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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bernettine Squash Pie

As an attempt to help non Americans discover that yes, we Americans do have specialties other than burgers and coke, I usually go for cinnamon rolls or pumpkin pie.  The most common reaction I get to these two typically American sweets is "Is that an appetizer or a dessert?" and then when I describe what's in it, "Oh I don't like cinnamon."
I didn't even know that existed until moving to France.  I can understand having an aversion to pumpkin (they only make soups out of it here), but cinnamon?  It's like one of the starting blocks of life!  What in the world do they put in their apple pie?  Or in their maple cinnamon oats?  Such a strange bunch here on this side of the pond.  (There are an equal number of people here with a coconut aversion as well which is completely beyond me).
Certain people at work know to always ask 3 questions before tasting one of my pastries:
Il y a de la cannelle? C'est de la noix de coco? As tu mis du piment?
They know me well, for whatever I bring usually has one of those 3 elements.  Cinnamon, coconut, and spice (and everything nice).  Sometimes I bring a duo for the coconut people usually don't mind spice, but the cinnamon people are the ones I can usually weed out of any of my tastings.
Seriously.. isn't there a cure for that?  Did people here used to beat their kids with cinnamon sticks?
Anyway, when I'm baking for guests, I now know to always call and ask if one of those 3 ingredients is deeply disliked by one of their members.  After that is taken care of, people are usually pleasantly surprised by American desserts (made by me, of course).
The guests I made this specific pie for own and cook in their own restaurant, and one of them was a pastry chef before becoming a cook, so I was very happy that they both liked it, and even took some slices home with them!
Discovery accomplished.
Serves 8-10 depending on the size of the slice
2 cups (440g 15.5oz) roasted Bernettine squash flesh, well mashed with a fork
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (95g 3.4oz) packed brown sugar
1 packet bourbon vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tsp ground cinammon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp pain d'épices spices (or 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
1/8 tsp salt
1 shortcrust (I used half buckwheat, half T80 flour)
1. Cover the rim of the uncooked shortcrust with foil, poke the bottom a few times with a fork and pre-cook it for 10 minutes in the oven at 190°C 375°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whip together the eggs, sugars, salt, spices, cream, and milk.
3. Pour the squash flesh into the mixing and whip.
4. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 10 minutes at 220°C 425°F, then reduce to 175°C 350°F for 30 minutes or until you knife comes out clean when you poke it.
5.  The most important step!  Let cool for at least 30-40 minutes before attacking!  This pie is better at room temperature or refrigerated anyway.

I highly recommend the buckwheat in the shortcrust.  It really compliments the flavor of the filling.
I also will continually search out squash similar to Bernettine for it is far superior to any other squash or pumpkin I have ever used.  The flesh is just amazing and easy to work with.. plus there is no strange aftertaste when you eat it right off the skin (before adding all the sugar and spices).  It's my new dream come true and I stocked my freezer full of 440g portions for the future.
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