We were invited to a proper Canadian Thanksgiving feast this year ... some folks we met through our antenatal classes have had a Canadian friend visiting over the last week and she wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving ... and they invited us along. I offered to bring the pumpkin pie (any excuse). Unfortunately, life with a little monster means that sometimes plans have to be cancelled at the last minute. After 2 very busy social days Lyra found it very difficult to nap at all yesterday morning and only finally closed her eyes after much protest 20 mins before we were supposed to leave the house for the party. I could't face waking her up and getting ready and then walking to our friends' house ... so I had to cancel. It was sad, but it is part of having a new-ish baby. They understood ...
And ... as they pointed out ... even though I was missing out on the turkey and trimmings at least I could still have pie! Thank goodness for that! I love pumpkin pie, I love the texture, I love the spices, I love the mountain of whipped cream plopped on top ... I love it all and while tinned pumpkin is becoming easier to find here in Edinburgh I still prefer to make it with butternut squash. The flavour is slightly mellower, I think ... plus it is so easy (ok, not as easy as opening a tin...but still pretty easy).
I like to buy a squash that is just over 1kg, I cut it in half length wise, scoop out the seeds, place it cut side down on a roasting tray and then roast untill super soft. Then all I do is use a fork to scrape the flesh out of one half, mash it up a bit and let it cool while I get the rest of the filling/tart shell ready.
I use a 2cm deep flan ring with a loose bottom and find that the flesh from half a squash is enough (it usually measures just over a cup of mashed squash). It might not be a traditional pie plate, but I like the daintiness of the fluted edge when it comes out of the tin. Yesterday I used shop bought pastry (did you read the bit about the new baby?) to make everything a bit easier, and it was.
While the squash is cooling and the tart base is blind baking I mixed up 2 medium eggs, 50g of light brown sugar, 100ml evaporated milk, 60ml maple syrup (or golden), and some spices: 3/4tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp all spice, 1/4 tsp ginger, and a good grating of nutmeg...oh and pinch of salt. Once the tart base was ready I blended the squash in with the rest of the filling, poured it into the base, topped with pastry maple leaves and baked at 150 for about 45 mins (until set).
It really is so so so easy. I've mashed up the other half of the squash and put it in the freezer for Christmas (if I can wait that long).
Gobble Gobble Gobble