The Pie Equation

Story and photos by Chef Dino Datu

Pumpkin pie is as American as it gets. But not having pumpkin here doesn’t mean we can’t give it a try. I used squash, instead of pumpkin, with the rest of the ingredients easily available. It’s my first time to try a “pumpkin” pie, and it is quite good. Making use of a cheap filling like squash, spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with condensed milk means the most difficult part is making the pastry, which isn’t hard at all.

Pumpkin pie

For the pie crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 stick butter (1 cup), chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp cold water

For the filling

  • 4 cups cooked squash
  • 1 1/2 cups condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder

For the meringue topping

  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 tbsp sugar

1 In a food processor, place salt and sugar.

Pulse one or two times to combine.

2 Add cold cubes of butter and pulse until combination resembles sand with small bits of butter no bigger than a pea.

3 Add water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until dough just comes together.

4 Remove from food processor and knead as little as possible. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for at least one hour.

5 If making dough by hand, rub cold butter into the mixture instead of pulsing until mixture resembles sand.

Same steps apply after.

6 Roll out dough and line buttered pie plate or tart pan.

Crimp edges and place in the freezer for an hour or two.

7 For the filling, mix cooked, mashed squash with other filling ingredients.

8 Pour filling into frozen dough and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 15 minutes.

9 Turn heat down to 180°C and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes.

10 Let pie cool down slightly while you make the meringue topping.

11 For meringue, beat egg whites with a whisk until soft peaks form.

12 Add sugar and continue whisking until glossy.

13 Spread meringue from the center of the pie outward, making sure to seal by spreading all the way to the edge, touching the pie crust.

14 Place in broiler or torch to brown meringue.

15 Makes 2 pies


Image Credits: Chef Dino Datu