Spiced Butternut Squash Pie

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Q: What’s the difference between pies made with pumpkin, butternut squash, garnet yam, and sweet potato? A: Not much. You can make a stellar pie using the whipped soft flesh from any of these ingredients. Tucked into a home-made crust and topped with whipped cream….perfection. In our comparison tests, yam had the best color & texture–very orange and smooth & creamy. But butternut squash had the best flavor–more mild than pumpkin. Squash was also less-sticky with a smoother top than the sweet potato pies (those cracked on top.) But really, all of the fillings worked well using some variation of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk and eggs. This recipe is based on my mom’s Old-Southern pumpkin pie. Her inclusion of a little orange juice adds brightness to the traditional spice trio of ginger, cinnamon and fresh-grated nutmeg. We’ve also lightened this pie by using fat-free, instead of regular evaporated milk, but you can use the fuller-fat version, if you like.

Makes 2, 9-inch pies

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted cultured butter, icy cold
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, icy cold
  • ice water as needed (about 1 to 2 Tbsp)

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 3 cups whipped butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 cups fat-free evaporated milk (or, regular evaporated milk)
  • lightly-sweetened whipped cream for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make butternut squash: Cut one large, or two small butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and strings that come away without too much effort. Invert squash in large baking dish and add 1/4 cup water. Cover dish with foil. Bake at 325 for one hour, or until soft when pierced with a fork. Cool. When cool enough to handle, discard any remaining seeds/strings. Scoop out flesh and mash, then whip until very smooth. You will need 3 cups of whipped squash to make two pies.
  2. Make crust: Sift flour, salt and sugar together. Using two knives, cut fat into flour OR in a food processor, add fat to flour/salt/sugar mixture in 1 Tbsp chunks. Pulse until dough clumps and forms lumps.  Remove pastry to a bowl and sprinkle with ice water, adding a little at a time. Working with light hands, work iced water into the dough just a bit/ gather/divide the dough together into two balls. Plop these on two separate pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap and flatten the balls into 5-inch disks. Chill in the fridge until firm (at least 1/2 hour.)
  3. Make pie filling: In a bowl, mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside. Beat eggs and syrup in the mixer bowl of a stand mixer on low for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, add squash, orange juice and evaporated milk and fold in for a minute.  Turn mixer on very low speed to keep everything from sloshing out of the bowl. Add sugar and continue to beat until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Assemble pies: Preheat oven to 375. Spread counter with two large, overlapping pieces of plastic wrap, or parchment. Place a disk of chilled pie dough on the center of the wrap. Cover with two more large, overlapping pieces of plastic wrap, or parchment. Roll dough out to 11-inch circle. Remove top plastic sheets; invert pastry into pie plate, easing it in and lightly pressing out any air pockets. Form a decorative, stand-up-rim of pastry. Repeat again with second pie-dough disk in second pie plate. Pour filling into pie crusts. Bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes until filling is firm. Cool. Serve with lightly-sweetened whipped cream as garnish.

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