Monday, October 12, 2015
Delicata Squash Pie
Since the very early days of this blog, I've asserted that if you're going to make a "pumpkin" pie from scratch with purée from a fresh vegetable, you should make it with squash, not pumpkin. Not only is the flavor generally better-- sweeter and more potent-- the consistency is much preferable-- less watery and less stringy than a pie pumpkin. My favorite squash to use is delicata. The long tubular gourd that's striped dark green and cream, indicates its taste via its name, which means "sweet". Delicatas can be harder to find than butternut or acorn squash (unless you live in Vermont, where they seem to be everywhere), but the quest is well worth it for the resulting pie.
This recipe, which I first made for a Burlington, Vermont "Seamonster Potluck" in 2006, was one of the four from Nothing in the House selected by King Arthur Flour to appear in their fall issue of Sift, alongside my article on the anthropology of pie. It's fitting, particularly as I'm not sure I'd had a delicata until I moved to Burlington, where my friend Andrea cut thin coins of them, topped them with masked celeriac, roasted them, and called it a "delicata cookie"-- one of my favorite savory treats to this day.
Here's the recipe that appeared in Sift, adapted from my original. King Arthur's lovely cream swirl didn't quite work out for me, so instead I whipped some extra cream just slightly, and drizzled it atop the baked and cooled pie.
Delicata Squash Pie
Nothing in the House pie crust, halved
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk or cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
3 medium (1 3/4 pounds before cooking) delicata squash
Additional evaporated milk or cream, for swirling
1. Prepare half of Nothing in the House pie crust as per the directions, reserving the leftover egg for an egg wash. Chill dough at least one hour before rolling and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Let chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Halve the squash lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Bake, cut side down, in a 9 x 13-inch pan with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. After 30-40 minutes, press the squash with your finger; when it's soft, it's done. Remove from the oven, and when cool enough to handle, scoop out 2 cups of the flesh. Purée until smooth. Increase the oven's temperature to 425 F.
3. For the filling: Combine the evaporated milk or cream, sugars, spices, salt, and eggs. Add to the squash and blend until smooth with a hand mixer or immersion blender. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Add a swirl of cream or evaporated milk on top, or sprinkle with cinnamon for decoration, if desired (you could also drizzle with cream and/or sprinkle with cinnamon post-baking).
4. Placed the pie on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes at 425°F. Reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the pie is mostly set, and a 1-2 inch circle in the center still wobbles a bit when you nudge the pan. Remove the pie from the oven and cool it completely before slicing. Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or drizzle with whipped cream, if desired.
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Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie