Thanksgiving was different this year, and I definitely missed the big family gathering, traditional holiday foods (mostly the secret stuffing) and post-meal nap/movie on the couch. But, if we couldn’t have that this year, our little Thanksgiving was the perfect Plan B.
We made this pie the night before, and decided, since there was no one coming over, there was no reason we couldn’t eat it for breakfast on Thanksgiving day. This could very much turn into a new tradition.
The rest of our meal came together throughout the course of the day, interspersed with video calls with family and friends and lots of time hanging out on the couch. While not the Thanksgiving we wanted, it was still the best the day could be, and I’m very thankful Erik and I were able to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade.
And now I’m sitting on the couch with our Christmas tree up and lit, and ready for the rest of the holiday season, which can 100% still include this pie!
To make things less stressful, I made this pie over the course of 3 days, and will give my instructions in that order. However, you could certainly make this in one or two days if that’s your preference.
On night one, prepare the butternut squash. Yes, this a pumpkin pie that uses butternut squash as a base rather than canned pumpkin. BraveTart is a genius, and you will not be sorry you gave this a try.
Cut a butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp/seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake at 400°F for about 45 minutes, until a fork pierces through easily.
Once cool enough to handle, scoop insides into a food processor and process until smooth.
Measure out 14 ounces in one container for use in the pie, cover, and refrigerate for up to a week. The rest is leftovers (which I’m just remembering I need to finish).
On day 2, make your own sweetened condensed milk. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but you should know I took the middle course on make-my-own for this recipe. I did the pie crust, filling, and sweetened condensed milk, and bought whipped cream (and decided against adding heath bar). The recipe had options to make my own whipped cream AND MY OWN CRUSHED HEATH BAR. That seemed a bit too much, and since I was doing this over a few days, the sweetened condensed milk wasn’t a big hurdle.
Combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Weigh everything together in the pan before starting to cook – when you’re done, it will 26 ounces less than when you started.
Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally until milk just begins to simmer, about 12 minutes.
Once this happens, keep cooking for another 30 minutes or so, stirring continuously. It will thicken and then randomly start to foam – at this point you’re almost done and should start weighing periodically to see if it’s 26 ounces less. (There will be 2 cups of sweetened condensed milk at the end.) When done, pour into a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use. This will keep for about a month, but should be brought to room temperature before use.
On night 3, we assembled the pie itself. Start by making the pie dough. I won’t lie, I wasn’t thrilled with the recipe I’m sharing here – it was sticky for me, but I made it work. I was intrigued by its lack of gimmicks (no vodka, all butter, etc.), but turns out those gimmicks make pie dough easier to use.
Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Add the cubed butter and toss with a fork to coat. Flatten each cube a bit in the flour (don’t fully cut in).
Add the cold water and stir in until dough starts to come together. Knead a bit to make a ball.
Roll out into a 5×10 sheet. Fold each 5 inch side towards the middle, then close the packet like a book. Fold top to bottom. Using as much flour as you need, roll into a 14-inch round.
I asked Erik to take pictures because my hands were all dough-and-flour-y, and this is what he did:
He says my blog photos aren’t fun enough, and he’s taking over creative direction. You’ve been warned.
Either way, we got the dough into the pie plate:
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When ready to bake, line the pie crust with aluminum foil and add your pie weights of choice. We used sugar, mostly because I was intrigued by the thought of using roasted sugar in other dishes later. I’ll update you on how that goes. Erik again wanted more fun in my pictures here:
Bake with the pie sheet on a cookie sheet at 350°F for 1 hour, until golden and set. I learned this year that baking a pie on a baking sheet actually serves a purpose other than catching filling that’s trying to escape – it helps crisp up the bottom of the pie crust. Which explains why I’ve had issues in the past with soggy pies – I always thought the baking sheet was for messy pie fillings, and wouldn’t use one.
Finally, we’ll make the pie itself.
Start by preparing the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butternut squash purée, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, butter and eggs until smooth.
Pour into the pie crust and place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until edges are set and center is slightly wobbly.
Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours to set the custard.
We’ve been storing this at room temperature lightly covered with tin foil, and I’m confident we’ll be finishing it today (the recipe said it would be fine at room temperature for 4 days).
I’ve yet to succeed in getting a pumpkin pie not to split in the middle, but some whipped cream and creative cutting avoids that eyesore.
Butternut Squash Pumpkin Pie
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 recipe sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 fully baked pie crust
Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
All-Butter Pastry Crust
- 3/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons (4 ounces) flour
- 1/2 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Start by preparing the butternut squash. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp and seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake at 400°F for about 45 minutes, until a fork pierces the skin easily.
- Scoop squash into food processor and process until smooth. Set aside 14 ounces for use in filling. Refrigerate until ready for use.
- Next, make the sweetened condensed milk. Place all ingredients into a large saucepan. Weigh saucepan with ingredients – it will be done when the whole system weights 26 ounces less.
- Cook over medium heat until just starts to simmer, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
- Once it begins to simmer, continue cooking, stirring constantly, for another 30 minutes, until mixture thickens and reduces by 26 ounces.
- Pour into a jar and seal tightly. Refrigerate until ready for use (but bring to room temperature first).
- Next, make the pie crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
- Add the cut up butter and toss to coat in flour. Press each pat flat.
- Add the cold water and stir/knead to combine.
- Roll out on a generously floured surface into a 5×10 sheet. Fold the 5-inch sides in towards the center, then close the whole packet like a book. Fold once top to bottom.
- Roll dough, using as much flour as needed, into a 14 inch round.
- Transfer to pie plate, pressing into bottom and sides, and folding over edge to create the crust. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, cover in tin foil and add pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet at 350°F for about an hour. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil. Cool to room temperature.
- Finally, make the pie itself. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butternut squash purée, sweetened condensed milk, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, butter and eggs until smooth.
- Pour mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake at 375°F on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until edges are set and center still wobbles slightly.
- Remove from oven and cool at room temperature until custard is set.