Canned pumpkin is a great ingredient to use in sweet and savory baking during the fall, not only because pumpkin is so delicious, but because canned pumpkin is a very consistent ingredient to work with. Every year, I see articles that express outrage over the possibility that not every can of pumpkin is pure pumpkin and may contain other types of winter squash. While I certainly do recommend looking for pure pumpkin for your pumpkin pies, I made this Butternut Squash and Honey Pie just to show that other types of winter squash can make fantastic fall desserts.
This pie was inspired by a side dish that I often make during the fall, where I roast butternut squash with a honey glaze and a generous pinch of coarse salt. The honey really compliments the natural sweetness of the squash and the whole dish is a nice accompaniment to a savory pork or turkey roast.
You will need butternut squash puree to start the recipe. You can make your own puree, just as you can make your own pumpkin puree, or you can buy canned puree. The puree is combined with sugar, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, eggs and a bit of milk. The filling doesn’t contain quite as much liquid as my pumpkin pie recipe, both because the honey introduces additional liquid and because I find that butternut squash is not quite as thick as pumpkin puree. The filling is then poured into a pie crust and baked until set.
I used a classic clover honey, which has a fairly neutral flavor, in this pie. If you have honey in your pantry already, this is probably the type that you have. You can use other honeys and some will bring more flavor than others to the pie. An orange blossom honey will have a hint of citrus to it, for instance. While you can use any type of honey, I would avoid using a honey with an extremely strong flavor (such as eucalyptus), as it may take over the pie.
The pie should be chilled before serving to ensure that the filling is firmly set and the pie is easy to slice. For a winter squash fan like myself, the finished dessert is absolutely delicious! You can really taste both the honey and the natural sweetness of the butternut squash. The nutmeg compliments the honey without covering up the squash, making the pie feel a bit lighter than traditional pumpkin pie because it is less heavily spiced. This pie gets raves every time I bake it and it offers a tasty alternative to a traditional pumpkin during the holidays.
Butternut Squash and Honey Pie
15-oz butternut squash puree (approx 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 9-inch pie crust
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, whisk together butternut squash, sugar, honey, eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg and vanilla until smooth and well-combined. Pour into prepared pie crust.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F (without opening the oven door) and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until the pie is set and jiggles only slightly when the pan is gently shaken. Allow pie to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.