Calabaza Squash Pie (with homemade evaporated milk)

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I know I tend to talk about my Sunday cooking sprees but I don’t want to give the impression that Sunday is the only day I cook. I find right now that all my free time is spent either cooking or looking at recipes. Whereas before I tended to read books now I cook and if I am reading it tends to have some relation to food. For example, I just today finished reading “Under the Tuscan Sun.” It’s about a woman remodeling an old Tuscan villa and her experiences building and exploring the cuisine in a foreign country. Hmm, wonder why that appealed to me. I think it probably inspired me to make the No Knead 5 Minute Rosemary Artisan Bread that is rising right now. Probably the herb infused Olive Oils I plan to start when I finish this blog.

However this blog post is not about Rosemary Bread or Infused Oils. Nor is about the cheese I made yesterday. (I finally got some milk fresh from a cow and made some Queso Blanco- a vinegar cheese common in Central America.) I’ll save cheese making posts for another day. Today is about Squash Pie. So down here they have all kinds of crazy squash. I’ve mentioned this before in my posts about pumpkin and other side dishes I’ve made. One of the squash we have here is Calabaza. It looks a lot like a Butternut Squash but bigger. Tastes a lot the same too. The big difference is that the skin is much harder to cut on a Calabaza. Anyway, I roasted some the other night with a Rum Balsamic Glaze- super yummy, but I still had over half the squash left. So I decided to turn it into Squash Pie.

This Squash Pie was a bit bigger of an under taking than I initially expected. First I had to roast half the squash. I did that earlier in the week and it had been taking up space in my fridge for a couple of days. So yesterday I finally made the pie. Unfortunately the only recipe I had open on my computer yesterday (and the internet wasn’t working) required evaporated milk. Having just completed my first cheese making experience I dove right in to evaporating the milk. That took a bit longer than I anticipated. I also had to puree the roasted squash which I accomplished, despite the erratic power outages, with my trusty immersion blender. There is also the pie crust, which is always a pain in climate this hot. In the end the squash pie was made. And it’s super yummy. The recipe I used is calls for butternut squash, so it would be a great alternative to pumpkin pie for the holidays if you can’t find a pie pumpkin (I never managed in the states) and don’t want to use canned pumpkin puree. I’ll also include how to make evaporated milk so you don’t have to buy the can stuff of that either. I figure if you’re cooking “from scratch” it should be from scratch. Can’t wait till the squash come from my garden. Hopefully next year.

Evaporated Milk

For 3/4 cup evaporated milk slowly simmer 2 cups of milk of low heat using care not to scald the milk. Stir continuously to prevent the milk from burning to the pan. Takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Canned evaporated milk has had 60 % of the liquid evaporated.

Basic Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

1 stick (1/2 c) frozen butter

1/4 ice water

Stir together flour and salt. Cut in frozen butter with pastry cutter. When mixture resembles small peas slowly add water 1 TBSP at a time mixing until mixture forms a ball. Freeze for 30 minutes or over night. Make one 9 inch pie crust. Double recipe for a closed crust pie.

Calabaza Squash Pie

(adapted from About.com Southern Food)

1 9 inch Basic Pie Crust

1 1/2 c Pureed Calabaza Squash (Roast Squash at 450 degrees for 45 min – 1 hour, puree when cool)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

3/4 evaporated milk

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger

2 TBSP melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat pureed squash and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add eggs, milk, spices, butter and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour into chilled pie crust and bake 45-55 minutes until filing is set.