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Buttercup squash pie

MAKES 1 DEEP 10-INCH PIE

Buttercup squash is dark green and squat, with a rounded end resembling a belly button. Using squash from our local winter harvest is so superior to using canned that the two might as well not go by the same name.

2 buttercup squash (about 4 pounds total), halved and seeded

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 recipe all-purpose food-processor pie crust (see above)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups light cream

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have ready a deep 10-inch pie pan.

Rub the cut sides of the squash with the butter and set them in a baking dish large enough to hold the 4 halves in one layer. Bake them for 40 minutes or until the flesh is very soft when pierced with a skewer. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.

Remove the squash from the oven and set it aside to cool.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a 12- or 13- inch round. Ease it into the pie pan. With scissors, trim the dough around the top edge so it overlaps the edge by 1/2 inch. Fold the excess dough under itself like a hem.

Crimp the edges of the dough all around to form an even, hand-pinched rim. Press a piece of foil into the pastry and fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 5 minutes. Set the pastry aside to cool.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skin and transfer it to a large bowl. With a potato masher or fork, mash the squash until it is smooth; a few chunks are fine. You should have 2 cups of puree.

Beat in the sugar, eggs, and cream. Add the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the filling into the crust and transfer the pie to the oven.

Bake the pie for 50 to 60 minutes or until it is just set. Let the pie cool to lukewarm, then cut it into wedges to serve.

Sheryl Julian And Julie Rosenfeld

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