I know I've told you that I am a bit of a shopaholic. I love going out shopping, even if it is just for groceries. For me it is a leisurely activity where I am still being mentally stimulated while I plan out recipes in my head (because meal planning makes the whole thing too predictable for me haha).
When I go shopping for props to use in photos for the blog, I usually buy pieces that inspire me when I look at them. That is what happened when I saw this wooden tray. I looked at it and immediately saw a pie resting there and shot outdoors. It had to happen. It took me a while to come up with a good pie and I used the tray in a couple of other posts because I love the look of it, but as soon as this bruleed butternut squash pie I knew it was the perfect pie for this shot.
Oh my gosh though, shooting outdoors on a cloudy day is not the easiest thing to do though. The clouds create a lovely diffused light, but there is no share for me to use and no shadows anywhere. I had to create my own shadows by using my daughter and little cousin to hold up boards to block light for me. It also started to drizzle a bit. Needless to say, it was an adventure to take these photos!
This brûléed butternut squash pie is the most heavenly scrumptious pie I've had in a long time. I used a blend of freshly grated cinnamon and pre-ground cinnamon. Normally, I would say you can use pre-ground cinnamon, but the freshly ground cinnamon makes all the difference in the world. It makes the scent addictive and the flavor so much more complex. I love Rodelle's cinnamon sticks, but as long as you aren't using the cinnamon sticks you found in the back of your pantry you suspect might be from 2012, you will be good. A bit of ginger and cayenne rounds out the flavor and gives the pie the slightest kick. I also added a bit of buttermilk which adds an amazing creaminess and tang.
The brulee makes this pie special and unique and is what ties in the flavors of the brown butter bourbon pie crust. It is my favorite part of the pie. My best tip is to add a pinch of salt to your sugar before you put it on the top and torch. The salt balances out the sweetness and makes the brulee that much better. Whenever you make a brulee anything, add a pinch of salt!
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons* brown butter, frozen and cut in cubes
- 3 tablespoons ice cold bourbon
- 2 1/2 cups roasted and mashed butternut squash
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup buttermilk (optional)
- pinch of salt
- Mix together the flour, brown sugar, and salt together and blend well. Cut in the frozen brown butter until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add in the bourbon and mix until it just comes together. Turn the dough onto plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for at least an hour (I prefer to chill mine overnight)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out the crust until it is 1/4 inch thick and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the edges as needed. Place the crust in the fridge until needed.
- Mix together the butternut squash, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, butter, vanilla, eggs, and buttermilk, then beat well. Pour into your pie pan. It will seem like an awful lot of filling, but it will shrink down once it is cool. Bake for 50 - 55 minutes, covering the edges of your pie for the first half of baking. Allow to cool completely.
- Just prior to serving, mix together sugar and a pinch of salt and spread an even layer over the filling of the pie. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar, or the broiler of your oven if you do not have a kitchen torch. Be sure to constantly watch your pie if you are using the broiler method as it can burn your pie easily.
*You will need more butter to create 8 tablespoons of brown butter. I recommend measuring out your brown butter to make sure you end up with your 8 tablespoons.Note: The pie should be served within two hours of the brûlée, otherwise the sugar top will get soft and sticky. If there is leftover pie, add a touch more sugar and salt and brûlée again to get a nice crunchy top again.