My dear, dear, deluded fellow Timberteers. Pumpkin pie is not replusive. Pumpkin pie is a silken cloud of holiday deliciousness. Last night I served the full Thanksgiving dinner to 16 people, many of whom, being British or Australian or Spanish or some such nonsense, had never eaten pumpkin pie before, though they had heard of this fabled treat. To a man and woman, they all thought it was delicious. Delicious, I say! Of course, it was a totally unorthodox pie actually made of kabocha squash. I adapted this recipe from the NYT and let me tell you, it will knock your socks off.
1 kabocha squash (you could also use a small, firm, sweet variety of regular pumpkin)
10 oz (1 1/3 c) cream cheese, room temperature
1 c sugar
1/4 of a nutmeg, grated
1 1/2 t best quality garam masala
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 T bourbon
2 eggs, room temperature
7 digestive biscuits, like McVities
1/2 c macadamia nuts, toasted
1/3 c light brown sugar
grated zest of one lime
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, Roast in a 350 F (175 C) oven for forty-five or so minutes, until soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and pass through the medium disk of a food mill, or process in a food processor or blender till smooth. Measure out 2 1/2 c puree. Feed the rest to the baby; she’ll like it.
2. Finely chop the macadamia nuts. Crush the digestive biscuits (I do it in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, but if you have a food processor it would do this, and the nuts, nicely.) Mix all the crust ingredients together and press onto the bottom and sides of a glass pie dish. Bake the crust at 300 F (150 C) for 10 -15 minutes, till set and nicely browned. Let cool on rack (but leave the oven on).
3. For filling: whip cream cheese with sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat paddle attachment, or in a mixing bowl with electric beaters, till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in puree, bourbon, spices, and salt. Add eggs, beating just to combine and scraping down the bowl. Mix thoroughly but do not over beat.
4. Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 300 F (150 C) for 40-50 minutes, until the center is just set. Cool. Some crème fraîche would not go amiss here.