Squashy Pumpkin Pie
Dorcas Annette Walker
We just celebrated our annual Pumpkin Festival that draws crowds in from all over the southeast. During this time the tiny town of Allardt bursts with all kinds of watermelons, squash, long gourds, sunflower heads, corn stalks, and other vegetables that are weighed and competed for cash prizes. So far the largest pumpkin has weighed in at 1,112 pounds. Now that’s what you call a lot of pumpkin! Autumn is filled with all sizes and shapes of pumpkins signaling the end of the harvest season. Even the harvest moon is symbolized by its round orange color in the fall.
Pumpkins originated in Central America and were used for years by the Native Americans, but it was the colonists who changed the name pumpion into pumpkin that we use today. Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkin, dried them, and used them for mats while the seeds were used for food and medicine. The colonists were the first to create the pumpkin pie by slicing off the top, removing the seeds, filling the inside with milk, spices, and honey. This was slowly cooked over a fire using the pumpkin shell as a crust.
Pumpkins are ninety percent water, classified as fruit, and contain potassium and vitamin A. Pumpkins are quite versatile. Farmers use pumpkins as feed for animals, seeds can be roasted and eaten as a snack, the flower is edible, and there are oodles of recipes for pumpkin pies, cakes, breads, soups, and even puddings. The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over three hundred fifty pounds. It used eighty pounds of cooked pumpkin, thirty-six pounds of sugar, twelve dozen eggs, and took six hours to bake. I’m just glad I wasn’t the one rolling out the crust!
My brainstorm of creating the Squashy Pumpkin Pie came one day while noticing all the frozen containers of pureed summer yellow squash stacked in my freezer. I pondered how I could use my bounty besides making soups. I had originally planned on making a pumpkin pie, but on an impulse decided to substitute squash. To my delight no one could tell the difference even when I tried it out on company. After giving the crust a nutty twist my Squashy Pumpkin Pie was born and quickly became popular at our Sunday evening get-to-gethers at the parsonage. Everyone vied to guess if my pumpkin pie was really pumpkin or squash. Even the youth got involved tasting and trying to guess the main ingredient. In fact I tend to put up more squash than pumpkin as pumpkins have harder shells to cut through and peel. If you are tired of the standard pumpkin pie try my Squashy Pumpkin Pie recipe this Thanksgiving.
My Squashy Pumpkin Pie can use either squash or pumpkin and makes a good dessert year round. From the nutty crust topped by a creamy mild spicy taste my Squashy Pumpkin Pie is an excellent way to finish off a holiday meal. Preparation time for the Squashy Pumpkin Pie is twenty-five minutes plus baking time and this recipe makes one pie.
Squashy Pumpkin Pie
1 c self-rising flour
½ c shortening
¼ c cold water
1 tb chopped fine pecans
Mix ingredients with a fork until a soft ball forms. Roll dough out thin on a floured surface. Place in a 10 inch baking pie dish.
Whip together with a Wisk:
2 c cooked squash/pumpkin
1 c sugar
Mix together in a half of cup of water:
2 tb cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
Add to pumpkin mixture. Then add 1 c evaporated milk and mix together until well blended. Pour into pie crust, sprinkle cinnamon on top, and bake at 350º for 45 minutes to 1 hour until center is firm. Chill and serve. May garnish with a dollop of cool whip!
Weekly tip: To put up squash or pumpkin: peel, cut into chunks, and put into a large pan. Add water to cover the bottom of the pan and cook until soft. Place cooked squash/pumpkin in a blender and puree. The squash/pumpkin can then be canned or frozen!