Saturday, November 11, 2006
Candy Roaster (squash) Pie
This past Thursday we had friends over to help us make some pear wine (which looks like this is going to take a couple of weeks of work before the juice gets to the point of becoming wine and can be bottled and than aged for about a year). Because of the visit and because we have a lot of this rare heirloom squash called Candy Roaster we decided to make a pie. And boy was it easy to do.
I have never made a squash pie from scratch. I had heard horror stories about way too wet filling and insipid flavors so the few times I have made a pumpkin pie I used canned "pumpkin" which in reality is butternut squash. But as I said, we have this rare heirloom squash that is really pretty. It looks like a lumpy pink and blue pumpkin. It has a rich buttery flavor and a moist flesh. And it is not selling because no one including us knows what this squash is all about. And the pie project was partially about finding out what the Candy Roaster is all about.
Like I said this was easy to make. First of all we found a medium sized squash (about 3 pounds). Cut it open, took out the seeds (which are good roasted) and put the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet and into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes (cook until it is softy and there is liquid on the bottom of the pan). When the squash is cooked take out of the oven, flip them over so the flesh side is facing towards the ceiling so it will cool faster (like about 5x faster). While the squash is cooling you can make a pie crust. Eugene is the crust maker around here. He does a much better job than I do (I tend to over work pie dough making it tough). The secrets to his excellent crusts are the following. He uses lard rendered from the fat of pasture raised organic pigs. This lard is clean and contains nothing but fat from stress free healthy hogs, no BHT, no nothing. And he also makes sure all ingredients are cold by placing everything in the freezer before assembling the dough and than the dough goes into the freezer for about 15 to 30 minutes before it is rolled out. He uses the recipe in The Joy of Cooking.
For this filling what I did was take the cooked squash and removed the flesh and mashed it into a puree (use a fork, a potato masher or a food processor to get the flesh smooth. If the squash seems watery put the puree into a strainer and let the water drip out foe a couple of minutes, you can facilitate this by gently pushing on the pulp in the strainer. I found with Candy Roaster I did not need to do this as about 2 cups of water were released during baking making the flesh dry enough.
After the flesh is prepped the rest goes quickly. You will need:
1 can of condensed Milk (use no more sugar, this already has lots)
1.5 cups of heavy cream (add additional sugar) This is what I used for my pie
2 cups of squash puree
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar (use with cream only)
1/4 cup brown sugar (use with cream only)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground allspice
Add everything together and mix well. Pour into prepared raw pie crust and put into a preheated 450 degree oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off set the oven temp to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes or so, until the edges of the pie are browning and the center is solid. Remove the pie from oven and cool for about 30 to 45 minutes
This was pretty much the best "pumpkin" pie I have ever eaten. It was sweet, light and the candy Roaster squash imparted a wonderful smooth buttery taste to the pie. Much better than any can of butternut (AKA Pumpkin) squash will ever make.
The next squash pie will be made with one of our butternut squashes which are a lot better than the B-nuts you buy at the store. That lively soil makes a big difference in flavor. Than after the B-nut may try a buttercup squash which has a sweet dry flesh and ought to make a great pie.