Sigh. The final Bellevue Farmers Market of the 2016 season is upon us, and we face a November forecast of "equal chances of below normal, equal to, or above normal temperatures for the entire state" (OWSC). Ha ha. Meaning it will either be colder than normal, normal, or warmer than normal in November. Good job covering those bases, Washington State Climatologist! But they do predict more precipitation, which means, no matter the temperature, we'll be holing up indoors more. The official vegetable of Holing Up has got to be the squash.
You can't just cut up a squash and eat it raw, dipped in ranch dressing. Squashes require planning and prep and sometimes long cooking times. (If you hate long cooking times, reach for the Delicata in the picture above.)
It so happened at the last Market that Adrienne's had pumpkin pies on offer, and that immediately gave me pumpkin pie on the brain. I had to have pumpkin pie! Well, I mentioned this craving to one of our farmers, and he pointed me to the pile of Kabocha squashes.
"I made a pie out of one of those squashes," he said, "and it tasted just like pumpkin pie. Once you add all the spices, you could use whatever squash you wanted. But the secret is our eggs. I used four of our eggs, instead of the the two the recipe called for."
What could I do? A need is a need. I bought the squash, and I bought a dozen eggs!
Now, the trick to squash is to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and throw it in the slow cooker on LOW for a few hours. Piece of cake. Although, if you plan to eat it just like that, it would taste better roasted in the oven, for caramelization. Since I planned to pumpkin-pie my squash, the slow cooker worked just fine. And since the recipe only called for two cups of cooked "pumpkin," I had enough left over for a pumpkin-sausage pasta and still have another cup-and-a-half in the freezer.
What I didn't have enough of was 9" pie pans. I had to use this too-large one; therefore my pie had no rim to it. No matter. I still managed to eat three-quarters of this pie entirely by myself over the course of five days. If the pie in the picture above were a clock face, I ate my way from noon to nine o'clock.
Pilgrim "Pumpkin" Pie (from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook)
one 9" pie crust, unbaked (used the recipe from The Bellevue Farmers Market Cookbook)
2 cups mashed cooked squash or pumpkin
12-oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs (I didn't dare use four)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, with mixer at medium, beat pumpkin and remaining ingredients until well-mixed. Pour into your pie crust and bake 40 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
The extra egg gave the pie more stiffness and a more custard-y flavor. Delicious. And even better the next day. And the day after.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to grab another squash or two to stock the pantry because my husband's butternut crop disappointed this year. Hope to run into you all one last time!