Amazing Squash Pie!

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.Amazing Squash Pie

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.Green Circle Grove 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.

The scooped out halves went onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet Green Circle Groveand into the oven at 350° for about 45 minutes –just until the halves were “fork tender”.

Green Circle Grove

 

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 –Green Circle GroveI 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.Green Circle GroveIn 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.

Green Circle Grove

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.Green Circle Grove

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. Amazing Squash PieTo 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?

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?Amazing Squash Pie

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

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. 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.

  1. Beat in 2 cups pureed winter squash.
  2. Lightly whisk together 2 large eggs and add to squash mixture.
  3. Stir in 1-cup evaporated milk. Beat until smooth and blended.
  4. 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!

Harvest Apple-Cranberry Pie!

This is the time of year when fresh cranberries and apples are in the market.  It’s also the time of year when PIE is featured on our dessert table fairly often.

I like to hide an extra bag or two of whole cranberries in the freezer, so when it’s time to make this family favorite, I’m prepared.  I’ve been to the local Farmers’ Market and purchased locally grown “Gala” apples.  Gala apples are a bit sweeter than some varieties, so I use a little less sugar than I might if I were using a more tart apple.

First I mix sugar, cornstarch, apple juice and cranberries in a saucepan.  Fresh or frozen cranberries work equally well.  This mixture is cooked and stirred over medium heat until it thickens and most of the liquid is absorbed.  This can take up to 20 minutes, and then I set it aside to cool while I make the pie crusts.

 

 

 

 

In a medium-sized bowl, I combine the dry ingredients with the shortening. 

 

 

 

When the mixture resembles small crumbs,

 

I mix in ice water, one tablespoon at a time.

 

 

When the dough just begins to stick together, I form it into two balls and roll them out, one at a time, on waxed paper that’s lightly covered with flour. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drape the first crust over the bottom of my pie pan, preheat the oven to 425, and roll out the top crust.

Now, I peel and chunk the apples. Gala apples brown quickly after they are peeled, so I toss them with lemon juice.

 

Brown sugar and spices are mixed through the apples and the cooled cranberry mixture is gently mixed in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This whole beautiful combination is poured into the prepared pan, covered with the waiting top crust and sealed.  I like to “flute” the edges.  I make some slits in the top for the steam to escape, brush milk all over the top crust, sprinkle some sugar on it and bake it for 10 minutes. 

 When the 10 minute buzzer goes off, I lower the heat to 350 and bake the pie for another 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.

It’s hard to wait until this pie cools to slice into it, but if you can wait a couple of hours, it cuts nicely.  It’s supposed to keep on the kitchen counter—no need to refrigerate—but I’ve never been able to test this, somehow it disappears within a few hours!

The combination of sweet and tart is just right in this pie – if you must, add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top—but I like it right from the pan to my plate!

 

 

 

 

The recipe:

APPLE CRANBERRY PIE

 

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ cup apple juice

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon lemon juice

4 cups peeled apples, cut into chunks

1 teaspoon milk

1 teaspoon white sugar

pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

Preheat oven to 425. Mix white sugar, cornstarch and apple juice and cranberries in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and most of liquid is absorbed and it begins to thicken, stirring often.  Cool.

Toss apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice in large bowl to blend.

Gently combine cranberry mixture with apple mixture.

Pour into prepared pastry lined pan. Cover with top crust which has vents cut in it.  Seal and flute edges. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake 50 minutes longer or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.  Cool.

 

                                    MY FAVORITE PIE CRUST

For 9 inch two-crust pie:

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup shortening

½ teaspoon salt

ICE water –2 or 3 tablespoons

Measure flour and salt into large bowl. Add shortening and cut into flour mixture with pastry blender (or fork) until mixture resembles small crumbs.  Add ice water one tablespoon at a time just until dough can be handled.  Too much water and the dough will be sticky, too little and it will break into pieces when you try to roll it out. Form into 2 balls, place on lightly floured waxed paper, flatten and roll into circle that will fit in pie pan.  Drape pie crust over bottom of pie pan, add filling, cover with top crust.  Flute and seal.

 

 

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