a very rustic squash pie

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Or, tales from the blogging struggle bus. Seriously, why all of the sudden is my phone taking grainy pictures? Why is the lighting in this house so miserable? Why does it have to be dark BEFORE 5pm? (Winter, I hate you.) I desperately want an SLR camera, but my budget laughs at the idea. I've had at least 4 recipes I've made that the photos depressed me so badly I decided not to post, and more that I was just too tired to photograph.

However, it's about to be Thanksgiving, and so I will give you pie, even though this photo is terrible and calling my crust "rustic" is a bit laughable. Whatever, this pie was delicious. It may look pumpkin, but it's made with acorn squash, although any old fall squash will do here. No puree here, either, just cooked squash mixed into custard, which is the intentionally rustic part of this pie. Here's the thing: this is really no more work than a pumpkin pie, but people will be way more impressed when you tell them it came out of a real squash instead of a can.

Despite its sad shape, the all-butter pie crust that was pretty easy to put together, and really tasty. Probably because of all that butter. I don't mind making pie crust, not really; but rolling it out is frustrating in a small-ish kitchen, and when one is just a teeny bit hungover and a lot sleep-deprived, it seems like an enormous task. So I may have given up when it came time to crimp the crust.

That's the great thing about desserts though, nobody gives a fuck if they look pretty as long as the thing tastes good. You're not on Chopped, no one's grading you for presentation. So don't stress, make a pie!

squash pie
adapted from Jonathan Waxman, in the Panna cooking app

You might read the instructions and feel overwhelmed, but the cool thing about pies is that they lend themselves to make-ahead steps. I made the crust and roasted the squash the day before, so day of I had par-baking and whisking to do and that was about it. Which is good, because like I mentioned, sleep-deprived and lazy. In addition, the Panna cooking app for iOS devices? Really helpful, delicious recipes accompanied with videos from famous chefs.

1 all-butter pie crust – follow the link for the recipe I used, refrigerated
1 2-lb fall squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, or red kuri all work here)
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Start by getting your crust out. Roll it out to an 11-inch circle, and place in the pie plate. Fold over the excess and crimp the edges. Chill for 30 minutes.

To prepare the squash, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and pulp. Dot the squash with 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with the salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Roast at 375 for an hour, or until squash is tender. Let cool, then use a spoon to scoop out the cooked squash flesh and place in a large bowl.

As you are waiting for the squash to cool, parbake the pie crust. Cover the crust with parchment and fill the parchment with beans or pie weights. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges.

Add the rest of the butter, the brown sugar, the eggs, cream, spices, and zest to the squash. Whisk together until nicely combined; it doesn't need to be perfectly smooth.

Pour into the par-baked pie crust. Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes, until almost set in the center. Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Serve with whipped cream.

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