Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pumpkin Pie for Grown-ups

First off, I use butternut squash instead of "pumpkin" because I like it, and I have a large crop of huge butternuts in the garden this year. (There is also a smaller crop of Orange Hubbards which sprang up, like the butternut squash plant, as volunteer from the compost.)

This recipe includes two caramelized onions, and has half the sugar of many recipes. I made a whole wheat crust. I would rather use stone ground graham whole wheat flour, more like a typical graham cracker crust, but I had none and substituted whole wheat bread flour. Not perfect, but not bad either. I tried to not overwork it; I didn't want gluten to develop.

I chopped two onions and caramelized them overnight on "low" in my crock pot, which has "high" and "low" settings only. I added a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar before beginning. They were the color of peanut butter by morning; just right.

  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled, cut up, and microwaved to softness
  • ½ cup sugar, and enough molasses to make it into "brown sugar," about 2 tablespoonfuls.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk with 1 cup of dry milk added to it
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala powder
(I modified a recipe which called for 1 cup of half-and-half plus 8 oz. cream cheese; that's why I modified the milk and added the cheese.)

I blended everything very well in the food processor except for the onions, which I then folded in by hand.

I don't like it when cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. overpower the delicate taste of the squash or pumpkin. I tried twice before I got the amount of garam masala low enough. Mine has ginger, clove, cinnamon, cardamom.

I made a crust from whole wheat flour, cold grated butter, cold water. Rested in refrigerator, rolled out, put it in buttered pie pan, and pre-cooked it for 7 minutes in a 375º F. oven. In a few minutes I then filled the crust with the filling. It was very full; a high dome of filling in the center stood an inch above the height of the edges of the crust. Afraid it would slowly flow, I put it in the oven immediately and baked it at 375º for 10 minutes, then 330º for 40 minutes. Perhaps 350º would have been better. It wasn't done in the center so I gave it another hour at 280º. Perfect top and crust.

This is a good pie for me and others who don't need overwhelming sweetness in a pie, yet want some little bit. The caramelized onion added some complex sugars too.

By the way, I roasted the reasonably large seeds in salt and butter after I cleaned the squash. A fine snack. I just chew the shells along with the seeds inside; they are tender enough. But that's just me.


Jessica said...

Sounds delicious! I had some volunteer squash in my compost this year, too.

Jumper said...

What kind?

phalanxausage said...

I like the overnight caramelization in the crockpot idea. I'll have to try that soon. I have several gallons of pork stock & about 15# of onions to use up (swing by some time if you want some onions). Last night I made the best "French" onion soup I've had in my life. Added some Knorr's vegetable base to make up for the lack of veggies in the stock, some ground dry porcini to bump up the umami & give it depth, some thyme & parsley. If I can cook the onions unattended I'll make it every day for the next week or so.

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