Monday, September 9, 2013

Pumpkin Pie

Most people in these parts associate pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving dessert, although I've got friends who eat sweet potato pie as a side dish all times of the year. For me, pumpkin and winter squash are all about the savory.

My entry for the Minnesota State Fair Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust Pie Baking Championship Savory Pie Category (is it just me or is that title unnecessarily long and slightly redundant?) this year was a play on one of my favorite pizzas. On the submitted recipe I wrote this description:
Pillsbury Pie Crust topped with roasted pumpkin or winter squash, loaded with cheeses and herbs, and flavored with a touch of oven-caramelized onions. Savory Pumpkin Pie is half pizza, half potpie, and totally delicious.
One great thing about entering State Fair competitions is that afterwards a competitor receives really valuable feedback from the judges, and those judges know their stuff. My Savory Pumpkin Pie scored relatively well, with points in the 94 (out of 100) range. But to win a ribbon at the Fair your entry needs to be perfect or near perfect. Those beautiful blue ribbon cookies and cakes in the display are all in the 99 to 100 point range.   

Savory Pumpkin Pie
6 servings

List of ingredients:
1 Pillsbury Refrigerated pie crust
2 ½ cups pumpkin or winter squash (such as butternut), cut into ¾ inch cubes
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sprig each rosemary and thyme
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups shredded Provolone cheese
1 teaspoon each finely diced rosemary and sage
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan
Sage leaves fried in olive oil for garnish

Unroll pie crust a place in 8 or 9-inch pie plate.

Toss squash, onion, garlic, and olive oil together on baking sheet. Add rosemary and thyme sprigs; season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are caramelized; stir after first 10 minutes. Pull garlic from vegetables and mash into paste.

Top pie crust with Provolone and diced herbs. Top with mashed garlic, roasted vegetables, and parmesan. Fold about 1 inch of crust edges over toppings. Brush crust edge with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Bake in 400 degree oven until cheeses are melted and golden; about 20 minutes. Garnish with fried sage leaves (instructions below).

Fried Sage Leaves:
Olive oil
Bunch of sage leaves

Heat ¼ cup oil over medium high heat in small saucepan; add leaves 5 or 6 at a time and fry a few seconds each side until crispy. Transfer to paper towel and season with salt.

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