Butternut Squash, Ricotta & Bacon Streusel Topped Muffins

makes one dozen

2 cups (7.25 ounces) 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 thick slices (2.25 ounces) smoked bacon, diced

For the batter:

1 3/4 cups (8.5 ounces) flour

1 tablespoon (11 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda

1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) sea salt

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) very cold butter, cut into 12 pieces

1 cup (225ml) buttermilk

1/2 cup (120 grams) fresh ricotta cheese

For streusel topping:

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, melted

1/4 cup (2 ounces) dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) sea salt

1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) flour

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners; set aside.

Add butternut squash to a small roasting pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, until tender and lightly golden. Transfer to a dish to cool.

Add bacon to the pan used for the squash, and bake for 15 minutes, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined dish to drain.

To prepare the streusel, combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Use a fork to mix well. Add the drained bacon and stir to mix well; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add the butter pieces and rub together with fingers until pea-sized bits form. Stir in the buttermilk until just combined with the dry ingredients. Gently stir in the butternut squash and ricotta, leaving some "lumps" of cheese. It will be a rather stiff dough-like batter.

Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with an equal amount of streusel. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a metal skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.