Friday, November 5, 2010

Vegan Cushaw Squash Pie

So, I recently acquired an amazing cushaw squash from my farmer friend. For those of you who don't know, cushaw is an heirloom squash that has a naturally more sweet taste than pumpkin. Apparently, the canned pumpkin you buy in stores is largely made up of cushaw, because it makes better pies. After learning all of this groundbreaking news about the truth of pumpkin pies, I decided to make a cushaw squash pie.

Now, if you go to the farmer's market and pick yourself up a cushaw, you will have to prepare it for pie use.
This is actually quite simple:
cut your squash in half, take out the seeds (I saved my seeds so I can plant cushaw squash next year, but you can also roast them in salt if you want a tasty snack), and scoop out all of the stringy goop, then place the squash face down on a greased baking sheet (or two) and bake at 350 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (until the squash is soft). Let the squash cool, then scrape it from the skin. Then, mash the squash with a potato masher or in a food processor/blender until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes. I saved my squash in two large mason jars (one squash can make about 4 pies!).
(information on cushaw squash gathered here)
Cut in half
About to bake

Now, you can use 2 cups of squash to replace 1 can of pumpkin in any pumpkin pie recipe. I decided to go the vegan route, and made this pretty amazing vegan cushaw squash pie (it has a good consistency, and since it doesn't use tofu it doesn't have the usual "vegan" taste of many tofu-made desserts)

Vegan Cushaw Squash Pie
(recipe tweaked from: Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe)

Pie Filling:
2 cups of mashed cushaw squash
3/4 cups of sugar
2-3 teaspoons each of: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom (optional) (you can just use cinnamon, or a pre-blended pumpkin pie spice mix)
1 1/2 cups of silk brand soy pumpkin spice drink (I think this is out only during the winter holidays, if you can't find it the original recipe calls for vanilla soy milk)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water

Mix squash with spices and sugar
In a saucepan on med-low heat, heat up the soy milk
In a small bowl dissolve the corn starch in the water (add more water if you need to, just make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved, but also make sure it's not just a watery mixture)
Add cornstarch to the soy milk, turn to med-high heat, and let the mixture come to a boil while stirring constantly
After about 1 minute the mixture should look like pudding, add this to the squash mixture, mix well, and then place in your crust (pre-made vegan crust or recipe below)

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then at 350 for 40-50 minutes (until the pumpkin feels solid to the touch in the middle) 
Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours

"pudding" consistency of soy milk and cornstarch

Pie about to bake!
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of vegan butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons water

cut butter into the flour using a fork or knives, until all of the butter is small flour-covered chunks
add sugar and cinnamon, mix well
add the water, and roll of the mixture into ball (if it isn't sticky enough add slightly more water, 1/2 a tablespoon at a time)
place on a floured surface and roll out flat
place in your greased pie pan and make sure you cover the surface of the pan evenly

Enjoy your deliciously perfect fall treat!

1 comment:

  1. I just wrote a blog post about cushaw, but I never tried it in pie. So, I googled a good recipe and found yours. Looking forward to trying it today. Thanks for posting. Also glad to see you're in JC. Small world! Best--Lisa