Pumpkin pie is all the rage this time of year, but why just pumpkin? Most pumpkins don’t have a lot of flavor (including the “sugar pie” small ones) and stores charge a premium price for pumpkin (often 2x 3x the price of other squash). The truth is that ANY winter (hard) squash will make an excellent “pumpkin” pie. I prefer using butternut, or sweet meat, a turban, or even a couple of acorn squashes.
Cut the squash lengthwise, remove the seeds, and place face down in a pan with 1 inch of water in it. Cook the squash in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-40 minutes (until a knife inserts easily). Cool. Scrape out the insides, and place into a blender with a little milk or cream, and blend until smooth.
You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of puree squash for a 9″ pie shell. Add spices (1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg) stir in well. Add 1/2 cup white sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar, and a pinch of salt (to taste). In a separate bowl beat 2 eggs slightly, until the yolks are broken, mix in 1 1/3 cups of unsweetened evaporated milk, or heavy cream (the difference will be in the final product. The cream gives a smoother, denser, and richer pie.) Mix well, pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30-45 minutes (check often after the 25 minute mark) until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and cool.
Optional: to make the pie even richer, and darker in color, add a tablespoon of dark molasses.
Winter squash to use, include: Butternut, Blue Hubbard, Turban, Long Island Cheese, Kabocha, Sweet Dumpling, Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Sweet Meat, White Pumpkin, Banana, Carnival, Delicata, Red Kuri, Buttercup (to name a few, this list is not complete).
Why stick with tired old pumpkin pie, when you can create a pie from any of the winter squashes?