We’re living out the tail end of an early raging ice storm in these parts. The kids went off to school yesterday, but only a couple hours later, the school called to say the power was out, and I should come pick them up. Driving through Blodgett on the way to get them was pretty freaky. The roads were surprisingly ice-free even though some sort of precipitation was pouring down, but all the trees on the sides of the road were covered in ice and drooping perilously. I had to veer around tree limbs down on the highway, and I witnessed several whole trees tipping over, thankfully not on my car or the road. Once we were safely back home, I scanned through multiple anecdotal reports on Facebook of nasty road conditions, power outages, and general natural havoc.
Today, school was canceled again because the power was still off. I had big plans for the day but switched gears and decided to bake a pie and roast a giant pan of lemon-parmesan brussels sprouts instead. The two dishes hit the spot on this nasty day though I’m probably going to have to hang out on the fart patio tomorrow.
I have to confess that when I come across pumpkin pie at a Christmas party or buffet table, I usually skip it. Don’t get me wrong. I love pumpkin pie, but I kind of only love my mom’s pumpkin pie. Others just don’t live up. They’re too bland or too spicy or soggy or dry. My mom’s pumpkin pie is always just right, for me anyway. I called my mom up to get her recipe this morning, and then I tweaked it in a pretty major way by swapping in honey for sugar. I wasn’t sure if it would work flavor and/or texture-wise, but the end product turned out silky smooth, incredibly fragrant, and just right in terms of sweetness.
I used an ambercup squash (the orange ones in the photo below) in this recipe because I’ve never been too impressed with the taste of sugar pie pumpkins. I simply baked the halved, seeded squash in my barbecue until soft and then scraped out the cooked flesh to use in place of pumpkin puree.
This recipe falls on the less spicy side of the pumpkin pie spectrum. You could up the quantities of added spices if you prefer. Freshly ground/grated spices boost the flavor in a very good way.
If you’re in the market for more pie inspiration, I highly recommend following Tara Jensen @bakerhands on Instagram or checking out her blog. Her pies are always impressively beautiful but in a rustic, appealing kind of way.
Squash-Honey “Pumpkin” Pie1 pie crust (I’m partial to this rye crust from 101 Cookbooks, but be sure to halve it for a single bottom crust.) 2 large eggs 3/4 cup honey 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups squash or pumpkin puree (You can used canned, but it will be better if you make your own. This method works well, although this time I didn’t feel the need to run it through a food processor, and it turned out fine.) 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, spices, and salt. Add the squash puree, and whisk until combined. Add the evaporated milk, and whisk until combined.
Roll out the pie crust and line a pie pan with it. Pour in the filling.
To bake it in a propane barbecue, place several fire bricks on the grill and top them with a heat shielding device. (I use a Lodge cast iron pizza pan on top of four fire bricks as seen here.) Preheat everything on medium for about 20 minutes. Place the pie pan in the center of the heat shielding device.
To bake it in an oven, preheat the oven at 350° and place the pie on a rack in the middle.
Bake the pie for a hour or more until the center no longer jiggles when the pan is nudged. Cool thoroughly before slicing and eating.