I haven't been baking as much as I used to, since I've been busy doing homework after dinner is over. My usual baked goods are quickbreads (banana, zucchini), cookies, and a few tasty apple cakes. I can't remember any time that I made my own pie crust from scratch. So this was an adventure! Next time I'll need to be a little more precise in my measuring techniques - it all worked out fine - but could look prettier. It tasted great!
Back in October, I made a maple kabocha squash puree that I thought would be great as a pie filling. At the farmer's market, I picked up some red kuri squash at the Atlas Farms booth. I don't like overly sweet desserts, so this filling might be a little savory for those of you with a severe sweet tooth. I also didn't make a traditional custard-like squash pie filling (like a pumpkin pie). Next time I'll add in an egg and some liquid so that the filling stays together a little more. I forgot to write down the measurements for the spices - adjust as you see fit! If your local farmers don't have red kuri squash you could also use kabocha, butternut, or the smaller pumpkins.
Maple Red Kuri Squash Filling
2 small red kuri squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp. kosher salt
Water for cooking
1/3 cup (appx.) maple syrup
3-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (a little less) nutmeg
A dash of ground cloves
Place squash cubes in a medium-large stockpot
Add about two inches of water (the squash won't be covered)
Sprinkle the salt across the top
Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low
Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until squash is fork tender
Drain and place squash into a mixing bowl
Puree with an immersion blender until smooth
Mix in butter, maple syrup, and the spices
Chill until ready to bake the pie
Delicious Flaky Pie Crust
I won't re-type this pie crust recipe, I'll point you to the blogs where I read about this great recipe. You can visit Delicious Dishings or Playing House for the link to the recipe. I will say that the secret to this flaky crust is chilled ingredients - especially the ice cold vodka. I used what I had in the freezer - guess I should call this Absolut Squash pie. You can't taste anything but the flaky deliciousness after baking. There is a reason that people go to culinary school to learn how to make pastries! I had a blast making this, but I definitely do not have the pastry patience!
A few notes on my pie crust preparation. First, after all this cooking I still don't have a large food processor. This means that I either process in small batches or I turn to my immersion blender. For this recipe, I'm sure that my immersion blender method affected my dough mixing success. It still came out great, but it was a little unwieldy to work with.
Second, I have a great rolling pin but nowhere to roll out the dough. I improvised and taped down a huge sheet of wax paper to my countertop. Next time - a silicone mat! Thankfully I had two balls of dough to work with (the recipe is for a double crust pie). The first didn't roll out very nicely, so I turned it into lattice strips for the top. The pastry gods were looking out for me - the second ball of dough rolled out much nicer.