Friday, November 24, 2017

Butternut Squash Pie

I usually have good luck with butternut squash in my garden, and it is one of my favorite crops to grow. It is easy, it grows well in our climate, and you can store it in a cool area in your house for several months without any kind of preservation, making it a blessing during that time when so much canning needs to be done.

The problem, of course, is how to use it. Butternut squash works in a variety of recipes; I use it in soup and in pasta for a little bit of extra nutrition.  However, I'm always looking for a great new recipe.

I just discovered and adapted this recipe for butternut squash pie, just in time for Thanksgiving. It has the flavor profile of a pumpkin pie, but it is just a bit milder in squash flavor. Additionally, the homemade version bakes up with more of a custard texture, meaning that it is sweet and creamy enough to make you want to forego any whipped topping. And, most important, the recipe is easy enough to make on a regular basis!

Butternut Squash Pie
1 single pie crust (you can omit this and just bake the custard, if you prefer)
1 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
4 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 T ground cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cloves (to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (to taste)
3 cups pureed cooked butternut squash
1/2 cup organic butter
2 large (free range) eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350.  Cut the squashes lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place face down in a pan with about an inch of water.  Bake until super-soft, about 45 minutes.  Scoop flesh from squash and puree with an immersion blender. Cream together with butter and vanilla.  (This is easier if  you put the butter in while the squash is slightly warm.)

Mix dry ingredients and use blender to mix them with squash mix.  Add the eggs and mix until smooth. (Be sure your puree is close to room temperature before you add the eggs.)

Pour into crust.  Bake for 15 minutes with edges covered with foil, then bake 50-60 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  (You'll see that little divot that's visible in the pie above.)

Cool pie.  Refrigerate leftovers, if there are any!

The Analysis

Fast:  Slower than canned pumpkin pie filling, but worth the effort.

Cheap:  Well, the squash were free.  I can't say that this is a tremendous savings over canned pumpkin, but every little bit helps.

Good:  Fresh, local ingredients make for a truly special and nutritious pie!  (All that vitamin A from the squash!)

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