I am not sure I will ever make Pumpkin Pie again for Thanksgiving as this pie was richer, tastier and had a creamy, beautiful texture. I found the recipe online and changed it up a bit by making it with a Ginger Snap crust. I also thought serving the pie with ginger infused whipped cream would make it extra special. It did! And finally, my good friend and fellow foodie, Dorita Pina, told me she always roasts pecans using maple syrup instead of sugar and thought this would also be a nice touch on our Thanksgiving Day pie. Brilliant Dorita! The nuts were very crispy and flavorful making an attractive border on the pie.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIE
Ingredients: FOR THE FILLING
3 large eggs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used roasted cinnamon for added flavor.)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups roasted butternut squash, pureed
Ingredients: FOR THE CRUST
1/2 cup Ginger Snaps, crushed
1/2 cup Graham Crackers, crushed
3/4 cup pecans, very finely chopped (I used my Mini-Max food processor.)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. dried Ginger powder
5 Tbsp. butter
That sounds like a lot of butter, but it really keeps the crust together and as it pre-bakes becomes caramelized. Bake the crust in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 12 minutes. If doing ahead of time let the crust cool completely, then cover and place in fridge until ready to fill.
Ingredients: FOR THE ROASTED PECANS
1 lb. pecan halves
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 large egg white, beaten until frothy
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients and spread nuts out on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with PAM. Bake in 300 degree preheated oven for about 45 minutes until nuts are nicely browned. Stir a couple times as they bake to make sure all the nuts crisp up evenly. Cool. This is also many more nuts than needed to ring the pie, but the nuts store well in a covered jar for up to a week.
I roasted twice as much squash as needed for the pie, but it’s nice to have it all cooked in the fridge. I also roasted and pureed the squash the day before Thanksgiving and made the crust day before, too. On the morning of the holiday I made the filling, baked the pie, made the maple candied pecans and infused the whipped cream with ginger.
Ingredients FOR GINGER INFUSED WHIPPED CREAM
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 inch knob of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp. of candied ginger, chopped.
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream with the gingers over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat, but let it cool in the pan. Strain through a fine mesh sieve pushing on the ginger to extract flavor. Chill thoroughly before whipping. I also like to chill the beaters in the freezer before whipping and place the chilled cream in freezer for about 5 minutes before whipping. This allows the cream to whip much faster.
TO ROAST THE SQUASH:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and salt lightly. Place the squash on a foiled baking sheet and roast for about 40 – 45 minutes or until squash is very tender. Let cool and then scoop out the squash from the skin. Because it is so tender it is easy to mash with a large fork. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
If doing all the same day, reduce oven temp to 365 degrees.
In a large bowl beat eggs thoroughly. One by one, add sugar, spices, salt, vanilla, cream and squash puree. Pour the mixture into a 10 inch pie plate. I still had a little mixture left over so made a mini pie in a ramekin.
Bake on a baking sheet until filling is set, about 45 – 50 minutes. The center of the pie will still be a bit wobbly. Cool to room temp on a wire rack. Once cooled, arrange the Maple Candied Pecans.
Here’s the pie out of the oven, cooled with its Maple Candied Pecan edging. This pie sounds like a lot of work, but because you can do so many things ahead of time, it really is not.
|And here’s my husband, Jerry with JoJo
on his lap, enjoying the first piece of pie!
…well, Jerry is! JoJo not so interested.
Last time you saw our complete menu. The brined and smoked turkey was a huge hit. I brined the bird for 2 days prior to smoking. This is the brine I used:
2 gallons water
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. black pepper corns
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 large sprigs of fresh sage
Combine all and stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. I used a turkey oven roasting bag to brine the turkey, which worked well. Place the turkey in any food-grade bucket or brining bag. Seal and place in a large roaster in case your bag starts to leak, which mine did. Turn the turkey morning and night to ensure that all sides benefit from the brine.
I had never smoked a turkey and was concerned it might dry out so also made an Apple Cider reduction to baste the bird as it smoked.
APPLE CIDER REDUCTION
Reduce by half: 2 cups apple cider, 3 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1 stick cinnamon. This can also be made a few days in advance.
I couldn’t believe how burnished the skin became. This bird was moist, juicy and flavorful. And, VERY smoky!
Since I had the smoker going I decided to smoke some chicken livers to make BOURBON INFUSED LIVER PATE with smoky bread toast points!
You can find these recipes on my blog. The only difference is I smoked the chicken livers for about 20 minutes before continuing with the recipe. I served the pate with a Cranberry Ginger Sauce and Onion and Apricot Jam. These recipes are also on my blog, but if you need help finding them, please just let me know. Pomegranate seeds were the perfect contrast to the creaminess of the pate.
Here are a few more scenes from our holiday eating extravaganza…
OUR GATHERING WAS SMALL,
BUT IT CERTAINLY WAS FESTIVE,
FUN, AND FILLED WITH LOVE!
I HOPE YOURS WAS, AS WELL!
ON TO THE NEXT HOLIDAY!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM
MY KITCHEN TO YOURS!