My mom calls me every once in a while as she recalls the things they did at home growing up – in particular things that are relevant to this cookbook project.
A few weeks ago, her sister brought a bunch of squash – acorn or Kabocha – I am not quite sure; which if you don’t already know is what pumpkin pie filling is most often made of… I have been interchanging pumpkin and squash for years using what I have available at the time.
She asked if I had ever make pumpkin pie the way her mother did? I didn’t know there was more than one way to make a pumpkin pie but I am up for anything most of the time. And what a bonus… since I somehow didn’t recognize the squash I grew this – albeit tasty, hard as a rock and blue in color. The seeds of my mind didn’t match the actual squash – it just means I had better keep a better garden journal.
So, let’s make pumpkin pie. I didn’t video the process because of Sunday football.
First: you have to break into the squash. Usually I cut it in half and bake it until soft and peels easily. You can mash it and use it for pumpkin pie in the traditional way or measure it out and freeze it for later. My daughter uses a lot of squash for baby food.
This time, and this is what the difference is – you have to use the squash raw and that means you have to peel it before it is soft. Cooking squash is not for wimps… my friend Marci broke a butcher knife cutting into one of the squash I gave her earlier this month. Sorry about that…
After scooping out the seeds, you slice it as thin as you can without cutting your fingers off. Then you can either lay it flat and trim the outside edges off or you can attempt to use a paring knife to peel it like an apple. Then you slice it as if you were making apple pie out of odd-shaped apples and fill a heaping four-cup measuring cup with the slices.
Continuing on, you treat the squash slices just as if you were making an apple pie. To the 4 cups of slices add a 1/4 cup or less of flour and toss until thoroughly coated. Then add about 3/4 cup or less sugar (we like to sweeten our pie with ice cream); cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to your taste. On to the crust.
Traditionally, I use lard in my pie crust. And, I have a recipe that calls for one-pound conveniently packaged as such in the meat department of your grocery store. The recipe was printed in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church cookbook.
PIE CRUST FOR 8 PIE CRUSTS
(That is four pies with double crusts. Somehow I don’t roll mine out thin enough and never really get eight crusts.)
5 cups flour
4 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound lard
1 egg beaten; add enough water to make 3/4 cup liquid
1 teaspoon vinegar
DIRECTIONS: Sift flour, baking powder and salt; add te brown sugar and cut the lard into flour mixture, mixing well. Add the beaten egg, water and vinegar. Roll out for pie crusts.
I refrigerate wrapped dough while working on a pie as it rolls much better chilled.
We cannot eat four pies, okay we could, but that’s not a good thing and so I plan on making some pies for Christmas dinner with the family and freezing them unbaked. That way they will taste wonderfully fresh from the oven.
Thinking back to one of the wonderful pumpkin pies I had downtown Mandan at the soda fountain in the now-closed drug store I decided to make a crumb topping for this pie and also the apple ones. The only double crust pie was an organic blueberry and boy is that going to be wonderful.
In the mixing bowl of my wonderful KitchenAid mixer blend:
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup or more chopped walnuts
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
Use this as a top crust by sprinkling over the pie before baking.
My apple pies will be made from my canned apple pie filling of September. So, I just rolled out three extra crusts and froze them as well as the left over crumb topping. I will put those together right before baking.
Okay, back to the pumpkin pie.
Roll out the bottom crust; fill with the squash; sprinkle on the crumbs and place in a pre-heated 425° oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and continue to bake for about an hour or so, checking on how soft the squash is and how brown the crust is getting. My mom always leaves apple pie in the oven once she turns it off and she makes wonderful pie so I left it in there for another hour or so and then set it on the counter to cool.
Well, we let it cool until we couldn’t stand it any longer and had some for dessert. I didn’t put enough spice into it, but it was very good, in fact – I may have to see about tasting it now that it has been chilled over night in the refrigerator. Oh… is there nothing better than pie? Well maybe kuchen, but we will do that at a later date. In the meantime – get those recipes recorded and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can continue to work on our coffee table cookbook. Until then – Gute Essen.