Squash has been a vital part of the cuisine of the Americas since at least 8,000 BCE (based on Peruvian archeological finds). The name, squash, comes from the Narragansett Indian word, “askutasquash,” and means “eaten raw” though it refers to both summer squash and winter squash, which are generally cooked before eating.
Winter squash is rich in antioxidants and antiinflammatory compounds including high levels of α and β carotene and vitamin C, offers lots of fiber, and is being studied for its role in cancer prevention. It is delicious prepared in myriad ways. This month, as autumn winds turn our thoughts toward hearty, warming meals, we will explore the many health benefits of winter squash and taste some wonderful recipes along the way.
The recipe below was sent to CCSA as part of a series of emails from our resident chef, Dr. Linda Doody. She has been sharing her extensive collection of favorite recipes with friends, family, and the CCSA team as a means of maintaining connections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can read our other blog post about winter squash here, here, and here.
Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. – Jim Davis
Praline Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from McCall’s Cookbook, Food Editors of McCall’s (1963);
Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book, Judy Rosenberg (1991)
- For The Pie Shell
- 1 recipe pâte brisée fine (see below)
- For the Praline (From: McCall’s Cookbook)
- ⅓ cup finely ground pecans, firmly packed (walnuts can be substituted)
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 Tbsp softened butter
- For the Filling (From: Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book)
- 3 eggs
- 1¾ cups pumpkin purée (from fresh pumpkin or 15-ounce can)
- ½ cup + 3 Tbsp lightly packed dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 Tbsp molasses
- 1¼ cups evaporated milk or heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp rum (optional)
- For the Pâte Brisée Fine (From: Julia Child’s Kitchen, Julia Child )
- 1¾ cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached (according to Julia, measure by scooping dry-measure cups into the flour and sweeping off the excess)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1¼ sticks (5 ounces) chilled unsalted butter (For easier handling, freeze both the butter and shortening prior to making the dough)
- 2 Tbsp (1 ounce) chilled shortening (this serves to tenderize American flour)
- ⅓ to ½ cup ice water
- For the Pâte Brisée Fine
- Place flour and salt in food processor bowl with plastic or metal blade. Rapidly cut chilled butter and shortening into ¼-inch pieces and drop into flour. Process for ~3 seconds to mix the flour and butter until the butter is reduced to tiny bits less than 1/16 inch in size and each bit is coated with flour; this creates flakiness in the pastry. Be very careful not to overmix and soften the butter, turning things into paste—it should be light and dry. Pour in ⅓ cup of the ice water through the feed tube and process ~3 seconds, until dough has just begun to mass on the blade. Scrape out of the bowl onto a working surface and add more water by droplets to unblended bits if pastry seems dry; it should be malleable, but not damp and sticky. Gather the dough into a ball, pressing it firmly into a thick cake 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Flour lightly, wrap in a sheet of plastic and a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours* to give flour time to absorb liquid, to relax gluten so the dough will roll easily, and to chill the butter for easy rolling.
- Note: This is an all-purpose, quality French pastry dough for pie crusts, tart shells, quiches, turnovers, and appetizers—easily made in the food processor.
- *Dough will keep for 2 to 3 days under refrigeration, but if you have used unbleached flour, it will gradually turn grayish; you can still use the dough if the color is not pronounced. For longer storage, freeze the dough, which will keep it perfectly for months.
- For the Pie Shell
- Roll out the prepared pâte brisée fine and place in pie pan. Refrigerate pie shell until ready to use.
- For the Praline
- Blend all ingredients in a small bowl. Press gently onto the bottom of the unbaked pie shell with the back of a large spoon.
- For the Filling
- Place pumpkin purée, brown sugar, spices, and salt in a heavy-duty mixer and blend. Add molasses, milk/cream, and eggs; blend until smooth.
- For the Shell
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour filling into the praline-lined, unbaked pie shell. Cover edge of crust with aluminum foil. Place pie on the center rack of the oven and bake until top is shiny and set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. (Note: Do not over bake, which will cause the filling to crack.) Cool thoroughly in a wire rack.
Note from Dr. Doody
The constants in this recipe are the pie dough and the praline. The filling can be tweaked or even totally swapped out to suit your needs. This filling from Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book is a richer spicier option than the filling in the original McCall’s Cookbook recipe.