An unusual and light rum punch flavored with acorn squash puree, cinnamon, and lime. Lovely cold or warm. A great addition to any party in the fall or winter.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the squash halves on a parchment-lined roasting pan or cookie sheet. Mix the oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread the mixture inside the squash halves or paint it on with a pastry brush. Roast the squash for about 45-60 minutes, until a fork easily pierces the "meat."
Once the squash halves have cooled down enough to handle, scoop the "meat" or pulp from the cavity and sides, leaving just the thinnest outside skin. Put the pulp in a food processor or mash it well with a potato masher until it is smooth.
Combine 6 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, and the sugar in a medium-size pot. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat slightly and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the acorn squash puree and mix until combined. Add the strips of lime zest and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.
Cool the mixture down until it is no longer steaming, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Then ladle the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or sieve held over a pitcher, leaving the pulp and zest in the top and letting the liquid fall into the pitcher. Discard the solids that remain in the strainer.
Add the rum and serve chilled or rewarm. If you prefer to add the rum to each glass rather than adding it all to the base, use a ratio of 4 parts base to 1 part rum.
The best way to split an acorn squash lengthwise is described well in this post from The Kitchn. Be careful to start at the end opposite the stem and if the knife gets stuck in the squash, rock it gently until it comes out. Do not try to pull it out directly!
If you want to cool the puree down quickly after simmering it for 15 minutes, pour it into a cool bowl or another pot, and put that one into a larger bowl filled with ice. The puree should never touch the ice directly. Over time, the ice will melt into cold water and within 20-30 minutes the puree in the inside bowl or pot will be cooled down. It will cool even more quickly if you stir it to let more heat escape.
For the lightest punch choose white rum. For a spicier version, used spiced rum and for one that is more complex, but does not add spices to the base, choose dark rum.
If you like ice cubes in the chilled version, make some ice cubes out of the acorn squash mixture before you add the rum. That way, you'll have the benefit of the ice cubes without diluting the drink.