Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cushaw Pie

After a very long growing season and threats from Squash Vine Borers that decimated all their fellow squash, the cushaw squash harvest is underway. I made a cushaw pie from the first squash I harvested for a Samhain gathering and it turned out great.

I was a little nervous cutting into the squash, afraid I would find an under ripe interior, but to my relief it was nice and yellow-orange inside with fat seeds.

I then proceeded to give myself a real workout hacking it to pieces and scraping out the seeds. The pieces were arranged in my big roasting pan with the rack removed.

Here is the squash after it was roasted at 350 degrees for an hour and a half. By this time it was nice and tender and easy to scrape from the rind. I much prefer roasting my pumpkin (or squash) to boiling it to make puree, because it lets some water evaporate and concentrates the flavor. I also mix any caramelized bits into the puree, which seems to give it more color.

Two cups of the finished puree went into the pie. The other EIGHT cups went in the freezer in 2 cup portions.

I made the pie using a combination of recipes I found online for pumpkin pie, taking the elements I liked best from each. Turned out great. I guess since I modified other's recipes to make my pie, I can give you the recipe without breaching copyright.

Cushaw Pie

1 recipe pie dough for a single crust 9 inch pie (it's really not that hard to make yourself)
2 eggs
2 cups cushaw squash puree (or any winter squash or pumpkin)
1/4 cup half and half cream
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1. Make your pie crust, roll out, and line a 9 inch pie plate with it. Trim and crimp edges.

2. Dock your crust well and pre-bake it at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Let it cool.

3. While your crust is cooling, beat eggs with a whisk. Then whisk in squash puree and half and half.

4. Whisk in sugar, flour, vanilla, and spices.

5. At this point you can leave your filling and pie crust overnight in the fridge like I did or bake it right away. I heard somewhere that custards (which pumpkin pie is) do better when left to sit overnight before cooking. It was convenient for me to do so this time, but I'm sure it would be fine without this rest period. I let my crust and filling come to room temperature before proceeding.

6. When you are ready to bake, pour the filling into your pie crust and smooth top with a spatula. Arrange pretty pie crust scrap decorations on top as desired.

7. Put pie on a cookie sheet for easier handling, and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Mine actually could have been pulled out at more like 35 minutes, but that's probably because I let the filling get to room temperature before baking (rapid temperature changes are not good for custards). Take your pie out of the oven before it looks done! This is very important, because it will continue to cook as it sits on the counter cooling. If it looks done in the oven, it will be overcooked once it is cool. This is the cause of cracked, rubbery, yucky pumpkin pies. Bake your pie gently and take it out before it looks done, and you will have a smooth, creamy, yummy pie.

8. Let your pie cool to room temperature on the counter, then stash in the fridge until chilled. Serve with a nice big blob of whipped cream.

3 comments:

  1. cushaw was my only surving squash. it's cushaw pie for Thanksgiving thank you for the recipe. yours is an interesting site

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  2. I am currently attempting your recipe as this is my first year growing cushaw pumpkin. Thanks for the recipe!

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