Simple and Delicious Squash Pie and Ice Water Pie Crust Recipes–Something You May Want To Try This Holiday Season

squash-pie1I got out my recipe box tonight, as I wanted to find my pie crust recipe; actually, I have two different recipes that I’ve used over the years, one that you start with boiling water, and the more traditional one in which you finally bind the ingredients together with a little ice water. Homemade squash pie has been on my mind, especially thinking about my mom and the pies she used to make from the squash we raised on the farm. Besides, the weather’s cooler here in Houston, and, it is, after all, Thanksgiving time, so heating the oven is something thinkable.

I made squash pies, and “mmm”, they are good; I just tasted one. I think squash pie has a mild flavor when compared to pumpkin pie. To be honest, I didn’t follow a recipe, but I did make everything from scratch, cooked the squash and all. My mom used to make squash pies, and her recipe has fewer ingredients than what I used. Here is my very own squash pie recipe:

mixer1-2 medium butternut squash, halved and the seeds cleaned out (a good melon baller is great for cleaning out the seed cavity). Bake in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil at about 325 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover and let bake for 15-20 more minutes so that some of the squash’s own sugar carmelizes and turns a golden brown. Test to see if the squash is done by poking the center with a fork Let the squash cool, and peel or scoop out the pulp with a big spoon. I used a hand blender to puree the squash in a large mixing bowl. Add the following ingredients and mix them in with the hand blender, a large food processor, or an electric mixer in the order given:

-1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

-1 cup of half and half

-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

-3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

-3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

-3/4 to 1 cup dark brown sugar

-4 small eggs

-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

This makes a lot of filling, probably enough for three large pies. I think by halving the recipe and using only one butternut squash, you’d still have plenty of filling for one large pie or two small ones.

If the squash after cooking is dry rather than soft and moist, add more milk to the filling mixture and puree well with the hand blender or food processor; the filling mixture needs to be somewhat “soupy” in order to have a smooth, creamy pie after it is baked.

Pour the filling into unbaked pie crusts and bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees and 30-40 minutes more at 325 degrees. (You may need to adjust the oven temperature and the time depending on the size of your pies and your elevation. Perhaps it’s just my oven, but I find I need to decrease the temperature about 25 degrees for most things I bake here in Houston.) Test the pie for doneness by inserting a table knife in the center and checking to see if it comes out clean. If it comes out clean, the filling should be cooked. Be careful though of over-cooking; otherwise, you’ll end up with a “rubbery” pie. Take the pies out of the oven, and let them rest on a rack until they are cool enough to eat. Squash pies are great warm or cold.

Here’s the Ice Water Pie Crust (nice and flaky, and also tasty) recipe I use:

-2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon salt sifted into a bowl

-2/3 cup Crisco at room temperature

-a small glass of water with 2-3 ice cubes in it (you won’t use it all)

Cut the Crisco into the dry ingredients (I just use a tablefork for this) until all the Crisco is combined well with the dry ingredients and the dough is of a consistency of small crumbs.

At this point, you can cover the bowl and refrigerate for awhile, but you don’t have too. Slowly, by about a teaspoon at a time, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of ice water over the other ingredients and toss in with a fork. You may feel you want more water, but don’t do it, or the pie crust dough will get sticky. You should be able to “feel” the dough coming together as you toss it with the fork. Take half of the mixture in the bowl and form a ball with your hands. Flour your rolling pin and whatever surface you will be using to roll out the dough on. (I like to use a large plexiglass cutting board, which works even better if you chill it in the freezer or fridge before rolling out the crusts.) Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick and place it in the pie pan. This recipe is enough for two regular crusts, so it’s good if you’re making two one-crust pies or one two-crust pie.

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Check out my other posts about food and recipes here.

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