the moveable feasts

Butternut Squash Pie

with 17 comments

butternut squash pie

As up-to-date and as current as blogs try to be, they’re always a little bit dated, aren’t they? Case and point: me posting about a pie I made for Thanksgiving a week ago. Now, I suppose I could have posted about it the day after Thanksgiving, to make it seem a little more current. Or! Better yet, I could have made a test pie ahead of time and posted about it. But as much as I appreciate the blogs that do that, I’m not sure I could or would even want to aspire to do that around here. If me reading Jane Eyre all through Thanksgiving break (and thereby forcing myself to sift through a pile of work on my return to school) causes me to post about a pie a week later than I ought to, then so be it.

With that long-winded introduction taken care of, I present butternut squash pie. Spiced, silky-smooth, creamy butternut squash pie. It may have been my biggest accomplishment over my Thanksgiving. Which, granted, is not exactly saying much seeing as I did absolutely nothing besides laze around and eat, but bear with me. It is a pie to remember, and keep for the future. If I were a better and more disciplined person I would promise myself that I’d make it again, before the next Thanksgiving comes around. It really is that good–the type of pie you shouldn’t need a holiday to eat. (Luisa says as  much in her post, where I found this recipe.)

roasted squashes
pureed butternut squash

This pie is a little different, but that’s the best part about it. I have nothing against pumpkin pie, but this one tastes a little more special, a little more decadent. The flavor is both lighter and creamier, which along with the spices give it almost an eggnog custard-like taste. (I don’t like eggnog too much, by the way, but the custard-like taste is perfect here.) It does take a bit more effort than the usual pumpkin pie, though, but most of it is just in waiting time as the squash roasts and caramelizes. I’d say it’s a fair trade-off: a little bit more work to roast the squash yourself, but in return the squash rewards you for the time and love and care and gives you its silky, creamy, nutty flesh.

Anyway, I know it’s a little much to demand that everyone start making squash pies all winter long, instead of just on one day of the year. I can’t decide which I prefer: to have pumpkin/squash pie hold something of a sacred status whose rarity makes it taste extra good and special when we finally do have in on Thanksgiving, or to make it throughout squash season as a regular dessert. If you’re of the latter opinion, this is a fun pie to try sometime before the end of the season. And well, if you’re of the former camp and think that squash pie had its place among the theoretical happy Pilgrim and Native American feast scene and that’s where squash pie shall remain, then it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s Thanksgiving… joking. Please don’t. (Need I repeat my first paragraph/rant about being proud of how much of an underachiever I can be?) But when that time of year comes around again, you’d be wise to keep this recipe in mind.

butternut squash pie
slice of silky butternut squash pie

One Year Ago: Potato-Buttermilk Dinner Rolls (I passed these up this Thanksgiving for a try at Parker House rolls. Pure heaven. I’ll try to make them again and blog about them soon.)

Butternut Squash Pie
Adapted from Kay Rentschler of the LA Times via The Wednesday Chef
Makes 1 9-inch pie

You’ll probably have both a little extra squash puree and pie filling. For both things, I’m sure you can manage some way to use the leftovers (ahem, see photo following the recipe). 

1 single crust pie dough round, chilled

1 3-4 pound butternut squash
olive oil
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

To make the butternut squash puree, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed sheetpan with aluminum foil. Trim off the stem from the top of the squash, and then cut through the squash horizontally where the bulb begins. Reserve bulb for another use–you’ll just want to roast the stem for this. Cut squash neck in two lengthwise. Place on lined sheetpan and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil; spread to coat. Bake, turning occasionally, until the squash is tender and beginning to caramelize, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly, trim the skin away with a paring knife, and puree the flesh using either a food mill or a food processor. Use immediately in pie or store in a plastic container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To prepare the crust, see attached link, or use your own favorite recipe. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the pie dough into a 14-inch round on a lightly floured work surface. Carefully transfer rolled pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and trim and crimp the edges. Place in the freezer to firm for 30 minutes. Once chilled, line the pie pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 10-12 minutes, remove the foil and the weights and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent bubbles, and bake for about 5 minutes more or until the crust is flaky-looking and golden. Once removed from the oven, reduce the oven down to 350 degrees F.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Process the eggs and yolks, vanilla, sugars, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in a food processor until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups of reserved squash puree (you probably will have some puree left over) and process until smooth, about another 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides. With the machine running, pour in the heavy cream in a steady stream and process until combined. Pour the filling into the hot pre-baked pie shell (as mentioned above, you may have a little extra filling). Bake until the filling is set and the center doesn’t jiggle, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool to room temperature on a rack. Serve with whipped cream.

extras made into a pudding of sorts

As mentioned above in the recipe, you might have a little leftover filling that just can’t fit into the pie. Consider it a surprise treat, cook it in a ramekin or individual serving dish alongside the pie (just take it out early, after about 30 or 40 minutes), and enjoy as the best kind of afternoon snack a baker can ask for.

