Quite a few years ago, my daughter and I started a tradition of making pumpkin pies from scratch for Thanksgiving. Initially, we used a pumpkin left over from Halloween. Then on a visit to Bauman Farms in Gervais, OR, I was talking with Brian Bauman about the pies we made and he said that instead of pumpkins, we should use sweet meat squash, which was a squash that I was not familiar with. In his opinion, sweet meat squash made the very best pumpkin pies. So, a sweetmeat squash I bought and we now use sweet meat squash for our pumpkin pies.
Sweetmeat squash is sometimes considered an Oregon treasured heirloom and at one time was not widely available. Today it is available at farmers markets and specialty grocery stores, but my understanding is that it is still not readily available throughout the United States.
HERE IS OUR RECIPE:
Cut the squash in half (not always an easy task with the hard skin) and scoop out the seeds. Lay the two cut pieces, cut side down, on a baking pan or cookie sheet with about 1/2 inch of water. Place in a warm oven (350 degrees) and let it steam until the pulp is soft. Then scoop out the pulp and either mash or puree it.
Note that this recipe makes four pies. That may seem like quite a bit, but once your family has tasted this, you will be surprised at how quickly it will disappear.
Here is what you need for the pie filling:
• 4 cups of sweet meat pulp
• 1 lb brown sugar
• 8 eggs (separated)
• 4 cups milk (we use evaporated milk)
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoon ginger
• 2 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Beat the butter into the warm pulp and add sugar, salt, spices, and the egg yolks. Mix this well and add the milk which has been brought nearly to the boiling point. Add the egg whites which have been stiffly beaten. Pour into four pie shells and place in oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees for about another 40 minutes. We have found that often it does not actually need to be baked for 40 minutes so check often.
Many cooks have their own recipe for making a pie shell but here is a quick and easy one that a friend gave me. Since the recipe for the pumpkin pies is for four pies, this pie shell recipe would need to be repeated four times.
Makes one pie crust:
• 1 cup flour
• 1 stick butter or margarine
• 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Mix this together and pat into pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until brown.
I hope you will enjoy this pumpkin pie, or should I say sweet meat pie. It has been a favorite in our family for years.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!