Impostor pumpkin pie

This is no secret, but squash has impersonated pumpkin in pies for a long time. Never in this house though, until today. With a good harvest of red kuri squash, and Thanksgiving coming up, this seemed like the perfect time to test the substitution. I’ve read all those stories about how Grandma’s pumpkin pie was the best but nobody knew she always used squash – her little secret, though in Grandma’s day what was available was what you used, no matter what the recipe said. See a couple desperation pies here and here.

We started growing these red kuri squash a couple of years ago. This year we only got one plant to come up due to a very dry spring, but still harvested 15 squash. With their dense, non-stringy flesh they are perfect candidates for pie, but butternut or hubbard work well too. I like to peel them and cut them into wedges or chunks so all the sides get a nice roasted taste, but it also works to bake them with skins on and remove skins after baking. Coat the pieces with a couple of tablespoons of melted coconut oil, lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 375ºF till soft, about 45 minutes, turning the pieces over halfway through baking. Let the squash cool a few minutes before puréeing in a food processor. Add all the other ingredients and process till blended. Pour into a blind-baked pie shell (crust recipes linked below) and bake. If there’s too much filling to fit comfortably into the shell, pour excess into a ramekin and bake with the pie.

– Joan, 21 November 2020

Impostor Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: One 9-inch pie
  • Print

  • 9″ pie crust, blind-baked
  • 3 cups (366 grams) baked squash
  • 1 15-oz. can(354 grams) evaporated milk
  • 3 small-medium eggs
  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

While the squash is baking, prepare and bake the crust. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Purèe the baked squash in a food processor till smooth. Add all of the other ingredients and process till smooth. Pour into the blind-baked pie shell. Bake for 40-50 minutes, till center no longer jiggles if you gently bump the edge. Check at the halfway mark and cover the crust edges if necessary to prevent burning. These adjustable silicone shields are great for protecting the crust. Cool completely and serve with ice cream or spiked whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

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