This autumn pie from Dorie Greenspan is unusual yet also comforting...it would be a great addition to any fall or winter table. My housemate was craving pumpkin pie, but I was feeling all pumpkin-ed out, so this was the perfect compromise...squash pie, presented in a way totally different from your usual pumpkin pie!
We used banana squash because our grocery store had it precut and it was less expensive than the more common butternut squash, but I think either would work perfectly here. We also used pears that were too crunchy because there wasn't a ripe pear in the store! If you can only get crunchy pears, I would recommend cooking them a bit first to help them soften up in the oven, although they were still tasty. You can substitute any sort of dried fruit for the cranberries that you like, though they gave a nice tart element to the pie; you can also add nuts for some crunch.
Depths of Fall Pie (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
Your favorite pie crust, enough for a double-crusted pie, rolled into two rounds and chilled
1 1/4 pounds peeled banana squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (feel free to substitute butternut squash)
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup moist dried cranberries
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
2 T freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 T plain dry bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or, if chilling the pie in step 4, wait to preheat the oven).
2. Cook the squash in the microwave for 6 minutes, or until almost cooked through. Pat dry and toss into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and turn gently with a spatula to blend. Let sit five minutes, and then gently stir again.
3. Put one pie crust round in a pie plate, pour in the filling, and cover with the other pie crust round. Pinch together the edges, and pierce the top of the pie in a few places to let steam escape.
4. Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes if you have time. Then bake 55-60 minutes, or until the crust is deeply brown and the filling is bubbling. Check the pie at 40 minutes and cover with tin foil if browning too quickly.