Rachael’s sister Maria – the baker in the family! – has shared this recipe with us. “I use canned pumpkin when I’m short on time,” says Maria,” but if you’re up to it, the best is fresh. Both versions are included here.”
For the pumpkin puree:
- 1 small sugar jack pie pumpkin
- 2 small butternut squash
- A palmful of amber sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 3 cinnamon sticks
For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/3 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
- 2 cups canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree (16 ounces)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (8 ounces)
First, make the pumpkin puree (if you are using canned pumpkin, skip this set of steps):
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Rinse off the pumpkin and the squash. Place on a baking dish or baking sheet and bake whole – yes, seeds, stems and all! – for 45-60 minutes. The skins will get a little glossy and start to turn brown in spots; when touched, the squash and pumpkin will start to feel slightly soft.
Remove the pumpkin and squash from the oven and cool on the counter until cool enough to touch. When cool, cut the squash and pumpkin in half and take out the seeds, then cut off the skin. Dice up the flesh into medium size chunks and place in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Add a palmful of amber sugar crystals, the apple cider and 3 cinnamon sticks.
Cover and simmer, adjusting the heat to keep just at a low simmer, until you have the consistency of chunky applesauce. Take the cinnamon sticks out of pumpkin mixture – do not blend them in further. Mash the mixture a little with a fork or potato masher. While hot, puree the squash mixture a third at a time in a blender; set aside.
Continue to make the crust and the filling:
Pre-heat the oven to 425°F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. When the teperature reaches 425°F, reduce the heat to 400°F (when you bake the pie, the first 15 minutes of baking time will be at 400°F; the best way to achieve this is to start with a slightly warmer oven than you need and reduce it to your target temperature).
In a medium size mixing bowl, using your hands only to mix, combine the flour and butter until crumbly. Add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and water just to the point where the crumbs come together to make a soft dough; do not knead the dough. Shape the dough into a circle and refrigerate it while you make filling.
In large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer on high speed, beat the eggs for at least 30 seconds; the eggs should double in volume. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low speed until combined; set
aside while you roll out the crust.
On lightly floured parchment paper, roll out the dough for the crust to about a quarter-inch thick. Place the crust in a standard 9.5-inch pie plate and cut the excess dough from the rim. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet before pouring the mixture into the shell; do not prick the crust before baking. You can use the excess dough to make a border for the crust, or roll it out and cut it with cookie cutters to place fun shapes on top of the pie (if you make dough decorations for the top of the pie, cook it for 15 minutes before setting the dough cut-outs on top of the pie so that the pie bakes a bit first).
Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and continue to bake for 45-50 minutes longer. Cool the pie completely before cutting.