This pie is a favorite of my pastry chef, Terri Horn. She likes to use the best ingredients she can -- farm-fresh squash and high butterfat cream. She recommends eating this pie within a day of making it as the custard filling makes the pie soggy after that.
To make the squash purée
Follow the directions for the Master method for roasting squash (see photos), using the purée ingredients above. Put the cooked and cooled squash in a food processor and purée until smooth. For a very smooth consistency, put the purée through a food mill as well. Measure out 2 cups.
Ris Lacoste puts seeded (unpeeled) squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet. She rubs the flesh with softened butter, seasons with salt and pepper, drizzles with orange juice and maple syrup, and flips them over.
The squash roasts in a 400°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the skin is blistered and browned and the flesh is tender; lift the squash with tongs and poke with a paring knife to check. When cooled, the skin will peel off easily.
To evaporate moisture and concentrate flavor, as for a ravioli filling, the roasted squash (and any cooking juices) may be sautéed in a dry pan for a few minutes.
To make the custard and bake the pie
Set an oven rack on the lowest position and heat the oven to 375°F. Combine the purée with the brown sugar, eggs, cream, spices, and salt and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake until the custard is puffed up but still has a small wet spot in the middle, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving. Garnish with separately baked pie decorations if you like.
nutrition information (per serving):
without optional decoration;
Photo: Martha Holmberg