I love pumpkin pie- especially for its simplicity and rustic-ness. While I don’t know the real history of the pumpkin pie, I can only imagine that everyone from the earliest American Indians to the original homesteaders have been baking forms of pumpkin custard for a long time. Pumpkin pie’s roots go deep, and I love that.
Somehow “Squash Pie” doesn’t sound quite as appetizing… though I can tell you that I don’t think I’ve ever even made a pumpkin pie with an actual pumpkin. Botanically, all pumpkins are a type of squash. And there are many different types of squash that are not pumpkins and are just as good, if not better at making pie than most “pumpkins.” Got it? So, I’ll be calling them what they are to me: squash. I love squash pie.
Squash are one of my favorite things to grow, and just like apples there is an endless amount of varieties, all with slightly different tastes and textures, each one unique. I love growing new types, cracking them open to see the shade of orange inside, roasting them up, and discovering what interesting flavors that particular variety contains! If you don’t have the space to grow winter squash (they take up a LOT of space!) then seek out an interesting variety at your farmer’s market. Growers love to grow squash- I’m sure you’ll find something fun there!
Making the Perfect Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie shouldn’t be complicated, and it definitely doesn’t need to contain things like sweetened condensed milk. And while I can’t remember the last time I bought a can of pumpkin- it’s definitely okay to use if you’re in a pinch. Though you’ll never get the depth of flavor that a homegrown, oven-roasted squash will give your pie. Better yet if you can combine more than one type of squash!
This Crustless Maple Pumpkin Pie has a great texture- which is a vital component of a good pumpkin pie! It is very smooth and creamy, moderately dense but not paste-like, perfectly sweet with the deep caramel-y flavor of maple syrup, and boldy spiced- I like a lot of spice in my pie.
Because there is no crust, this pie will benefit from textural contrast- consider topping with chopped dried cranberries and toasted pecans, crumbled gingersnap or snickerdoodle cookies, and definitely something creamy… classic whipped cream is my favorite, with vanilla bean ice cream coming in at a close second!
By the way, this is a great way to do pie if you are cooking for a crowd with different food sensitivities. One crustless pie, various toppings to accommodate a lot of different dietary requirements!
If Using Crust
I went crustless for this pie, but you could absolutely pour your pumpkin custard into your favorite pie crust. If using traditional pie crust, no need to blind bake it or anything- just put your raw dough into your pie pan, then pour in the filling. You will want to adjust the baking temperature though: Preheat the oven to 425F, bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and finish the baking for 35-45 more minutes.
Crustless Maple Pumpkin Pie Recipe
2 1/2 cups of roasted squash or pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 cup cream, half and half, or canned coconut milk (I recommend cream)
2/3 cup maple syrup (the real stuff only, please)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (this is the best, and yes it’s worth the price)
Preheat oven to 350F. (See changes above if using a crust)
This really couldn’t be easier… put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and uniform, about 1 minute. Pour into a greased pie pan (I used avocado oil spray).
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the center is puffed up but jiggles ever so slightly when you wiggle the pan.
Cool the pie. Pumpkin pie is best served chilled, if you ask me! It’s even better second or third day, so don’t be afraid to make it ahead of time!
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