Although pumpkin has become our default winter squash for the holidays, from buttercup to butternut, plenty of other winter squash make great pies. My favorite is acorn because they’re so conveniently small and easy to deal with. And all those ridges mean that the squash won’t try to roll away while you’re cutting into it with a large sharp knife. Less rollability = fewer chances of cutting yourself. In other words, acorn squash are especially ideal if you’re just starting to learn how to prep and roast your own squash instead of relying on canned varieties.
You can use whatever winter squash you like for this pie — pumpkin, butternut, etc. — plus you can use canned rather than fresh-roasted squash. Acorn squash has a slightly milder flavor than pumpkin, though, so acorn squash pie is a nice change of pace when you’re entertaining during the holidays. Plus, since acorn squash isn’t available canned, you’ll wind up with a lighter-textured pie thanks to your freshly roasted pureed acorn squash. But whichever you choose, this will be a elegant pie to serve to your guests. And it’s easy to make, too!
Acorn Squash Pie with Oat-Almond Crust
For the crust:
2/3 cup oat flour, preferably made by running fresh rolled oats through a coffee/spice grinder until you have a powdery flour (use gluten-free oats if you’re making a gluten-free pie!)
2/3 cup almond flour
1 T. sucanat
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash sea salt
3/4 stick butter, chilled, preferably from grass-fed cows
2 to 3 T. whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows
For the filling:
1 3/4 cups freshly roasted and pureed acorn squash OR canned butternut or pumpkin*
4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
1 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows
1/2 stick melted butter, preferably from grass-fed cows
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup maple syrup, depending on how sweet you’d like your pie (if you’d like to top it with fresh fruit or whipped cream sweetened with a shot of maple syrup, 1/4 cup is probably enough; to serve the pie plain, use 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
Dash sea salt
Preheat oven to 425F and grease a 9″ glass pie pan well with butter. Make the crust by whisking together the flours, sucanat, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives. Stir in 2 T. of milk and check to see if the dough can be pressed together to form a large ball. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add another tablespoon of milk. Press the dough into the pie pan, spreading it evenly across the bottom and up the sides, stopping just short of the edge. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
In another large bowl, whisk together all of the filling ingredients. Pull the crust out of the fridge and carefully pour in filling. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 1 hour or until the center begins to crack slightly the way cheesecake does. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon, topped with fresh whipped cream (you can sweeten that with a dash of maple syrup if you like; a dash of vanilla is nice, too), and/or topped with fresh fruit. Leftover pie can be refrigerated for 4 days. (Tip: it makes a nice breakfast!)
* See last week’s acorn squash recipe for instructions on roasting acorn squash.