Have you ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch starting with a fresh pumpkin and ended up with so-so results?  Pumpkins for pies are hit or miss and some can lack deep flavor or have odd textures.  For a from-scratch pie of your dreams, I now use in-season butternut squash for reliable, delicious results.  Butternut squash makes a luscious, rich pie that will get rave reviews from pumpkin pie lovers.  Be sure to choose squash that seem heavy for their size.  A heavier squash means that the flesh is soft and moist.  Also, look at the stem.  The stem should be intact and dry (not soft and moldy).  If you find small butternuts, feel free to roast a few of them to make enough for the filling.

To make this pie really shine make the crust from-scratch.  Use real butter and Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour for the flakiest, most tender crust.

Fabulous From-Scratch Squash Pie

Serves 8 / 9-inch pie

TIP:  You can roast and puree the squash a few days ahead to save time on baking day.

Butter Pie Crust

1 stick butter (4 oz), cut into small dice and frozen

1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3-4 tbsp. ice water

  1. Set oven to 375 degrees and place rack in center position.
  2. Combine flour and salt in food processor with knife blade attachment and process for about 8 to 10 seconds.
  3. Add cold butter cubes and process by pulsing approximately 8 to 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Do not over mix.
  4. Add water one tablespoon at a time through food chute with processor running. Add only enough water to moisten so that the dough begins to clump. Do not allow the dough to gather into a single mass.
  5. Form into a 4-5 inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
  6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, into a 12” round; fit pastry into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim away excess allowing ½ to ¾- inch over hang. Fold dough edge under and crimp or flute. For best results freeze crust for at least 30 minutes before filling or baking.
  7. Cover chilled pie crus with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until crust dries out and crimped edges begin to color, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower oven heat to 300 degrees.
  8. While crust bakes, prepare filling (Squash Filling recipe follows):

Squash Filling

TIP:  You can use a food processor or a Vitamix mixer for the filler.  I prefer using a Vitamix which will get your filling clump-free and velvety smooth.

2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks

teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup (3 1/2 ounces) dark brown sugar

¼ cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch black pepper

1 ½ cups roasted and pureed butternut squash (see recipe below)

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

  1. While crust bakes, prepare filling: Combine eggs, vanilla, sugars, salt and spices in food processor or Vitamix and process until smooth. Add squash purée, and process until smooth. With machine running, pour in heavy cream, and process to combine.
  2. Scrape filling into hot prebaked shell, and bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Turn the oven up to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 20 to 25 minutes until filling is set two-thirds of the way in from the perimeter and the center still jiggles, about 40 to 45 minutes total (custard will continue to cook after pie is removed from oven). Tent edges loosely with foil if browning too quickly.
  3. Pie can sit at room temperature for 24 hours or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.

Pureed Butternut Squash

One large or two small butternut squash (enough to yield 1 1/2 cups of pureed squash)

Canola oil (or other neutral flavored oil)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel, seed, and cube squash.  Toss with a small amount of canola oil.  Roast for 30 minutes or until squash cubes can be pierced with a skewer or knife.  Place roasted squash in a food processor or Vitamix and process until smooth.  Do not add water or liquids when processing.  Set puree aside or refrigerate up to three days ahead.