Photo: Iain Bagwell

YieldsServes 8Prep Time2 hrs 30 minsCool Time2 hrsTotal Time4 hrs 30 mins
AuthorMichelle McKenzie

Feel free to swap in other squash in Michelle McKenzie's recipe: Sugar Pie comes out sweeter, and canned pumpkin is mellow-tasting, if less distinctive. Shauna Sever, an 18 Reasons instructor, suggested the spicy gingersnap layer. You'll need a 9-in. deep-dish pie pan.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Make pastry as directed in a 9-in. deep-dish pie pan, rolling dough to 13 in. and baking it blind; let cool.

Step 2
2

Preheat oven to 375° (skip this step if using canned pumpkin). Cut squash in half lengthwise, using a large, heavy knife. Scrape out seeds with a large spoon. Set squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until very soft when pierced, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool.

Step 3
3

Meanwhile, finely grind gingersnaps in a food processor. Add butter and a pinch of salt and pulse until evenly moistened. Scrape into a bowl and set aside. Wipe crumbs from processor bowl and blade.

Step 4
4

Trim browned edges from squash. Scoop flesh into food processor and purée until very smooth. If using any fresh pumpkin (besides kabocha) or canned pumpkin, simmer in a saucepan, stirring often, until very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Measure 1 1/2 cups squash or pumpkin; save the rest for soup or another use.

Step 5
5

Firmly and evenly press gingersnap mixture over bottom of pastry. Chill.

Step 6
6

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, rub sugar and cornstarch with your fingers until no lumps remain. Add to food processor with the 1 1/2 cups squash, the crème fraîche, vanilla, 1/2 tsp. salt, the nutmeg, and eggs. Whirl until well combined, scraping inside of bowl. Pour mixture evenly into prepared crust. Wrap pie rim with 4 strips of foil. (Bake any leftover filling in a ramekin.)

Step 7
7

Bake pie 15 minutes (35 minutes for a ceramic pie dish); remove foil. Continue baking until center jiggles only slightly when gently shaken, 30 to 35 minutes more (15 minutes for a ceramic dish). Let cool on a rack until room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Step 8
8

*Whole cane sugar, such as Rapunzel brand, has a complex, caramelized flavor; find it at natural-foods markets or online. If you use regular sugar, the pie will be a bit sweeter.

Step 9
9

Make ahead: Through step 5, up to 1 day; chill squash. Or the whole pie, up to 1 day at room temperature.

Ingredients

 1 medium kabocha squash (2 1/4 to 3 lbs.), 3 1/2 lbs. Sugar Pie pumpkins, or 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
 12 hard, 2-in. gingersnaps, such as Nabisco
 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
 1 1/3 cups organic whole cane sugar*, or 2/3 cup each granulated sugar and packed dark brown sugar
 1 tablespoon cornstarch
 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  Sweetened whipped cream

Directions

Step 1
1

Make pastry as directed in a 9-in. deep-dish pie pan, rolling dough to 13 in. and baking it blind; let cool.

Step 2
2

Preheat oven to 375° (skip this step if using canned pumpkin). Cut squash in half lengthwise, using a large, heavy knife. Scrape out seeds with a large spoon. Set squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until very soft when pierced, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool.

Step 3
3

Meanwhile, finely grind gingersnaps in a food processor. Add butter and a pinch of salt and pulse until evenly moistened. Scrape into a bowl and set aside. Wipe crumbs from processor bowl and blade.

Step 4
4

Trim browned edges from squash. Scoop flesh into food processor and purée until very smooth. If using any fresh pumpkin (besides kabocha) or canned pumpkin, simmer in a saucepan, stirring often, until very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Measure 1 1/2 cups squash or pumpkin; save the rest for soup or another use.

Step 5
5

Firmly and evenly press gingersnap mixture over bottom of pastry. Chill.

Step 6
6

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, rub sugar and cornstarch with your fingers until no lumps remain. Add to food processor with the 1 1/2 cups squash, the crème fraîche, vanilla, 1/2 tsp. salt, the nutmeg, and eggs. Whirl until well combined, scraping inside of bowl. Pour mixture evenly into prepared crust. Wrap pie rim with 4 strips of foil. (Bake any leftover filling in a ramekin.)

Step 7
7

Bake pie 15 minutes (35 minutes for a ceramic pie dish); remove foil. Continue baking until center jiggles only slightly when gently shaken, 30 to 35 minutes more (15 minutes for a ceramic dish). Let cool on a rack until room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Step 8
8

*Whole cane sugar, such as Rapunzel brand, has a complex, caramelized flavor; find it at natural-foods markets or online. If you use regular sugar, the pie will be a bit sweeter.

Step 9
9

Make ahead: Through step 5, up to 1 day; chill squash. Or the whole pie, up to 1 day at room temperature.

Kabocha Squash Crème Fraîche Pie
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