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Pumpkin Pie, baked in a squash

January 14, 2009

Several months ago I saw a recipe in one of our cooking magazines that featured a custard baked into a pumpkin (apparently this is a somewhat common dish in parts of southeast Asia). Not willing to make a custard (too fussy) and not able to reliably get nice sugar pumpkins, I embarked on several months of trials. Could I bake a pumpkin with jello flan inside (No). Could I bake a pumpkin, and then put in jello flan to set in the fridge (yes, but weird). Could I bake an acorn squash, which are easier to find all winter, and add some kind of pudding?

Finally, it came to me – bake a pumpkin pie in it. Pumpkin pie filling is basically a custard (so it will bake in the hour it takes to get the squash tender). It also will merge well with the squash, which the flan did not, and it is winter appropriate. So, I proudly present the pumpkin squash to the world.

It is remarkably simple to make.

Take an acorn squash and clean it out as you would a jack-o-lantern. Cut a little off the bottom so it can sit upright, but try not to cut through the bottom. Use a fork to poke the heck out of the inside, and then rub brown sugar on the inside. Place in an oven safe container and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. I like the one from the back of the can, but make sure it contains eggs (no quick set pies here) and is supposed to bake for about 30-45 minutes.

I like to add the following to my pumpkin pie recipe:

•fresh grated nutmeg
•a little cayenne pepper
•ginger, cinnamon, allspice, salt

This time I happened to have some roasted pumpkin from an earlier attempt. I added about 1/3 of a cooked pumpkin, which adds to the flavor and also makes the texture slightly more bread-y, which is great.

Put the filling into the squash and bake for about an hour. It will take a long time to bake becuse of the density, but it will be ready when the top is fairly set and it is not rising anymore. There might be some moisture around the top from the squash.

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