My Butternut ‘pumpkin’ pie recipe

Being based in South Africa comes with many interesting flavour ideas and combinations. A lot of our food is made up of various “borrowed” ideas from other cultures. The majority of Afrikaans food, for example, is directly influenced by the Cape Malay slaves that were forced workers for European settlers. Its where the sweet and sour flavours of our cooking comes from.

So following on from that South African trait of loaning ideas and inspiration I came up with this butternut pie recipe. Butternut squash and pumpkin are similar in colour but I find butternut has a more intense flavour and provides a richer colour. It also produces less liquid when cooked (and conversely has more starch) …which means less cracking when the pie bakes.

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Baked butternut pie

If you’re new to pumpkin pies and such, it’s a sweet dessert usually served with whipped cream. Some call it America’s national dessert (others would disagree and say apple pie is) whatever your view its an awesome thing and when made right it is beautifully smooth and looks good on a plate.

Ingredients:

1 cup good quality cream cheese
2 cups cool butternut, mashed
1 cup Castor sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 cup cream
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
Enough sweet pastry to line a pie tin (a recipe for this will be on my blog later)

Directions:

– Whenever making a tart or open pie the most important part is to blind bake the pastry base before hand. Blind baking is when you roll and line your pie tin and then use foil, oven proof paper or plastic filled with beans or rice to hold the pastry down. You bake the base until it is golden brown. Remove the foil or paper or plastic with the beans or rice and then brush the pastry with beaten egg before baking it for a few more minutes. This achieves 2 things: the base is firm and hard and will not be soggy after baking and the egg wash will stop the liquid from seeping through any cracks.

For the filling:
– Cream the cream cheese with the sugar until it is softened and lump free.
– Mix in the spices and the beaten eggs.
– Mix in the vanilla extract and the butternut. Whisk until the paste is smooth and lump free.
– Finally add the cream and melted butter.
– Pour into you pie base and bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 170°C. It shouldn’t crack on top (a sign of a good pumpkin pie is a uniform, smooth surface). The pie will still look wobbly when done but don’t worry. It will set after resting (just like a baked cheese cake). Leave it in a cool place (a trick I’ve learned over the years is to bake the pie for 30 minutes and then without opening the door leave the pie in the switched off but still warm oven for a few hours to settle and cool down.)

I serve mine with a pistachio nut whipped cream but you can have it anyway you like.

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