ARI LeVAUX for Lee Montana newspapers
Kabocha, also known as Japanese pumpkin, is a versatile and delicious winter squash. The flavor is starchy and sweet, with a firm body that can handle cooking in a number of ways, from fried tempura and roast to steaming and sweet mash. The seeds are fleshy. The hard skin is edible. The squash experience is complete.
Once upon a time there was only one kind of kabocha squash. He was dark green, of medium height and rounded. These days there are a myriad of varieties of kabocha, including bright orange sun, striped green Cha-Cha, Black Forest red, and my favorite, pale gray Winter Sweet.
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According to Johnny’s Seed Catalog, “Winter Sweet offers a winning combination of sweetness, flaky texture and depth of flavor that has made it a favorite on our research farm. In addition, this reliable producer keeps very well and improves with storage.
We have a farm stand in front of our house, maintained by my kids and supplied by a grumpy farmer south of town. He grew most of the above kabocha varieties that I just named, as well as butternut squash, delicata and other varieties. As I went through the squash inventory, I again proved and disapproved that the pie is the restaurant’s highest form of winter squash. It is the only form of squash that no one gets sick of. And there is an endless universe of possibilities inside each squash pie.
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I don’t use any of the pie spices except nutmeg, so its pine and resin flavor can stand out against the flavors of squash pie.
I tend to spruce up my squash pies with chocolate, which goes so well with squash pie. And the other day when I was feeling particularly indulgent, I decided to make a chocolate chip squash pie with a pecan pie on it, the two layers separated from each other by a layer. of chocolate. It was as decadent as you might expect. A moment of pie opening, to say the least.
Basic kabocha pie
Here is my kabocha pie recipe, featuring two variations: kabocha pies with chocolate chips and pecan pie.
2 cups cooked (baked or steamed) sweet winter kabocha squash or similar
A pinch or two of nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
1 cup of milk or half and half
1 9-inch uncooked pie shell
Preheat the oven to 350. Make sure the cooked kabocha is free from seeds, skin, string, and any other impurities. Add the squash in a blender, followed by the milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, nutmeg and eggs, and mix until smooth. Pour the filling into a crust and bake for about 45 minutes. When it swells like a soufflé, take it out of the oven and let it cool on the counter, where it will solidify.
Kabocha chocolate chip pie
Add 6 tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the ingredient list above.
After mixing the pie filling, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add 4 tablespoons of chocolate chips, stirring gently with a spoon. Add this chocolate chip filling to the crust. Smooth it out then scatter the last 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Cook at 350 as above.
Chocolate and pecan kabocha pie
1 kabocha chocolate chip pie, ready to bake
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
In a bowl, combine the corn syrup, butter, vanilla, egg and pecans. Pour it gently over the kabocha pie, so that it forms a second layer. Push the pecans to make them even. Bake for about an hour at 350. It will swell when cooked, but will condense on the counter.
Ari LeVaux writes Flash in the Pan, a weekly food column that runs in more than 60 newspapers nationwide. Although his audience is national, he says he “still writes about Montana.” Usually.”