For years, my family used canned pumpkin in our pie. When you’re spooning in heaps of ginger powder, cinnamon, clove, and grated gingerroot, we all thought, it hardly matters whether you use canned mush or a fresh puree—it’s all just a vehicle for ferrying sugar and spices to your mouth.
At some point while flipping through my dog-eared Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I noticed a recipe for winter squash pie. It called for winter squash puree in place of pumpkin puree, heavy cream in place of evaporated milk, and a fat dose of brandy along with the usual spices. I noticed that the proportions of cream to squash were higher than evaporated milk to pumpkin. I hoped this would make for a lighter pie, and I was right. This caramelized butternut squash pie is silky and creamy without being pasty or heavy. Even with the hefty dose of ginger, the flavor is fresher and brighter than its pumpkin kin, but close enough to fool people come Thanksgiving. And the brandy added a warm, sophisticated note.
Years later, when I discovered how easy butternut squash is to peel—the thin skin slips right off with a vegetable peeler—I could imagine tossing cubes of it with butter and sugar and cooking the squash until almost candied, then turning it all into my pie.–Melissa Clark
LC Still Suspicious of a Butternut Squash Pie? Note
Do you really want that humdrum pie from the Libby’s label again? True, this caramelized butternut squash pie recipe requires just a little more time and effort than hauling out a can opener, not to mention a little more open-mindedness. But considering that butternut squash is so easy to find and a cinch to peel (just grab a swivel vegetable peeler and have a go at it), we see it as a worthy investment, one that’s rewarded quite handsomely with a complex dessert that’s wholly unlike that mild and mushy jiggliness that Libby bequeathed to us.
Caramelized Butternut Squash Pie Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 2 H, 35 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- 1 Perfect Piecrust
- 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon brandy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh gingerroot, or more to taste
- 1/4 to scant 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1. Place the piecrust dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and roll it into a 3/8-inch-thick round. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the dough. Use your thumb and forefinger to flute the edges and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. (If chilling the dough for more than 2 hours, lightly cover the dough with plastic.)
- 2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 3. Line the crust with foil, fill with pie weights, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until the crust is set, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the crust is pale golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let cool.
- 4. While the piecrust is baking, prepare the filling. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet, dot it with the butter, and sprinkle it with the granulated sugar. Roast the butternut squash, stirring every 10 minutes, until it’s fork-tender, 30 to 35 minutes. For a slightly more complex, caramelized flavor, roast the squash until it begins to darken at the edges and is almost candied, 5 to 10 minutes more.
- 5. Puree the butternut squash in a food processor until smooth (you should have about 1 3/4 cups puree; if you have extra, reserve it for another use such as ravioli filling). Add the cream, egg, yolks, brown sugar, brandy or rum, vanilla, ground ginger, grated fresh ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt to the butternut squash and puree until combined. Scrape the filling into the cooled piecrust and smooth the top with a spatula.
- 6. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (163°C). Bake the butternut squash pie until the filling is just set but still jiggles in the middle, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Nov 16, 2010
This caramelized butternut squash pie pie finished well, looking very much like your traditional pumpkin version. It has a velvety smooth texture, but is a little on the soft side, so you need to be careful removing it from the dish to serve. (I’m not sure how well it would hold up if you were to put a dollop of whipped cream on top of it.) Although you can buy a whole butternut squash, some markets sell it peeled and cubed, which can save you a lot of preparation time. Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s really easy to buy a container of squash puree, and then add the other ingredients from this recipe to make a fairly decent pie.
Caramelized Butternut Squash Pie Recipe © 2010 Melissa Clark. Photo © 2010 jamesjyu. All rights reserved.