Pumpkinless Pumpkin Pie
I have a strong preference for cooking from scratch. This preference was born from the unique Buenos Aires expatriated culinary experience. The foods I want to eat are not available here. So I just have to make them myself. While we all know how much I like fancy, unique and ahem, expensive (why deny it?) restaurants, I usually find that I’d much rather cook. I guess it is another case of if you want something done right, do it your damn self.
This time it was pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I was a bit nostalgic for Libby’s Canned Pumpkin Goodness (you know what I’m talking about). But canned foods are pretty disgusting if you really think about it, and using fresh pumpkin is almost as easy as opening a can, and definitely more fun. Tastier? You be the judge. Anyway, there is no canned pumpkin here, so I had no choice. I also couldn’t find non-canned pumpkin, so I had to settle for Pumpkin’s sweeter, versatile cousin, Butternut Squash. Butternut may be useless in a jack-o-lantern situation, but does it right when it comes to pie.
Here the recipe I developed (and by developed, I mean scrounged together from random ingredients in my kitchen).
No-Libby No-Pumpkin Pie:
- 1 butternut squash
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 1/2 cup of cream
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- Spices of your choice: cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, clove, whatever
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of oats
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- dash of salt
- 1 egg
- Start with the crust. Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the butter and egg. Mix thoroughly, in case that wasn’t obvious. In a greased pie tin, press the dough together in bits until the entire dish is covered. No rolling necessary.
- Bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes at 350°, then remove from the oven and let it cool while you prepare the filling.
- First you have to deal with that squash. Squash is the most annoying vegetable to peel and cut, but that’s what you’ve got to do. If you want to take the easy way out then get a can of Libby’s. Remove the skin and cut into chunks. Steam or boil the squash chunks until tender. If you have a blender/food processor/hand mixer; then congrats, you’re living the high life, but for those of us who don’t have one, let the squash cook until it is exxxtra soft. This makes for less lumps. The perfect pumpkin pie is all about having no lumps.
- Let your squash cool down and then using a hand masher (that is what those of us not cool enough to have a hand mixer use) take out all of your aggression leftover from boxing class on that squash and pulverize it into hot orange puree. Drain excess liquid.
- Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Stir in the cream and honey and brown sugar. Add all your spices. Lick the spoon to make sure you like it. You don’t want any embarrassment around the Thanksgiving table, especially if your pie is competing with Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie. Grandma Ople doesn’t mess around.
- Make sure your mix is as lumpless as possible. (Now would be the time to whip out that electric hand mixer, you spoiled chefs.) Pour the mix into the shell and smooth it out so it looks pretty. Call me shallow, but appearance is crucial when it comes to holiday desserts.
- Bake at 350° for 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- If you’ve got that electric mixer then you should beat up some whipped cream to serve on top of this beautiful pie you just created with your own two hands. If you have an extra electric mixer you should give it to me. If you don’t have an electric mixer then you are out of luck. Beating whipped cream using your own arms and a wire whisk is not worth it. Do not serve this pie with whipped cream out of a can. We went over this earlier, stuff from cans is gross, and that stuff it not cream, its hydrogenated pork fat. YUCK.
Take the pie to your friends’ house for Friendsgiving and brag that you made this pie from scratch, not from canned pumpkin. They won’t care, or if they do, they will probably be annoyed because they prefer the canned stuff. Just tell them; ‘Hey, I’m no Libby, and if you want something done right, then do it your damn self.’