Roasted Acorn Squash Pie with Candied Pecans

Thanksgiving dessert is traditionally pumpkin pie but we wanted to use some of the ripe acorn squash from our farm instead.  Pumpkin and acorn squash are both gourds that have subtly different flavors but both cook the same.  Ripe acorn squash has a milder and almost fruitier flavor.  This recipe is a keeper!

This is part of  “A Florida Family Farm Thanksgiving“, a collaboration of Worden Farm with Tim and Chelsea Clarkson, owners of Grove Ladder Farm, in Sarasota, Florida specializing in pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic free poultry and eggs, and Ray Toves, a Sarasota-based chef and food photographer, who prepared his original recipes and photographed the food and the event. The series includes photos and recipes of the food and festivities that our two families shared during our early Thanksgiving dinner held on our farm in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Preparation Time:  45 min (15 min for pie crust; 15 min for roast acorn squash puree; 15 min for pie filling)

Cooking Time:  1 hour (30-40 min for the roast acorn squash; 10 min for pie crust; 20 min for pie)

Serves:  Makes 2 pies; 8 slices per pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 9-inch graham cracker crust pie shells
    • 2 packs plus 2 full crackers (or around 20 ounces) of graham crackers
    • 12 tbsp of melted butter
    • 4 tbsp organic raw cane sugar
  • Roasted acorn squash puree
    • 1 cup roast acorn squash puree
      • 1 – 3 (depending on size) ripe acorn squash (yellow to orange in color), halved, seeds and membranes removed, roasted
    • 12 egg yolks
    • 14 fl oz sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Candied pecans for garnish
    • 1 lb raw pecans (you may also use walnuts)
    • Egg white from 1 egg
    • 1 tsp water
    • 1 cup organic raw cane sugar (because it isn’t fully processed this type of sugar adds additional caramel flavor to any recipe)
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon

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Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Prepare graham cracker crust pie shells.
  • Prepare roasted acorn squash filling.
  • Prepare candied pecans (for garnish if desired).

 

Baking:

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  • Roast acorn squash puree:
    • Wash and pat dry the acorn squash, slice in half lengthwise and using a spoon remove the seeds and internal stringy membranes.
    • Place cut side down onto a baking tray.
    • Place on middle rack of preheated oven, cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
    • Leave oven on.
    • Spoon the pulp into a food process, process until creamy; set aside.

 

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  • Graham cracker crust pie shell:
    • Process graham crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor.
    • Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and organic sugar in a large mixing bowl; mix until there are no lumps left.
    • Divide the mixture evenly and spoon into 2 9-inch glass pie plates, press evenly over the bottom and up the sides; do not go over the height of the pie plate.
    • Place in the pre-heated oven on the middle rack; cook for 10 minutes until golden brown.
    • Remove pie pans from the oven, place on a rack or other heat proof surface; cool to room temperature.
    • Leave oven on.
  • Roast acorn squash filling:
    • Whisk egg yolk until well scrambled.
    • Add roasted acorn squash puree and 1/2 cup heavy cream; mix well.
    • Add sweetened condensed milk; mix well (will begin to visibly thicken at this point).
    • Add cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; mix well.
    • Pour equal amounts into the prepared (baked) graham cracker pie crusts; you should have enough to fill both to just below the top rim of the pie shell.
    • Place in oven on the middle rack; cook for 15 minutes.
    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack or heat-proof surface.
    • Carefully cover with plastic wrap; place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.

 

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  • Candied pecans:
    • These can be made days in advance but BEWARE they are addictive so if you want any come Thanksgiving, hide them!
    • Preheat oven to 200F
    • Place egg whites and water into medium mixing bowl, beat until frothy.
    • Add the pecans and mix well to coat each pecan with the egg white mixture.
    • Pour the sugar and cinnamon mixture into the bowl and mix well to coat every pecan with the sugar and cinnamon.
    • Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and cook for 1 hour.
    • Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then place the candied pecans into an airtight plastic container or resealable plastic bag, and remember, if you are making these days ahead, hide them!

Enjoy!

 

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