them slightly warm topped with chopped pistachios and a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with warm syrup.
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