As soon as the weather begins to cool, my food cravings change. During summer months, it's completely normal for me- and everyone else, I'm sure- to want watermelon for dessert, canteloupe and proscuitto salads, shrimp cocktail and BBQ... For most folks, it seems they look forward to the days they can retire to Florida and eat nothing but pulled pork and fried fish all the livelong day. Folks live for summer food, all light and chilled and perfect.
Not me, though.
I want fall.
I don't want the leggings and pumpkin spice latte fall that seems to dominate Instagram and Pinterest feeds, though (seriously, pumpkin spice lattes? Ick.). I want winter garden foods. Beet salads. Black rice with root veggies. Fingerling potatoes on my pizza. And winter quash. So many winter squash. Stuffed acorns full of homemade sausage and garlic. Spaghetti squash reamed out and baked into a steaming pan of homemade gratin. Risotto made with sugar pumpkin and Gruyere cheese. Mostly, butternut squash pie.
I stumbled across a recipe years ago for the pumpkin pie alternative of butternut squash blended into a nilla wafer crust. A little timid at first, but lured into giving the recipe a shot (mostly because of the prospect of a solitary lick of Eagle Brand Milk- I won't lie), every fear of a dessert pie made of a traditional veggie melted away.
Originally taken from www.myhabitfix.com, I've altered the crust as well as the suggestion of stirring the filling- a direction that left the fiberous squash flesh a little too textured for many friends' taste.
Easy to make, with a warm, nutmeg-y scent that'll fill your house, this one will become a fall favorite, and may have you leaving the Pumpkin Pie of every fall holiday behind.
Makes 2 Pies
For the crust:
1 1/2 boxes vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed or ground
1/2 cup melted salted butter, plus more, if needed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Filling:
The innards of one large butternut squash, seeded, roasted until tender, and shelled
1 can Eagle Brand Milk (less one taste, for sanity's purposes)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix together the vanilla wafers and melted butter, adding more melted butter, if necessary, to help the crusts hold togeteher. Press into the bottom and sides of two pie pans (either 8" or 9").
In a Vitamix (or equivalent) add all ingredients for filling and blend until smooth. Pour, slowly, into prepared pans. Place pies into pre-heated 350 degree oven on lowest rack. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is set. If needed, cover pies with foil to prevent the tops from browning. Chill in the refrigerator.
Make a MASSIVE AMOUNT of whipped cream by beating together one pint (or more... I love some homemade whipped cream) heavy whipping cream and a teaspoon of vanilla until stiff peaks form. Heap whipped cream on top of pies and sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg.
You can store pies uncovered in the fridge for up to a week... if they last that long.