Monday, March 9, 2015

Coconut-Pumpkin Pie

5 Oregon Sweet Meat and 14 Red Kuri 
    This past fall I set a goal that none of our bounteous winter squash harvest would go to waste. I found new homes for a number of them, but I was also determined to find ways to incorporate more squash into our diet.  The big problem with that goal is that my sweetheart is less enthused about winter squash than I am.  I couldn't merely have baked squash a few times a week. My quest for "Linda friendly" squash recipes was made a little easier with the purchase of a new cookbook, "Recipes from the Root Cellar", by Andrea Chesman.  I found several squash recipes in the book which Linda liked.  These included "Whipped Winter Squash" and "Apple-Squash Bisque".  So here we are in earIy March and I only have two winter squash left in my inventory.  The problem was that one of them was a huge Oregon Sweet Meat, weighing about fifteen pounds. I decided to take advantage of Linda's temporary absence to cook the big squash. I figured I could get part of it eaten while she was gone and not have quite as much to work through when she got home. For those curious about Linda's whereabouts, she had made a trip to Eastern Washington to visit her sister Liz, and to do a little family history in Dayton, Washington, followed by a stop in Oregon to see grand children.

    I cut up the big squash this past Friday evening. It was actually a bit of a chore. Oregon Sweet Meat is a "Maxima" type of squash, just like the hubbards. Like all good winter keepers, it had a very tough rind.  Since we were into March there were a few bad spots I had to cut out. I cut about half of the squash into reasonable size pieces and baked them on my big Costco cookie sheet.  I guess that would make it "half-baked". The rest of the squash I cubed and boiled. I ended up with over ten pounds of cooked squash.  I used part of the boiled squash to make a squash soup which I served to the missionaries on Saturday evening. I didn't use apples this time. I just sautéed onions, added chicken broth, salt and pepper, and the cooked squash. Then I pureed the soup in the blender and added a few cups of heavy cream. I was pleased with the results.  The missionaries both finished their bowls and one even had seconds.
Half I boiled

Half I baked

     While browsing through the "Recipes from the Root Cellar" I found they had a dessert section. It was there that I stumbled upon the "Coconut-Pumpkin Pie" recipe.  This seemed like a worthy use of the squash.  I made my usual Emeril Lagasse pie crust recipe which uses half lard and half butter. The ingredients for the filling for a nine inch pie are as follows:

2 cups pureed pumpkin or winter squash
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg because that was what I had on hand)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut ( I used sweetened because I didn't notice that the recipe called    for unsweetened until just now)

     Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare the pie crust.

     Put all of the ingredients except for the flaked coconut into the blender and blend it until it is smooth.  Then add one cup of the flaked coconut and pulse the blender just long enough to mix it in.

     Add the filling to the pie crust and bake it at 425 degrees for ten minutes.

     Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes longer, until the filling is partially set.

     Sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup of flaked coconut and continue baking for another ten minutes, until the filling is mostly set (the center will still be wobbly) and the coconut is toasted.

     Chill well before serving.

    I made two of these pies on Friday evening.  I kept them in the fridge until Sunday afternoon as it was my turn to bring the post choir practice treats.  I think this recipe is a serious keeper.  The pumpkin and coconut flavors seemed to go very well together.  The only complication with this pie recipe is the necessity of watching for the right stage of doneness before adding the flaked coconut to the top of the filling.  I'm assuming the coconut wouldn't stay on top of the filling if it were added prematurely. For those who suffer from lactose intolerance the filling is dairy free. My pies weren't dairy free because I use butter in my crust recipe.

Two Coconut-Pumpkin and one Heavenly Hazelnut



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