Recipe & Photography by Divian Conner
The arrival of April is exciting. It marks the true start of really getting back outdoors. Even though this winter has certainly been one roller coaster of a weather ride, the authentic expected beginning of summer is right around the corner come April and May. Those are the months that the outdoor gatherings begin, trips and vacation getaways planned, people kneel in their gardens plucking weeds and making sure their lawns are the envy of all the neighborhood. I am a huge flower person, so these months mark the arrival of beautiful wild flowers and Queen Anne’s Lace that I can gather to top my dining room table.
The thoughts of food gardens, fresh produce being sold from local farmers, the excitement of all the wonderful meals I can make, April initiates the warmness of the upcoming summer and all of the thrills that make it one exciting wave.
When I think of warmer weather, being in the South, I immediately begin to think of fruits and vegetables. This brings about so many possible recipe ideas. Recently, I have had a big interest in vintage and lost recipes from the past–the ones that used to be so popular in an area but rarely get the front page like they used to. I have found cake ideas, fruit salad ideas, breads and buns recipes that are slowly being forgotten, recipes that were once staples at potlucks but not regularly showcased today as they should be. I have discovered and added so many delicious ideas to my list of things to make and a lot of them deal with fresh produce playing center stage. Not to say no one gets to savor these recipes today, but they are just lesser known or seen.
I do admit it is fun presenting family and friends with dishes they have not had the chance to experience and if using fresh ingredients, that’s all the better, right? Now, as a big pie lover, imagine the joy that leapt into this wee heart of mine when I found out about butternut squash pie. Why hasn’t anyone told me of this gemstone of a pie? I have a cousin who can knock your socks off with a carrot pie and my mind was blown. The delight when I ran across a recipe for butternut squash had me doing the happy toddler dance. Of course, I had to tweak it but oh boy, so good. Being big time sweet potato pie lovers, this pie was perfect for us and is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. I love not only discovering things that are new to me, but just knowing that in a pinch that I can substitute something for a similar experience of another is downright fascinating.
If you have ever had this pie, is it a staple for you and your family? If you have not made it in a while or if you have not had this delectable experience that is butternut squash pie, this is a gentle push for you to give it a go. I am certainly glad I did.
Butternut Squash Pie
Refrigerated pie dough – pat dough into pie pan and crimp edges. Use additional pie dough for decorations if desired.*
For the filling:
2 cups pureed butternut squash
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Pinch Of Salt
1/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick melted butter
Cut squash in half and remove all seeds and stringy pieces. (You can allow these seeds to dry to give away or save for your own garden.)
Drizzle the halves lightly with olive oil. Place cut side down on baking shoot and bake at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.
Once tender, use a spoon and scoop out the squash and place in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and tip into large mixing bowl. Combine all other ingredients and mix well.
Pour in prepared pie dish over the crust. Bake for about 50-60 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. About 30 minutes into baking, you may need to cover the pie with foil to prevent the crust from burning.
*I added pie crust decorations to my pie using cookie cutters. I bake covered for 30 minutes and then uncovered for the remainder of the baking time to prevent my added decorations from burning.