This Brandied Acorn Squash Pie is absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving! Acorn squash is naturally sweeter than pumpkin and works amazingly well in desserts.
“We are either now here or nowhere.” – Journey into Power
Several months ago I started taking hot yoga classes. For years I had been turned off by the thought of it, assuming it was something I’d hate. However, it has really grown on me for a number of reasons.
For starters, it’s the one class where I don’t feel self conscious. I like to tell people that my body has a very efficient natural cooling system. As in, I sweat very easily. In hot yoga, that’s not a big deal because everyone gets sweaty. More importantly, I actually feel like I understand the purpose of yoga for the first time. It always felt like a nice stretch, but I was never sure if I was getting much out of it, especially for the price. Hot yoga lets me get deep into poses, and it definitely helps my body overall. It has made me more flexible, and I can see physical changes happening.
On Monday, during the final pose of class, our instructor began reading a passage to us that really resonated:
“We are either now here or nowhere. Interesting how the difference is just a little space. All life happens in the present moment. All we really have is the moment that is right here, right now, in front of us. Any moment that happened in the past is a memory, and any moment that will happen in the future is a fantasy… The psychology of growth is being in the process and taking it one moment at a time.”
It was what I needed to hear. I get overwhelmed easily. The past year overwhelmed me, and I get very anxious about what lies ahead. Sometimes I need a reminder to focus on being in the moment.
This pie is very similar to pumpkin pie. Acorn squash is naturally sweeter than pumpkin, so it’s a quick swap for Thanksgiving that’s easy yet impressive. I recommend using homemade tart dough, but store-bought refrigerator pie dough gets the job done. (I used store-bought dough this time which is why the crimping is a bit wonky!)
If you don’t want to purchase pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own!
Brandied Acorn Squash Pie
for the tart dough
- 5 ounces all purpose flour, plus more for dusting (approximately 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, chopped and cold
- 3 tablespoons cold water
for the pie
- 2 medium acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (6 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice; I recommend Penzy’s, or you can make your own
- 1 cup half-and-half (or 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup whole milk)
- 3 tablespoons brandy
Prepare the tart dough:
- Add flour, butter and salt into a food processor. Pulse the machine on and off until the mixture is crumbly. With the machine running, slowly add the water until just combined (do not over-mix). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and press flat into a disc. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Allow the dough the rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to approximately 1/4-inch thin. Carefully place the dough into a shallow 9x2-inch pie pan. Place the pan back in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Use a fork to poke holes throughout the bottom of the dough to prevent air bubbles from forming. Line the pie pan with foil and cover with uncooked beans. Bake the dough for 20 minutes, removing the beans and foil for the last 5 minutes. Allow to cool while preparing the other ingredients.
Prepare the acorn squash puree:
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Using a very sharp knife, slice the acorn squash in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds and membranes. Spread the softened butter generously onto the inside of the squash. Place the acorn squash cut-side down on the prepared sheet and roast at 400 degrees F until soft, approximately 50 minutes.
- Once the squash is cool enough to be handled, scoop the pulp into a food processor and puree, discarding the skins. Reserve 2 cups of puree for the pie.
Prepare the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the eggs until frothy. Whisk in the brown sugar until smooth, followed by the salt, pumpkin pie spice, acorn squash puree, half & half, and brandy.
- Place the prepared pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the inside is just barely jiggling, 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
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