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Butternut squash brunch braid

(Michele McDonald for The Boston Globe)
March 14, 2012
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Serves 6

1  large half of peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (enough to make 2 1/2 cups)  

1  tablespoon olive oil 

1  tablespoon brown sugar 

 Salt and pepper 

4  slices bacon, chopped 

1  medium onion, chopped 

1/2  teaspoon dried thyme 

1  package (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent roll dough 

2  tablespoons grated Parmesan  

1  egg white, lightly beaten 

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Have on hand a large rimmed baking sheet and a cookie sheet.

2. In a bowl, combine squash, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat.

3. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until squash is lightly browned at the edges and tender when pierced with fork; set aside.

4. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

5. Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, render the bacon until almost crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon pieces to paper towels. Add the onion and thyme and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens. Remove from the heat and return the bacon to the pan.

6. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll the dough onto the sheet and gently flatten to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle, carefully pressing out the seams. Spoon the onion and bacon mixture into a 4-inch wide lengthwise strip down the center of the dough. Top with the butternut squash and sprinkle with Parmesan.

7. With scissors or a sharp knife, make cuts 1 inch apart on the long sides of the dough to within 1/2 inch of filling. Cross these strips alternately over the filling and press the ends to seal them. Brush with egg white.

8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into 6 slices.

Adapted from Natalie Edwards

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