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Written by Amy

November 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm

17 Responses

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  1. This filling is melt in your mouth heaven – sweet – spicy – smooth – richness of butternut squash – YUM.

    Mutti

    November 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm

  2. I think I might have to try this pie asap. I made my first pumpkin pie this year for Thanksgiving and it was kind of a bummer. I used Alice Water’s recipe from The Art of Simple Food and the filling was okay, a bit dense for my liking, but the pie crust was bad (probably my own fault). The beautiful crimped edges sunk into themselves in the oven, creating a sunken pie effect. Hmpf! I need to practice this blind baking business, but I wonder if it has to do with the fact that I let mine rest in the fridge and not the freezer for 30mins(?). Anyway, in regard to the filings the ingredients are strikingly similar (cream, eggs, pumpkin & spices) just with slightly different quantities (Alice calls for 3 whole eggs, while yours has 2 eggs and 2 yolks). I imagine that those subtle differences are what make your filling so light and custard like. Thanks for sharing, even if a week late, because you’ve inspired me to try again! Now I just need an excuse to bake a pie :)

    talley

    November 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    • Talley! That same thing happened to my pie crust last Thanksgiving. I don’t think the fridge vs. freezer should matter too much — as long as it’s chilled through that should be good. What did you weigh your pie down with when you blind-baked it, though? Because I found that I hadn’t weighed mine done enough (I used light weight lentils, and too little of them). Since there was nothing to keep it up, the edges sunk right down into the middle. But yes…pie crusts are always a work in progress for most, I think. Please do give this pie a try though next time you’re in the mood for conquering some squash pie. ;)

      Amy

      November 27, 2012 at 11:54 pm

  3. Your pie looks perfect! I’ve yet to find a pumpkin pie that I really love – maybe butternut squash is the answer!

    thelittleloaf

    November 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm

  4. your pie looks delicious! i prefer butternut squash pie to pumpkin, always. and it looks so cute in the little ramekin!

    little kitchie

    November 28, 2012 at 3:48 am

  5. Nice looking pie, Amy. I’ve never quite managed to make an entirely successful pumpkin pie (admittedly, it’s been a while). I think I’ll have to give this a try instead before winter has come and gone. Octavian keeps hinting that we should buy a pie when we’re grocery shopping (quel horreur!), so I should probably try to make one soon to stave off regrettable store-bought pie purchases. Besides, I like the sound of anything custardy.

    And about posting a week after Thanksgiving–you’ve still beat me to a Thanksgiving post. I didn’t have time to photograph anything that day, and now that I’m back to revising my paper (yes the same paper), I probably won’t get to my butternut squash post until at least next week.

    Katie

    November 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    • Haha, you know it’s time to act when the store-bought pies start looking more and more reasonable looking. Let me know how this pie goes over with you and Octavian if you do get a chance to make it. Which doesn’t seem likely, with THE paper happening! And I’m looking forward to your next post when you do get enough time to post it.

      Amy

      November 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm

  6. Haha i never make recipes ahead of time for my blog! I’ve decided I’d much rather be authentic with my life and the food I make than feel the pressure to present Thanksgiving recipes before Thanksgiving.
    This pie looks and sounds delicious! And I love the idea of putting extra filling in a ramekin to bake!

    Erin

    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 am

  7. This sounds so cool! I’ve never tried butternut squash pie, but I definitely love butternut squash, so I bet it’s really yummy! Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Kocinera

    November 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm

  8. I love that interdependent ramekin pie – and this post is perfectly up to date, I have so many butternuts in my fridge calling to be made into something other than soup!

    This American Bite

    December 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    • Oh good, well I hope you get a chance to make it! And yes, especially if pie crust isn’t that big of a deal to you, putting the pie filling in ramekins and is a quick and delicious way to make this.

      Amy

      December 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

  9. I’ve never tried butternut squash pie before, but the way you describe it, it sounds much better than pumpkin pie!

    Christin@FortMillSCLiving

    December 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm

  10. I read your remark on blogs being a little dated and burst out laughing! My next post will be about a restaurant I visited in SEPTEMBER! Just don’t tell anyone… ;)

    The bit of cayenne in this recipe is intriguing. I may have to make this! :)

    Hot Pink Manolos

    December 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    • Haha yeah, there’s always a bit of deceit involved being a blogger, isn’t there? And yes! Please do try this, and if you do, let me know how it goes!

      Amy

      December 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

  11. I was wanting to make this recipe, but couldnt find a small enough squash. Roughly how much puree does the squash yield in cups please?

    Alice

    May 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    • Oh gosh, I’m not exactly sure, but I’d guess that the 3-4ish pound squash that I used yielded about 2 cups of squash puree? I would just prepare whatever size squash you kind find, and then find clever ways to use up the roasted squash or its puree (it’s very tasty by itself!).

      Amy

      May 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm

  12. […] and lobster haricots verts salad, and a vinegary potato salad. For dessert we had apple pie and this butternut squash pie. It didn’t feel like a traditional Thanksgiving by any means, but at […]


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