Also known as Pantry Pie
one 9” par-baked pie crust of your choice (traditional or cornmeal)
the recipe makes enough dough for two pies; freeze the second disc of dough for later.)
For the Cornmeal Crust- (yields two 9” shells; you will only use one)
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup ice cold water combined with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (you will not use all of this liquid) and ½ cup ice
Place the ice cold water and cider vinegar in a Pyrex measuring cup with a handful of ice (about ½ cup) and refrigerate. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse just until you have coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces of butter. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. (I never add the liquid to pie dough in a processor- it tends to over mix it.) Drizzle in the ice cold water/vinegar, one tablespoon at a time, up to ½ cup liquid TOTAL, tossing the mixture with a fork until it just comes together. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic. (Freeze one disc of dough for another day.) Refrigerate one disc of dough for at least one hour, then roll out to about ⅛” thickness/12” diameter, and transfer to a 9” pie plate. Roll and crimp the edges. Chill until firm. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line the pie shell with parchment paper or foil or a coffee filter and beans. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the edges are firm and the crust is golden. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees, carefully remove the parchment/beans and bake an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is no longer raw on the bottom. Set aside to cool while you prepare the topping and the filling.
For the Walnut Topping-
1 egg, room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
large pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cognac or bourbon (whatever you will use in the filling)
1 cup walnut halves (if you don’t have walnuts, use pecans or cashews or a combination)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, melted butter, maple syrup, salt, vanilla, and cognac or bourbon. The walnuts will be placed on top of the baked pie and the syrup poured over them before another brief spin in the oven. Set aside the walnuts separately from the syrup. Prepare the filling.
For the Squash filling-
(note: the original recipe calls for 2 cups of canned pumpkin or squash. I had one can of pumpkin in my pantry but it was shy on a full 2 cups. I added some butternut squash (cooked and pureed) to arrive at 2 cups. If you don’t have squash on hand, you can also cook and puree some carrots and add that to the mix. Improvisational times.)
2 cups total, canned pumpkin or squash or a combination of both
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons semolina flour OR 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup buttermilk OR ½ cup milk plus ½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon cognac or bourbon
3 large eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin and/or squash, sugar, honey, maple syrup, spices, vanilla, semolina or cornstarch, and whisk together until smooth. Add the buttermilk or milk/sour cream and the cognac or bourbon. Taste and adjust for sweetness/spiciness. Whisk in the eggs just until incorporated. Retrieve your par-baked pie shell and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake on the middle rack of your oven for 60-65 minutes. The filling should be slightly puffed and firm around the edges and the center should be just set. Remove the pie from the oven and set it on a cooling rack. Leave the oven on. Carefully (remember the pie is hot!) place the walnut halves (or pecans or cashews) on top of the pan, taking care not to press them into the filling. Slowly pour the syrup so it covers the nuts. Return the pie (still on the baking sheet) to the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes until the topping is set and golden. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool. Slice and serve with additional cognac or bourbon, if so desired. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
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