Recipe by *Lena*
This is a family recipe from the kitchen of my much-missed mamaw, Avis. Nothing says "holiday" to me like cushaw pie, and I never even had regular pumpkin until much later in life (and have always preferred cushaw)! Note: Cushaws are often sold as decorative gourds, but they're entirely edible and taste kind of like pumpkin, but milder. They're orange-and-white striped when they're unripe, and green-and-white striped when they're ready to cook. (PREP TIME does not include cooking or draining the cushaw.)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground mace
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup cooked cushaw squash (drained well, pureed)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 pie shell, 9-inch (frozen or prepared)
Directions See How It's Made
- Sift together sugar and spices and add to cooked, pureed squash.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Add cream and mix well.
- Bake in unbaked pie shell 10 minutes at 450, then 40 minutes at 350. (If you use a deep dish pie crust, add an additional 15-20 minutes to the last leg of cooking.).
- Pie is done with the edges are set and brown but the middle still has just a bit of movement, like a custard. A knife or toothpick inserted should come out clean.
- Cool completely on a rack before cutting or refrigerating. Can be eaten immediately, refrigerated for a few days, or frozen for later enjoyment.
- COOKING THE SQUASH:.
- Cushaw is easiest cooked by cutting it length-wise (this will take a little muscle and a serrated knife or small, clean hand saw), removing the inner pulp and seeds, and then baking the hull, skin still on, in a 350 degree oven on a lined baking sheet. It's done when the flesh is soft and the skin slides off easily - about 1 hour.
- It can be cooked more quickly by slicing the gourd lengthwise, then cutting away the rind and cutting the cushaw flesh into chunks. Boil or steam until fork-tender.
- Puree the cooked cushaw flesh, rind/skin removed, in a food processor or blender in small batches until it is smooth and lump-free. You can also use a potato masher for a more rustic feel, but the resulting pie will be more lumpy, rather than a smooth, custard-like texture.
- Be sure to drain the cushaw thoroughly or the pie will end up too watery. I usually put the cooked, pureed pulp in a strainer, place the strainer over a bowl, and then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- One cushaw will render enough pulp to make several pies, depending on the size. The leftovers freeze wonderfully in 1 cup portions and will save you from having to process it all again next time!