Fall Treats for Grandma
I love an excuse to bake something decadent, and what better excuse than the birthday of my lovely grandmother? Of course, getting me to settle on a recipe is tricky business. I could recipe-hunt for hours if left to my own devices. Luckily, I had an ingredient beckoning in my fridge that helped keep me on course. Butternut squash.
“WHAT?!” you’re saying. “Butternut squash in a dessert?!” Well, sure. Why not? Pumpkin is a squash, too, after all and we rarely think to do savory dishes with it. Why shouldn’t Butternut get the chance to prove his versatility? Paired with some apples and spices in a mini pie, he definitely proved a worthy contender in the dessert lineup.
But I couldn’t stop there. Oh no. Fall flavors were still beckoning to me. Besides, wouldn’t a dessert duo be even better? So I went for it and put my eclair-making skills to the test. Unfortunately for you, you’ll have to wait for the next post to hear about my outstanding maple-glazed, vanilla cream-filled eclairs. For now, the pies!
Squashy Apple Pie
© Copyright 2010 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart
- 1 unbaked pie shell of your choice
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, small dice
- 3 cups Granny Smith apples (about 2 large), small dice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- Roll out your pie dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out 12 discs, each about 2-3 inches wide. Line a standard muffin tin with the circles of dough, making sure there are no air bubbles. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
- To make the filling, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, spices, salt, water, butter and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. (If you’re missing some of the spices, no worries, just work with what you’ve got!)
- Add your squash and apples and stir to combine. Cook on medium until the fruit has softened, but still has some bite in the center, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside to cool while you prepare the crumble topping.
- Place an empty baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- To make the crumble topping, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl or food processor. Add the butter and rub into the dry ingredients with your fingertips or a pastry cutter until it is the size of coarse meal. Squeeze the crumbs in your fingertips to form larger clumps and refrigerate while you fill the pie shells.
- Spoon the apple and squash mixture into the chilled pie shells, leaving a little room at the top for the topping. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and place the muffin tin on your preheated baking sheet in the oven. Bake about 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Cool at least ten minutes before removing from the pan.
- Perfect with a dollop of whipped cream and a pumpkin spice latte!
I was so impressed with how well Mr Butternut performed in this dessert. My family couldn’t guess what my secret ingredient even was! Pear? Sweet potato? Carrot? Nope. They hadn’t a clue. But they loved it. Cooking the apples and squash with the sugar and spices created a syrupy, gooey coating. The flavor was reminiscent of pumpkin pie, but with a tart bite from the apples. I think you would do well to include this in your Thanksgiving spread!