butternut squash, sweet potato pie

butternut squash and sweet potato pie

This is a small pie, tiny actually, because I don't want it around for a week preventing me from getting on with the next thing. Is that weird or what? It's made of one smallish butternut squash and 1/2 a sweet potato and there is about 50% surplus filling. The pie crust was started with 1 cup flour and 3/4 stick butter with another tablespoon added because a portion of the flour looked insufficiently butterfied. No lard this time, no Crisco. The dough was rolled thickly.

I cannot describe how brilliantly delicious this filling is. I taste tested at each step and enjoyed it all along the way. It got better and better as I went along. The whole process was rather impulsive. The roasted butternut is already sweet as it is and would probably be fine left alone, I hesitated adding sweet potato, but that did add depth, although already sweet and hoping to avoid the mixture becoming saccharine, I added sugar anyway and that made it even better. The sugar was creamed with egg which would be the thing that firmed the filling into a sliceable pie, (2 jumbo eggs) and a few tablespoons butter. Then vanilla, because vanilla makes everything better, then grated ginger, BANG! Nobody ever expects ginger, Then grated orange peel, which I must say was masterstroke. Melody and I ate the filling just like that, raw egg and all.

I Tasted the crust separately and I like that all by itself too. It would go great with coffee in the form of little cookies. Together, crust and filling, they're stupendous.

Butternut squash halved, oiled and roasted (1 hour @ 325℉) along with whole yams oiled. White and brown sugar, butter, and egg whipped in mixer. Rasped ginger and orange peel added along with vanilla.

Roasted butternut squash and sweet potato approximately 70%/30% scooped from roasted shell and added hot by spoonful into mixer while rotating to temper the egg/sugar mixture before adding in bulk. I just kept adding squash until I got the desired thickness.

Tasted, I keep doing that to see where I'm at, plus I didn't have breakfast. I did not add condensed milk or Eagle brand as customary for this sort of thing, nor milk or cream, nor spices because I didn't want the color to darken. I liked the way the uncooked mixture (raw egg) tasted but I did want trace spices to finish so I added them in a single layer internally. Filled the pie 1/2 way, sprinkled moderately with cinnamon and allspice, then continued filling and sprinkled moderately again on the surface. That's the only spice added, save for the ginger and the orange peel within the mixture. Clever, eh?

The crust is made the farm lady way. I should put a couple water balloons under my shirt to really get into the whole method-acting feel of it. Cubed cold butter smashed directly into flour seasoned with sugar, salt, and a little cinnamon. Continue smashing until the flour is fully butterated and the butter is fully floured. That's the best way I have to describe it. There should be small chunks of butter but not large chunks, and all the flour should have some fat connected to it. The flour should be fairly fatty, whether you use butter, lard, or Crisco, or any combination of those three. Then add water sparingly in increments while mixing and moving with the aim of using as little water as possible. I keep the tap running on cold and let it drip off my fingertips of one hand while the other hand is stirring. Just enough to barely hold the mass together. BARELY! It's fun, like Play Doh.

Press together in a wad, wrap and chill. This gives time for the water to disperse itself molecularly evenly throughout the ball via the miracle of osmosis, or summat. . Bakers call it "relaxing the dough" but I call it "allowing the water to evenly disperse". Chilling keeps the fat particles hard. You don't want the fat to liquify or to become homogenized throughout the flour because the slight irregularity of the fat is how you achieve flakes, the best you could get otherwise is crumbly crust which isn't at all bad but it's not as fantastic as flakiness is. It's why I chose not to process dough in pulses like experts recommend and it's why my crust is better than theirs, even better than Martha Stewart's. That right, I said it, my pie crust is better than Martha Stewart's. Press it out by hand, then roll it flat. It should be slightly crumbly while rolling and somewhat difficult to handle. If it's too cooperative, you've probably added too much water. You can either correct it with flour or proceed, it's your gamble. I like to roll it thickly for a stacked flake-flake-flake effect. As I already said, this dough makes excellent little cookies.

Pie shell pre-baked. It was not chilled first, nor was it protected with weight as experts do, so it collapsed a little and shrank slightly but not enough to ruin it. The top was decorated with extra trimmings and placed to disguise the collapsed deformity, but unevenly, zen-like, as if leaves fell randomly, which is completely irrelevant here because it will hardly last long enough for anyone to notice.

dough ball

dough flattened

baked pie shell

pie shell filled

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