Yield
Makes a 10-inch pie

The problem with pumpkin pie is pumpkin. Most pumpkins teeter toward tasteless. Instead, roast butternut squash and you get lush sweetness and kicks of caramel.

Adding eggs to a pie filling as the last ingredient allows you to taste the filling for flavor and balance with no concern about eating raw eggs. If you can fresh-grind whole spices for the pie, all the better. Any leftover filling can be baked with the pie for Black Friday breakfast.

This recipe is an updated version of a pie that debuted in Bon Appétit in 1979 in a piece I did about our Italian family Thanksgiving.

Pastry

  • 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, measured by dipping the cup into the flour and leveling
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) cake flour, dipped and leveled
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces – 1-1/4 sticks) stone-cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
  • Butter for pie pan

Filling

  • 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 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • About 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten

Topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons sugar

Up to 3 days ahead, make the pastry in a food processor by first blending the flours, sugar and salt, then pulsing in the butter until it looks like peas. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon ice water and drizzle over the pastry. Pulse only until dough barely gathers together (3 to 5 seconds). Wrap and chill 1 hour to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 400°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 10" shiny, roomy metal pie pan (a dark one will overcook crust and a very shallow pan makes a skimpy pie).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to about 1/8-inch thick. Gently fit it into the pan. Trim off all but a 1-inch rim hanging over the edge of the pan. Fold over the pastry so it is doubled on the pan’s rim. Pinch it together every 1/2 inch or so for a fluted crust. Chill 1 hour to overnight. Then line with foil and weights. Bake 10 minutes. Carefully remove the foil liner, with a fork pierce the crust in several places, and bake an additional 5 minutes or until dry looking. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Keep at room temperature up to 24 hours.

Roast the squash flesh-side down on an oiled cookie sheet in a 400°F oven. Bake one 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 puree.

To make the pie, have the oven at 400°F. In a food processor or a large bowl, beat together the squash, sugar, salt, spices, vanilla, pepper, sour cream and milk until smooth. Taste for sweetness and spiciness, adding more sugar and/or spices if needed. Then beat in the eggs.

Pour the filling into the baked pie shell (save any extra for baked custard). Set it on a cookie sheet to catch any spills. Bake 15 minutes then reduce heat to 325°F. Bake another 45 minutes to 1 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 pass the cream at the table.

[More: It's not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie]