Use a good flavoursome squash for this recipe. Steer clear of the carving pumpkins as these are usually tasteless and watery. Pretzels may be a surprising addition here (use breadcrumbs if you prefer) but these salty snacks work wonders as a topping for the squash.

Work up an appetite on a hearty autumn pub walk or enjoy the autumn colours, before heading home for a warming seasonal meal. For more recipe ideas for autumn find inspiration in our food and recipes section.


  • 800g squash peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 250ml double cream
  • 200ml Full fat milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and finely crushed
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves picked
  • 1 bay leaf scrunched a little
  • nutmeg a good pinch
  • 80g Parmesan freshly and finely grated
  • 30g pretzels roughly crushed
  • 50g chestnuts finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • STEP 1

    Bring the cream and milk just to the boil in a large pan along with the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, a good grinding of nutmeg, good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the squash, turn down the heat and simmer gently, stirring often, for about 10 – 12 minutes, until the squash is just tender and cooked through.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 180ºC.

  • STEP 3

    Add the chestnuts to the cream and squash mix and add half the parmesan, stirring to combine.

  • STEP 4

    Add the squash mix to a baking dish, measuring approximately 25x20cm and loosely cover with some foil.

  • STEP 5

    Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, until the squash is soft. Add the pretzels and the remaining parmesan and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes, until bubbling and piping hot throughout.

  • STEP 6

    Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least five minutes before serving.


Claire Thomson is a chef and food writer, and almost always in the kitchen.