This recipe requires a fair amount of time, though not too much work. If you like, you can prepare the squash and apples ahead of time, refrigerating the dish. Bring to room temperature before baking or add about 10 mintues to the baking time.
1 – 3 lb winter squash
3 large apples
4 T butter, divided, plus extra for baking dish
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c pecans or walnuts, chopped, not too finely
1/2 c fine dry bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Pierce squash a few times with a sharp knife. Put squash and on a cookie sheet or in shallow roasing pan and bake in oven until tender. This can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Or, cut squash in half (carefully!), remove seeds, place on baking sheet, cut side down, add a splash of water to baking sheet, and roast.
2. After about 20 minutes, pierce the apples a couple of times with that sharp knife. Add to the cookie sheet or roasting pan.
3. When everything is tender, remove from oven. Keep oven on. Let squash and apples cool. Halve squash, scoop out seeds. Then scoop out the flesh. Put in a large bowl. Peel and core the apples. Add to the bowl. Now, you can mash everything together with a potato masher, press through the medium disc of a food mill, or purée in a food processor (you may need to do a couple of batches in the food processor). Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
4. Raise oven temp to 425ºF. Put an oven rack in the top third of the oven. To the squash-apple purée, add 3 T butter, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine. Spread in prepared baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and chopped nuts. Sprinkle evenly over purée. Dot remaining tablespoon of butter over all.
5. Set in top third of oven and bake for 30 minutes, until topping is browned.