Yesterday, I made the above. It’s a butternut squash pie, and I got the recipe from a chef I’ve been following on Twitter for a while, Amethyst Ganaway. She goes by @ExcuseMyFly on Twitter and @thizzg on Instagram and she’s definitely worth following. She’s a young, Black, Charleston, SC, low-country gal living in the high country of Albuquerque, NM and she writes a mean article about pie, grits, food and work equality in the business, and other interesting things. The link is to the article and recipe for the pie, but check out her other things and definitely give her a follow. You won’t be sorry.
I was never a pumpkin pie fan. In fact, I never ate pumpkin pie until I was an adult. My mother didn’t abhor it, but she always said she just preferred sweet potato pie, so that’s what she made, and that’s what we ate. I loved her pies and make a pretty good one myself. However, when I read Ms. Ganaway’s article, I knew I had to give butternut squash a go. I already had a go-to soup recipe, so adding a pie just made sense. I used store bought, deep-dish pie crusts and I actually par-baked them for the first time. This definitely made a difference.
I confess that I am that person who looks at a recipe and immediately starts finding ways to modify it in my head, and I confess when I looked at the pie recipe, I thought, Oh, let’s add this and try that, etc. But, since it was an “heirloom” recipe, I wanted to make it just as is, at least for the first time. Other than slightly decreasing the sugar, I followed it to the letter. I am so glad I did, because it doesn’t need one other thing. The recipe is easy. I baked three butternut squash, used two of them for the pie puree and froze the other one for soup later. Just a few simple ingredients whisked together, poured into the shells and off they went. I had to bake them a tad longer than an hour, but they set up perfectly.
When I posted the above photo, Amethyst responded, “Tomorrow morning, have it with a hot cup of coffee, early if you can while it’s cold and quiet out. It’s gonna be life changing.” I got up around 6, which is still pretty dark in Texas. I put my pork roast in the oven, made my cup of coffee and then cut that pie. Sitting at the table in the early morning quiet of Christmas day with it was a gift. I watched the eastern sky get light out the living room window and savored each bite. It was a perfect moment. The pie is light, fluffy, just sweet enough, and believe it or not, that half-teaspoon of lemon zest came through. If you make the pie, do not leave it out! I had all kinds of feels when I ate that pie. I thought about how recipes and cooking tips get passed down in families and I smiled at the one tip for cooking chicken that my paternal grandmother gave to my mom, that I still use today. She was a terrible cook and she hated doing it, but I still cook chicken like she said and people still ooh and ahh over it. Food memories are an unbreakable connection to your past and a way to forge the future.
“It’s gonna be life changing,” she said.
She wasn’t wrong.
Thanks, Amethyst. Merry Christmas.