I’m a big fan of winter squash. I love growing them, I love eating them, I love the way they look around the house and decorating my table and front door. They are so colorful, bright and beautiful! But what I love most about winter squash is the deep sweet flavor that you get when you roast it. In this recipe I take home grown winter squash and roast it to soft perfection. Making your own pumpkin purée cannot match the deep earthy sweetness of roasted winter squash. I’ve been making this winter squash pie for three years and I have never looked back at pumpkin even once. The dates that I use in this recipe to sweeten the pie add an even deeper caramel flavor to the filling. Don’t worry, you get all the same warm winter spices in this recipe that you would traditionally have in a pumpkin pie but the flavor is even better. Trust me, try this recipe, you will not be sorry! I used two varieties of winter squash in my pie this year, a homegrown butternut squash along with a homegrown carnival acorn squash. Both of these grow very well, and are easy to care for and prolific. So you get a lot of bang for your buck with just one or two plants. Any variety or combination of sweet winter squash will work in this recipe.
I love putting winter squash away after the harvest. It’s so satisfying to see all of that homegrown goodness put up, and knowing it is going to sustain you throughout the entire winter. This recipe will not only sustain you it will enlighten you.
This recipe makes a deep thick pie that can easily serve 12
3 Cups Roasted Winter Squash (about 2-3 pounds of squash before roasting)
3/4 Pound Pitted Dates
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Pinch Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Cream
Preheat your oven to 350°. Cut your squash in half and remove the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the squash on the sheet cut side down. Roast the squash until it’s fork tender, about 1 hour.
Let the squash cool and the scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon. Refrigerate the squash or freeze for future use. I like to roast several squash at a time and then freeze the meat for use in soups or more pies!
To make the pie, preheat your oven to 375°. Roll out your pie dough and shape it into your pie pan. In your food processor with the blade attachment add the roasted squash and dates and purée both until very smooth.
Add the spices, salt and vanilla and purée again. In a small bowl combine the eggs and cream and whisk lightly. Add this mixture into the squash slowly while the food processor is running. The filling should look fluffy and smooth. You may see some small pieces of date and that’s totally okay. You just don’t want it to be chunky!
Fill your pie with the squash filling and bake it on the center rack for 15 minutes at 375°. This helps get the crust headed toward a nice golden color.
Lower the temperature in the oven to 350° and continue baking for 40 minutes. At this point the pie should be set up and the middle shouldn’t jiggle when you gently shake the pie. Turn the oven off and open the door but don’t remove the pie. Let it cool in the oven for at least 15 more minutes. If your pie cracks when it cools, have no fear. That’s what the Maple Whipped Cream is for.
To make the Maple Whipped Cream
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
When the pie is completely cooled whip the cream and use a piping bag and tip to decorate the top of the pie for a pretty presentation.