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butter ‘nut nut’ pie

Oct 12 2012

If squirrels ate pies, they’d eat this one. Riffing on the classic American pumpkin pie, we’ve used butternut squash instead. It works brilliantly and, frankly, is a lot less hassle to deal with. The maple nut topping is a triumph.

Serves 6

  • – ½ quantity of shortcrust pastry (see page 10)
  • – 500g butternut squash (peeled weight), diced
  • – 200ml double cream
  • – 2 free-range eggs
  • – 80g light soft brown sugar
  • – 1 tsp grated nutmeg

For the topping
100g blanched almonds
100g skinned hazelnuts
100g pecan nuts
40g pumpkin seeds
4 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick and use to line a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin, trimming off the excess pastry. Cover with baking parchment, fill with baking beans or rice and bake blind for 15–20 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and lightly coloured. Remove from the oven, take out the paper and beans or rice and leave to cool.

Cook the butternut squash in a large pan of boiling water until tender to the point of a knife. Drain thoroughly.
Transfer to a blender or food processor, add the cream, eggs, sugar and nutmeg and blitz until smooth. Leave to cool.

For the topping, pulse the nuts in a food processor until roughly crumbled. Tip into a bowl and stir in the pumpkin seeds and maple syrup. Set aside.

Pour the butternut purée into the pastry case and bake at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for about 20 minutes, until the filling is just firm to the touch. Sprinkle over the nuts and return the pie to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Drizzle with extra maple syrup. Serve warm with ice cream (see page 211), or at room temperature.

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