Isn’t it amazing how conversations from different parts of your life often intersect in the most delightful ways?
A perfect example: I was, just the other day, telling my mother about the interesting squash we’ve grown in the garden. I believe it’s actually a “mongrel” variety of a Boston Marrow Squash that has been reseeding itself in our compost pile. Whatever its origins, it makes for delicious soups and isn’t bad just baked and mashed with a little cinnamon and butter. My mother told me that Boston Marrow Squashes were often used in the canning factories of her girlhood for pie fillings.
About the same time, I was also involved in a conversation about the excessive rain in the pumpkin patches, which is causing a dearth of canned pie fillings…just before Prime Pie Season.
Hmmm…can you see the connections I was making?
Nothing to do but give it a try, right?
Last night, I chose a likely looking squash specimen from the drying shed. I washed its face, cut off the ends, cut it in half and scooped out the seeds. I have a neat ice cream scoop that works just right for this job. Seeds and innards went into the chicken bucket—I didn’t worry about getting all of the stingy parts, although there wasn’t much.
I cooled the cooked squash for an hour or so, and then easily pulled most of the outer rind off the squash. This rind has some green between the meat and outer skin, so be sure you remove all that, too. It won’t hurt you, but makes for a more attractive final result.
As I peeled the squash, I put the pieces into the hopper of my blender –I could have just as easily used a food processor or even a vegetable masher—anything that will puree the cooked squash. My blender was closest to me, and the hour was getting late. I pureed, scraped the cooled, processed squash into a bowl, and refrigerated it. I shouldn’t start projects like this at night.In the morning, I made a single shell piecrust, and preheated the oven to 425°. Out of the refrigerator came the squash, along with 2 eggs. I decided to use my usual pumpkin pie recipe for this experiment; it’s easy and time-tested for delicious flavor! I’ll post the recipe at the end of this story.
To a medium bowl, I added and mixed the dry ingredients: brown sugar (if I have dark brown sugar on hand, I use that), spices and a dash of salt. Then, the squash was mixed in thoroughly. I poured in the eggs, which I had slightly whisked together in the same bowl the pureed squash had just been in. (I like to break the eggs into a bowl separate from the one with all the other ingredients, just in case there’s a bit of shell, or horror of horrors-a blood spot.) I added the eggs and the milk, mixed everything together well, and poured the whole combination into the waiting pie shell.
By then, the oven had preheated, so I baked the pie for 10 minutes, and then turned down the heat to 350°, and reset the timer for another 40 minutes. This is a good step to have in a custard-type pie recipe: the temporary high heat helps set the filling.
So far, the pie was looking like an ordinary pumpkin pie.
After the allotted 40 minutes, the pie smelled like an ordinary pumpkin pie, too.
The test for “doneness”, using a table knife into the center of the pie, showed that a little more time was needed. To be honest with you, I usually set the second temperature time for 45 minutes anyhow, so an extra five wasn’t unexpected. I ended up having to bake the pie for another 5 minutes (for a total of 50 minutes at 350°). I wonder if maybe the homemade squash filling wasn’t just a bit more “watery” than processed, canned pumpkin filling?
It will be cool by dinnertime and then the Official Taste Tester can make the final proclamation, but….here’s my early prediction:
There’s no need to worry about the lack of canned pumpkin. A winter squash from the back shed works just fine. Now I’m thinking about trying again, but using one of those Butternuts….
Maybe it’s time for another conversation or two.
Winter Squash Pie from a Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- Preheat oven to 425°
- Mix together in medium bowl:
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar; 1 tsp. cinnamon; ½ teaspoon each: salt, ginger, nutmeg; 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.
- Beat in 2 cups pureed winter squash.
- Lightly whisk together 2 large eggs and add to squash mixture.
- Stir in 1-cup evaporated milk. Beat until smooth and blended.
- Pour mixture into prepared pie shell.
Bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° and bake for 50 minutes more, or until knife inserted into center of pie comes out clean.
Cool, serve, enjoy—refrigerate if there are any leftovers!
Makes one 9-inch [amazing] squash pie.
This post is shared with (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop #40!