Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

 

Every year since 1999 I grow 200 or more pounds of winter squash. I started out growing two Hubbard types called Blue Ballet and Orange Kuri (Uchiki Kuri). These are small squash weighing between 5 and 8 pounds. Both are varieties of the species Cucurbita maxima and not pumpkins which are C. pepo. I started saving seeds from Blue Ballet and Orange Kuri the next year but wasn’t very careful to keep them from crossing. The next season I got a mixture of colors but the same good tasting squash. A couple of years later I let them cross with two other C. maxima varieties, Lakota and Jarrahdale. Now I have squash that are orange, blue, green speckled with orange, green speckled with gray, solid green, and peach plus any of these colors with stripes. Some have star burst patterns at the flower end. Some are teardrop shaped like Blue Ballet, Kuri, and Lakota, and others are flat and round like Jarrahdale. Still, they all taste good and mature fast in our short season.

 

Squash flower and bumblebees.
Squash flower and bumblebees.

 

I use my squash in soups, pasta sauces, bean dishes, breads, and pies. Yesterday, I cooked up four large squash and got five quarts of sweet pulp with a flavor like chestnuts. Tonight, I made two pies from some of that pulp. The recipe uses tofu instead of milk and eggs but all the other ingredients are the same for the most part. You may increase the spices (not so much the cloves, though) if you’d like your pie to be spicier.

The Recipe

This recipe is vegan and makes enough filling for one pie. To make two pies just double the ingredients. All spices are ground in powder form. The pie crust recipe is for two crusts for 9-inch pie plates.

Start with one pound of cooked mashed winter squash. To cook squash split them into quarters and scoop out the seeds. Cook in a covered roaster pan skin side down with a little water on the bottom (less than 1/2 inch deep). Cook in a 375 degree pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Check the squash after 30 minutes to test how down they are. Test by poking the squash with a fork. If done the fork will easily pass all the way through. Cook a little longer if it is not done.

    Filling Ingredients

16 ounces silken tofu
16 ounces mashed cooked winter squash
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup mild unsulphured molasses
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 and 1/4 Teaspoon ginger
1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon cloves
1/8 Teaspoon black pepper (optional)

Mix together the tofu and oil in a food processor until smooth. Add squash, process until smooth. Add brown sugar, molasses, salt, and spices and process until thoroughly mixed. This is enough for one pie filling. If you don’t want the pie so sweet cut the brown sugar to a half cup.

    Crust ingredients

2 and 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour, white or whole wheat or a blend
2/3 Cup shortening
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ginger
1 Teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup plus two Tablespoons water

Mix together flour, spices, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add water and mix well until a dough is formed. Press into a ball and flatten slightly. Take half the dough, form it into a ball and press between two sheets of wax paper and roll with a rolling pin. Put crust into greased pie plate, prick surface with a fork several times, chill 15 minutes. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a pre-heated 425 degree oven or until golden brown.

To bake the pie pour pie filling into pre-cooked crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees then at 350 degrees for the last 20 minutes to avoid burning the crust. Cool for at least one hour before serving.

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