A long time ago I posted pictures of two healthy (and gluten-free) holiday dessert ideas with links to their recipes. One was an apple tart, and the other was a butternut squash pie, and I regularly make both recipes this time of year.
The butternut squash pie is very similar to pumpkin pie, and in the original recipe you make the crust from ground pecans. In my experience, though, that crust tends to go soggy very quickly. The pie still tastes delicious, but I don’t like the texture of a soggy crust.
So when I stumbled upon a general-purpose pecan tart crust that included coconut flour in the recipe, I decided to give it a try. I often throw a handful of coconut flour in the chocolate chip cookies I make if the dough feels too soft.
This sometimes happens if my kitchen is really warm and humid or if I add a little too much coconut oil. Or if I’m a slightly short on almond flour (it happens). Just a small amount of coconut flour helps to firm up that cookie dough, so I figured maybe it could also help the crust from going soggy under the pie filling.
I had 2 butternuts from a recent CSA box and a lone butternut squash from the raised bed in our backyard haunting my pantry, so I baked them in the oven and got a little over 4 cups of cooked squash. I made a delicious lentil and butternut squash soup with half, and the rest went into this pie filling. The whole thing is very easy to make, assuming you have access to a food processor and blender.
For the crust:
1 ½ cups pecans
1 TBSP coconut flour
pinch of salt
Grind pecans in a food processor until they look like coarse crumbs. Add the egg, coconut flour, and salt. Pulse until mixture resembles dough and forms a ball. Mine came together but stayed pretty sticky, so I had to scrape residual dough off the sides of my food processor bowl.
Grease a 9″ tart pan–I used my glass pie pan instead of my loose-bottomed tart pan because it’s deeper, and since this filling is quite runny when raw, I didn’t want any seeping out.
Press the dough evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I keep my fingers slightly damp during this process so the dough sticks to itself and not my skin.
For the butternut squash custard filling:
2 cups cooked butternut squash
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
½ cup maple syrup
Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Pour filling into crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is set. After 30 minutes, sprinkle ½ cup of chopped pecan pieces around the top, if desired. It looks nice.
Allow pie to cool completely and chill before serving. Every time I make this pie I get at least one crack in the surface. Even if the filling it totally smooth when it comes out of the oven, it cracks as it cools.
I really should just accept the crack and leave it there, but I invariably try to fix it. Running a metal spatula that’s been dipped in hot water over it usually fills in the crack, but then it’s really obvious that it was there. Trying to smooth it out sometimes becomes a Father Ted’s car type situation.
As for the crust, I do like this recipe much better, but it still went soggy overnight. Not quite as soggy, so at least that’s an improvement, but I would really like to find a gluten-free crust that will hold up underneath this custard-style filling better. If you know of one, please share.