Butternut 'Pumpkin' Pie

Pies peak on their first day out of the oven, but this pre-baked crust and roasted squash can easily wait 24 hours. Bake the pie hours before serving so it can cool.

The touchstone for our Thanksgivings, this recipe has crossed oceans and crisscrossed the country, traveling with us to wherever we’ve lived. We nixed pumpkin long ago in favor of butternut squash for its brighter flavor. The heartily spiced squash custard keeps evolving with our changing tastes. The latest touch is vanilla to point up the caramel edge of roasted squash. Black pepper entered the pie several years ago because it’s so good with cinnamon and allspice.

Cook to Cook: Adding eggs to a pie filling as the last ingredient allows you to taste the filling for flavor and balance with no danger of eating raw eggs.

There will be about a cup of extra filling that you could bake in a ramekin along with the pie. The squash could be roasted up to two days in advance.


  • l cup unbleached all-purpose flour , dipped and leveled
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, dipped and leveled
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into chunks
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  • Olive oil
  • 2 small to medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 3/4 cup sugar, or to taste
  • Generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Generous 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (not low fat)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped

1. Make the pastry: In a food processor blend the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar and salt, and pulse in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the eggs and pulse only until dough barely gathers together. Wrap and chill 30 minutes to 2 days. Roll it out to 1/8-inch thick and fit it into the pie plate. Leave a 1-inch overhang. Tuck that under so you have a standing border on the rim of the plate. Flute with your fingers and chill 1 to 24 hours.

2. Prebake the crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prebake the crust by lining it with foil, weight it with dried beans or rice, and bake 10 minutes, or until firm. Carefully tease away the foil and weights, pierce the crust with a fork in several places and bake another 5 minutes, or until golden. Cool and keep at room temperature up to 24 hours.

3. Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. With the olive oil, oil a large cookie sheet. Arrange the squash pieces flesh side. Bake them 1 hour, or until a knife slips easily into the thickest part of the squash. They should be extremely tender. Cool, then scoop out the squash and puree it completely in a food processor. You should end up with 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of puree.

4. Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the squash, sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, vanilla, pepper, sour cream and milk. Taste for sweetness and spiciness, adding more sugar and/or spices if needed. Then blend in the eggs completely.

5. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell. Set the shell on a cookie sheet to catch any spills. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F. Bake another 45 minutes to one hour. The pie is done when a knife inserted an inch or more in from the edge comes out nearly clean (the center will still be soft). Cool the pie on a rack. Chill if you are holding it more than a couple of hours. Serve the pie at room temperature, either topped with the whipped cream or just pass the cream at the table.

Copyright 2011 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. From A Spice Scented Thanksgiving Menu.

Prep time: 
45 minutes, plus additional 1 hour of chilling for the pastry
Cook time: 
2 1/2 hours, divided
Total time: 
About 4 hours and 15 minutes
10-12 servings

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