I have a confession to make. I don't like pumpkin pie. I like pumpkin and I like pie, but not the spicy sweet thanksgiving version. I find the pumpkin spice to be overwhelming and as a preference I prefer it as a side and not as a dessert. So I decided to make my own version, and used butternut squash because its delicious and I always have it at home. Needless to say i did not use pumpkin spice, but i did use all the wonderful flavors that everyone really loves: nutty sweet maple, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
This pie filling is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. The butternut squash provides a delicate foundation to layering the flavors. The maple syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness and the spices are perfectly balanced without overwhelming your taste buds.
If you have never made your own pie filling you would be amazed by how simple and quick it is to make. One large butternut squash is all you need, and you can also buy it pre cut to save more time. All you need to do is steam it, mash with a fork or masher, add the maple, spices, and eggs. Voilà! pie filling is done!
I make it with this pie crust recipe from Jeann Suavage's The Gluten Free Wish List cookbook (which is a fabulous book I highly recommend). You should also check out Nicole's Gluten-Free on a Shoestring' Extra Flaky Pie Crust which makes a great crust but needs to be pre-baked.
For the Filling:
1 large butternut squash (approx 2lbs - 3 cups), peeled and cubed
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1. Steam the butternut squash until very tender, about 10 minutes (you can also boil in water), remove from the steam and let drain for 1-2 minutes.
2. Place the steamed butternut squash in a large bowl and add the butter while still very hot. Using a masher or a fork, mash the butternut squash until its fairly smooth with no lumps. It will get smoother as you continue to mix in the ingredients.
3. Add the maple syrup and mix well to combine. Add the spices, mix well and taste for seasoning. Add more salt as needed. Let the mix cool down a little before adding the eggs.
4. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and add slowly to the butternut squash while stirring, so the eggs don't scramble. Cover and let it cool before adding the filling to the pie crust.
5. Add the filling to your pie crust of choice. If the pie crust recipe calls for pre-baking, make sure it is completely cooled before adding the filling.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.