Lets Talk About Pumpkin
I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin beers, but I do indulge in them every year. My main concern, which I have ranted about in the past is that pumpkin is flavorless. It is merely a catalyst for what you really like which is sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. These flavors are amazing and they don’t get enough recognition for a seasonal treat that the majority seems to indulge in. Before the commercialization of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything holiday season, pumpkin pie wasn’t a thing… kind of.
Sure pumpkin pie has been around for some time, but it didn’t necessarily have to be pumpkin to make this dish. Basically any squash or sweet potato could be used to make this dish. Whether it be butternut squash, kabocha squash, or pumpkin, you can easily switch out any of these variants and get a similar result so long as you use the real MVPs: nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar. You can find more on the history of pumpkin pie here.
There are More Than One Squash
So why this rant? Because I made a butternut squash pie recipe to prove that pumpkin isn’t necessary to create pumpkin pie flavors. However, I recognize the irony that I am going to integrate a pumpkin beer into this recipe, but not really. Let’s take a look at your average pumpkin beer recipe. Sure there are a few brewers that will actually integrate pumpkin into their pumpkin beer, but for the most part, these beers contain spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) into the recipe and not the squash itself. Gasp. Who would’ve thought that, like the pumpkin pie itself, it is the spices that your are enjoying. I cannot stress enough that the squash you use is merely a catalyst for the spices.
In this recipe, I used pFriem’s pumpkin bier. Hood Rivier’s finest brewery actually integrates ginger and vanilla, along with cinnamon, into their pumpkin beer recipe which is refreshing to us which is why we used this beer. Also, we were late to the pumpkin beer game and the majority of pumpkin beers are already on their way out this season, but were able to find this one at our local bottle shop.
Bring on the Spice
Molasses is the original sweetener to these squash pie recipes, but we decided to use maple syrup instead, because maple syrup. Along with the spices you are familiar with, we also used brown sugar, because autumn and everything autumn needs a warmer and brighter flavor. I did not make the pie crust from scratch, which is a shame because this would’ve been a great way to integrate the pumpkin beer more into the recipe. However, I was making a turkey, two stuffings, and sides this Thanksgiving so I was willing to sacrifice an home-made pie crust. If you do decide to make your own pie crust, recognize that it is a crust and not a bread. You won’t need to add more than a tablespoon of beer to your dough. And remember: cold hands!
Tastes the Same
After tasting this butternut squash, to much of our expectations, this tasted exactly like pumpkin pie. GASP! I am glad I was able to test the fact that pumpkin is more or less flavorless without the assistance of sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Just a reminder that you don’t have to use pumpkin. Butternut squash, kabocha squash, pumpkin, or even sweet potatoes can and will do the trick!
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. You can save these for roasting at a later time if you prefer.
- Lightly rub the squash halves with olive oil. Place them down on a baking sheet and place into the oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove the skin of the squash. Puree half of the quash.
- Add the cream, nutmeg, cloves, salt, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla extract, brown sugar, maple syrup, egg, and finally the pumpkin bier into the food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add pumpkin puree into the empty pie shell. Use a spatula to smooth out. Place into the oven for 20-30 minutes. Let the pie cool before slicing.