Friday, October 19, 2012

The Incognito Pie

You remember Bobby Bear singing the Shel Silverstein poem "The Wonderful Soup Stone"?

"I swear you could taste the chicken and tomatoes
The noodles and the marrow bone,
But it really wasn't nothing but some water and potatoes
And the wonderful wonderful soup stone."

Well, I found the wonderful, wonderful Red Kuri Squash while I was at the craft fair. The fair was at a garden co-op and while I was trying to warm up inside the farm stand I was looking at all the goodies they had. 

Mis-named as "Red Kurl"

     I had never seen this kind of squash before, normally you see butternut, acorn, kabocha, spaghetti, etc...I was told that this squash is more of an heirloom that is grown in Meso America and that it tastes like had me at chestnuts. I love chestnuts and I'm happy that they are making a comeback in the American garden. If I could find a place to plant a tree in my backyard, I would. No Thanksgiving in my house is complete without chestnuts. Right before turkey day, I like to roast them in the oven. I put my chestnuts in my stuffing and the stuffing does NOT go in the bird! I always get twice as many chestnuts so I can eat them as I peel them.
     Back to the squash. I picked out a lovely squash and took it home. Then I ran into my problem...the problem of "Oh crap, I just bought this really cool thing and have no idea how to use it". Then I though, well, squash is squash....soup? Though I found this really great recipe at The Kitchn for a Kuri Pumpkin Coconut Soup, sadly I didn't have enough squash.
   So I thought how about a pie? If this squash is supposed to be in the pumpkin family and tastes like chestnuts......
   I first cut the squash and roasted it in the oven. The squash is *very* hard to cut. I ended up using a big sharp knife and banged another knife on it to hack my way through it. I scooped out the seeds and quartered each half. I drizzled melted butter over the squash (it was on a cookie sheet) and placed it in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees.
   When it was all nice and golden brown, I took the squash out and let it cool. Then I sliced the skin off and had my first taste. I tasted exactly like chestnuts! It was so weird....
    I then pureed the squash. You can use a food processor, blender, etc.....
    Wile the squash was cooking I was making my dough. I used Martha Stewart's recipe for tart dough because it sounded really good and when it's baked, it tastes like a sugar cookie.


6 tbspn salted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

First beat the powdered sugar and the butter in an electric mixer (with the paddle attachment) until they are creamy. I chopped my butter up and added it slowly.

Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix them in.

Add 3/4 cup of flour and mix on low speed until combined. Then add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and mix until that is combined. Do NOT over mix!!!! Then you will have tough dough that will not want to be rolled out. The key is to mix the flour in until it is just incorporated into the rest of the mixture.

Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a circle, flatten it, wrap the dough and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

If you time things right, the dough can be chilling while the squash is cooking.....

On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper (or a silpat pad), roll out the dough so it will fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Trim the overhanging dough. I used my left over dough to make "cookies". I just cut up the strips of dough and popped them in the oven for a bit, they tasted like sugar cookies. Put the pie pan with the dough into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Pie crust ready to go in the oven

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the pie pan from the freezer, place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and fill the pie with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the parchment and pie weights/beans (the weights will be hot!) and return the crust to the oven and continue baking until light golden brown all over, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. While the shell is cooling, you can make the filling!

I had enough dough to make a mini-tart as well.

Kuri Squash Pie Filling

I modified one of my favorite pumpkin pie recipes for this. 

8oz mascarpone cheese (this is what gives tiramisu it's creamy texture)
1 1/2 cup roasted kuri squash puree
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tspn fresh ground cinnamon
1/8 tspn fresh ground nutmeg
2 tblspn all-purpose flour
1 tspn vanilla extract

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the mascarpone cheese until smooth, a minute or so, you'll be able to tell that it's loosening up a bit. Add the kuri squash puree, egg, brown sugar and the spices. Beat until they are incorporated. Then add the flour and the vanilla. Beat until everything is combined.

Pout the mixture into the crust. Place it in the oven for 45-60 minutes. The surface should have some cracks in it. If you are worried about your crust burning, you can add some tin foil around the edge to protect it. 

Remove the pie from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes. The you can put it in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with some whipped cream and enjoy!

Cake needs a reason, pie, not so much. Yay Pie!

Now, you might want to substitute another squash for the red kuri, I say, okay, but at your own risk. 
  This pie has a super velvety texture and the flavor is outstanding. It's not too sweet and you can definitely taste the chestnut tones. I don't know what another squash, like butternut, would taste like in this. 
   If you can get your hands on some Red Kuri Squash, I highly recommend making this pie!

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