Kabocha Cheese Pie
With Thanksgiving only 9 days away, you must be finishing your menu planning by now. Before you commit on a dessert just give this pie a look. If you are unfamiliar with kabocha it is an Asian variety of winter squash. When roasted it has a very similar profile to a sweet potato. What I like about kabocha is the versatility and that it can easily lend itself to a savory dish or a sweet dish. The first time I had every had it was the green skinned variety and it was dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried to perfection. From that day on I committed myself to finding it in the store and experimenting with it. The first thing I did with the green skinned variety was to boil it and make mash potatoes of sorts. Then I attempted roasting it. That is when I really thought the kabocha shined. I've tried both the green variety and the red variety. Both very similar in flavor but Im partial to the red variety and used that in today's recipe.
When I started this recipe I thought I was going to make a traditional pie and have something very similar to a sweet potato pie. In someways I was right. You can taste the sweetness from the squash, the texture is similar, but where I deviated was adding cream cheese. I love cheese pies and thought that the sweet squash and the cream cheese would yield a very creamy texture. Boy was I right. This recipe may have a lot of steps but can be easily adapted by using a store bought crust or making a graham cracker crust. I had neither on hand so I made a spiced pie crust. One kabocha will give you enough meaty goodness to make two pies or one pie and save the rest for a snack.
The pie dish played a big part of the success of this dish. It was a deep dish pie plate from Sur La Table. It was on sale and inexpensive but the quality was really amazing. It retained heat and allowed for an even cooking time and the crust didn't burn even with the 1 hour and 10 minute cooking time.
The trick to really bringing out the sweetness of the kabocha when roasting it is the coconut oil. If I was doing a savory dish I would use the Olive Oil but the little hint of the sweetness really makes these kabocha a Thanksgiving tradition. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I did.
Any of you a fan of Kabocha? How do you eat it?
Kabocha Cheese Pie
1 kabocha Squash – Used Red Variety
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 sticks French Butter or Salted butter, extremely cold, cut into tiny cubes.
3 teaspoons ice cold water
2 cups of roasted kabocha
8z of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup of sweet condensed milk
¼ brown sugar
½ cup of baker’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons of high quality maple syrup
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut kabocha squash into sixths, I find it incredibly hard to cut so I puncture the squash with an ice pick, then microware for 4 minutes. The squash will be much easier to cut into sixths.
3. Scoop out seeds and place on foil lined baking sheet. Using the coconut oil cover the squash liberally. Place in oven and roast for 45 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and carefully remove meat from skin. Toss skins.
5. While still warm I like to mash it with a fork until smooth. You can use your food processor or mixer to do this. Store in an airtight container. This will make more than you need for the following recipe.
6. In a large mixing bowl add flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon. Mix with a fork gently.
7. Toss in butter. Then using your hands or a pastry cutter, incorporate butter into flour until the butter resembles a crumble. Careful not to overwork the butter and melt it.
8. Add egg and incorporate with hands. The dough should start to come together. Finally add one teaspoon of ice-cold water at a time and gather the rest of the dough. The dough might still feel a little dry but continue working it till the final pieces stick together.
9. Form the dough ball into a disc and wrap with parchment paper and place in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Take dough out and let sit for about 5 minutes. On a large work surface, place a large piece of parchment paper down and throw a little flour on the surface. Place the disc center on the parchment paper. Toss a little more flour on top of the disc and place another piece of parchment paper on top about the same size as the bottom. Roll out dough to at least 12 inches in diameter, depending on your pie plate this could change. Peel off the top parchment paper and place your pie plate face down directly on dough. Then lift up the second piece of parchment paper with one hand while the other hand hold the pie plate in its place and flip. Peel off the last piece of parchment paper and place aside.
10. Start pushing the dough into place in the pie plate. If it starts to crack or make a hole we will patch it after. Once you have your dough right where you want it, take a butter knife and cut the excess dough hanging off the sides. Use those bits to fill in any holes or cracks. You can do your pie edges anyway you like. I did a simple crimp. The most important part is to poke holes using a fork all along the bottom and side of the crust. I like to reuse the piece of parchment paper from the rolling step to place inside the crust and place the pie weights on top.
11. Bake for 10 minutes then remove parchment paper and weights and bake for 5 more minutes. Then remove from oven and let cool.
12. Drop temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
13. While baking the pie crust start to make the filling. In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese and baker’s sugar. Using a mixer or stand mixer beat until fluffy. Add in vanilla bean paste. Then add one egg at a time and mix till combined. Finally add condensed milk.
14. In a separate bowl add kabocha mash, brown sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Using a fork mix till combined. Using a rubber spatula fold kabocha mixture into cream cheese mixture. Pour into piecrust. I like to cover my crust with foil at this point, plain strips of foil will do, if you have a fancy pie crust shield now is the time to bring it out. I only suggest this because this pie takes a while in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool till room temperature and then place in fridge. It might still look soft, but that’s ok it will set up nicely as it cools.
15. For best results chill overnight in the fridge. Serve with whipped cream. Enjoy