Dan Clapson’s Caramel Butternut Squash Apple Dessert Squares

Total Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Yields 24 squares


Meyer lemon shortbread (adapted from Stephanie Eddy):

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/3 cup icing sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

zest of 1 meyer lemon

Butternut squash and apple topping:

2 medium butternut squashes, halved and gutted

1/3 cup (80 mL) heavy cream

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 pinch nutmeg

1 honey crisp apple, cored, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 cup (120 mL) caramel sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the softened butter and icing sugar until completely combined. Stir in the lemon zest until evenly distributed.
  3. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and stir until the mixture looks crumbly. Use hands to squeeze the mixture into a ball, which will help bring it all together and ensure that there is no flour left unmixed into the butter. Turn out onto saran wrap, cover and place in the refrigerator for now.
  4. Place squash on a baking tray and roast until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Keep oven on, but reduce temperature to 350º F.
  5. Scoop flesh into a large mixing bowl along with the next 6 topping ingredients and beat well with a mixer until everything is incorporated. Remove the dough from fridge, uncover and roll out gently with a rolling pin to approximately 5mm in thickness.
  6. Press into a large baking dish and spoon butternut squash mixture overtop and finally, layer the apple slices over the mixture.
  7. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick, when poked into the square, comes out clean. Once cool, cut into 24 even portions and drizzle with caramel sauce.

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