Ok, it's inevitable -- as soon as I can smell fall in the air, I start to plan my holiday menus. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and for a few years, I have been preparing the meal for my family. Of course, my mom and my grandma help, but I have somewhat (ok, mostly) commandeered the holiday kitchen.
Let's just say that I already have a planned menu for T-day. I'm even testing recipes. I really do spend quite a bit of time thinking these things through...
So the last week has been all about pie. I've actually only produced two pies, but hey, they were both good. The first pie was a "harvest" pie, with apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, and a crumble topping. The second was an old favorite -- revamped. I'd been thinking about this pie that I made for Thanksgiving last year-- a double-layer pumpkin and pecan pie. It was good enough, but I had some minor issues. The pecan layer was pretty sweet, and the pumpkin layer was pretty boring (texture-wise). I felt that the overall concept was a good one, but that the details needed some updating.
My pie makeover:
1. Drop the canned pumpkin. Switch it out for some squash. I chose buttercup and roasted it myself, then mashed it with a fork but didn't puree it. I only added one egg, a little sugar and cinnamon, and then poured it into the crust. I par-baked it before adding the pecan layer.
2. Only use one egg for the pecan layer, and drop some of the corn syrup. I used less syrup, margarine, and a sprinkle of cinnamon for some spice. Overall, the pecan layer came out much thinner than usual, but that was fine with me. I'm not a big fan of custard-y pies anyway.
After baking and tasting the pie, I came to the conclusion that I had made all the right choices. The pie was not too eggy-tasting or heavy. The thinner top layer became a sort of candied nut topping, and the squash still looked (and tasted) like it was squash. Just what I had hoped.
The somewhat-Official Pecan Squash Pie Recipe:
1 pie crust
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cups roasted squash (mashed with a fork)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp margarine or butter, softened
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup pecan halves or pieces
1. Pre-heat oven t0 350.
2. Drizzle maple syrup over crust and set aside.
3. Whisk together squash, 1 egg, and half of the cinnamon, then pour into crust.
4. Par-bake the pie for 10-15 minutes.
5. Whisk together the other egg, the other half of the cinnamon, the margarine or butter, and the corn syrup.
6. Add pecans to the corn syrup mixture.
7. Add pecan filling to the pie carefully.
8. Bake the pie until the pecan layer is set and top is golden brown.